How To Set up a Retention Policy for Microsoft Teams Meetings

Regulatory compliance may require that you retain copies of digital communications. Here’s how to create a retention policy for Microsoft Teams data.

Brien Posey

February 13, 2023

5 Min Read
How To Set up a Retention Policy for Microsoft Teams Meetings

Organizations that are subject to regulatory compliance must carefully consider how Microsoft Teams meetings play into their data retention requirements.

If an organization is legally required to retain copies of digital communications, they may also be required to retain transcripts or recordings of Microsoft Teams meetings. Microsoft Teams includes settings that will control the recording and retention of online meetings. Better still, these settings are easy to configure.

Open the Meeting Policies Tab in Microsoft Teams Admin Center

To get started, log into Microsoft 365 using an account with administrative permissions. Open the Microsoft Teams Admin Center.

Next, you will need to expand the console’s Meetings tab, then click on Meeting Policies. Scroll down until you reach the Recording and Transcription section, which you can see in Figure 1.

The Microsoft Teams Admin Center’s Meeting Policies tab

Teams Meeting Retention 1

Figure 1. The Microsoft Teams Admin Center’s Meeting Policies tab contains settings related to recording and transcription.

Recording and Transcription Settings

As Figure 1 shows, there are five settings related to recording and transcription.

  1. Transcription: This setting consists of a simple toggle switch that you can use to turn meeting transcription on or off.

  2. Cloud recording: This setting, which is enabled by default, does not actually cause Teams meetings to be recorded to the cloud. Instead, when enabled, the setting gives meeting organizers the ability to record meetings and have them saved to the cloud.

  3. Meetings automatically expire: Again, this setting consists of a simple toggle switch that is set to “on” by default. The idea behind this setting is that when Microsoft Teams meetings are recorded, those recordings consume OneDrive storage space. Automatically expiring old meetings causes those meetings to be moved to the Recycle Bin, where they are eventually purged. That way, old meetings will not consume space indefinitely.

  4. Default expiration time: The expiration time is set by default to 120 days. Expired meeting recordings will be moved to the recycle bin.

  5. Store recordings outside of your country or region: When enabled, this setting will allow your meeting recordings to be stored in nearly any region. By default, this setting is turned off, which means that recordings will be stored in your own region.

Related:The Most Unusual Microsoft Teams Performance Fix

In terms of the "Meeting automatically expire" setting, it’s important to note that the option to automatically expire old meetings does not guarantee that the meeting will be retained until the expiration date. A user can always to delete a recording before it expires.

Related:Collaboration and Communication Technology Sparks Enterprise Concern

The best way to get around this problem is to create a retention policy that can be applied to recorded meetings. In order to do so, however, you must know where those recordings are stored. At one time, Microsoft stored recorded Teams meetings in Stream. Today, Teams meetings are typically saved either to OneDrive or SharePoint.

Create a Retention Policy in Microsoft Purview

To create a retention policy, open the Microsoft Purview console (formerly known as the Compliance Admin Center), expand the Data Lifecycle Management container, and then select the Microsoft 365 option. Select the Retention Policies tab at the top of the page and click the New icon, as shown in Figure 2.

Microsoft Purview Retention Policies tab

Teams Meeting Retention 2

Figure 2. Select the Retention Policies tab and click the New icon.

At this point, the console will launch the Create Retention Policy wizard. The wizard’s first screen asks you to provide a name and a description for your retention policy. Although the description is optional, you will likely end up with several different retention policies over time, so it’s a good idea to provide a detailed description.

Click the Next button and you will be asked whether you want to create an adaptive or a static retention policy. For the purposes of this article, we’ll choose the Static option and click the Next button.

Choose Where to Apply the Retention Policy

The next screen asks you where to apply the retention policy. In Figure 3, you can see that I have applied a retention policy to OneDrive accounts. In my case, the policy is being applied to all accounts, but you can click the Edit link to choose specific accounts. If your recorded messages are being saved to SharePoint, you would obviously want to apply the policy to SharePoint.

Note that this screen contains separate options for Teams Channel Messages, Teams Chats, and Teams Private Channel Messages. If you need to retain data related to any of those options, you must apply the retention policy directly to Teams (as opposed to applying the policy to SharePoint or OneDrive).

The retention policy is applied to OneDrive accounts

Teams Meeting Retention 3

Figure 3. I am applying a retention policy to OneDrive.

Choose the Retention Period

Click the Next button to go to the Retention Settings screen. The default setting is to store an item for seven years from the time it is created. You can, of course, change the retention period. Alternatively, you can choose to retain items forever.

Note the last item on the screen: the “Only delete items when they reach a certain age” option. Choosing this option won’t do anything to guarantee that your items are retained. Instead, this option serves only to automatically purge items once they reach a certain age.

On Microsoft Purview, option to retain items for a specific period is selected

Teams Meeting Retention 4 (1)

Figure 4. You can choose how long you want to retain data for.

To complete the retention policy creation process, click the Next button, followed by Submit.

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About the Author(s)

Brien Posey

Brien Posey is a bestselling technology author, a speaker, and a 20X Microsoft MVP. In addition to his ongoing work in IT, Posey has spent the last several years training as a commercial astronaut candidate in preparation to fly on a mission to study polar mesospheric clouds from space.

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