February 9, 2022
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Microsoft Teams Backup for Chat History & Files

Microsoft Teams doesn’t provide any conventional Backup feature. Many want to know the steps that tell you how to set up Microsoft Teams Backups. We’ll be looking to backup Microsoft Teams data Step by Step.

Primary things to backup in Teams

  • 1:1/1:M Chat & Files Shared
  • Teams Conversations & Files

Different options to backup Teams

  1. Backup using 3rd party software i.e. AvePoint, CodeTwo
  2. Using Office 365 Compliance and Retention
  3. Restricting Accidental Deletion

Backup using 3rd party software i.e. AvePoint, CodeTwo

The easiest approach is to use any third-party software to back up your Microsoft Teams data but certainly it comes with its cost. That would be one’s own choice whether to go with this option or not.

Using Office 365 Compliance and Retention

1:1/1:M Chat & Files Shared

All Teams Chats, whether 1:1/1:M (personal chats) or Channel Chats are documented (conversation history) within an Exchange Online mailbox (in the case of 1:1/1:M chats the user must have an Exchange Online mailbox, Exchange on-premises mailboxes are not supported).

1:1/1:M chat messages get stored within a hidden folder within the users' Exchange mailboxes. For Channel chat, the conversations are filed in the same way – to a hidden folder within the Office 365 Group mailbox for the Team.

Currently, you cannot make backups or restore messages from within the Chat Service (the window where you can see your chat conversations) however you can protect the copies of those conversations to ensure they can be reviewed later.

To do this, we need to protect the messages within the appropriate mailboxes using the Office 365 Exchange Admin Center. By default, messages removed from the Deleted Items in Microsoft Outlook are recoverable for 14 days. If the items are placed under litigation or in-place hold, then this will protect the archived copies hidden in the mailbox.

How to backup Microsoft Teams

These can be protected either for a set period or indefinitely, and then recovered from the eDiscovery Centre within the Office 365 Security and Compliance Center.

How to backup Microsoft Teams

Teams Conversations and Files

We may go for the eDiscovery and then put the result on hold for our  Teams messages using Office 365 Security and Compliance Center.

How to backup Microsoft Teams

When you send files within chats in Teams, either in 1:1 chats or channel chats, these are not sending copies of files to the other party. They are using the native functionality of OneDrive for Business or SharePoint Online.

If you share a file in a chat conversation this will upload the file to a “Microsoft Teams Chat Files” folder in your default OneDrive for Business folder. This then creates the necessary sharing permissions for the other person in the chat to be able to access the documents.
How to backup Microsoft Teams

When sharing files or folders within a Channel conversation, these files are uploaded into the Channel’s folder within the SharePoint Online document library and will be accessible to all the members of the team.

Once these files are uploaded to either OneDrive for Business or SharePoint you can then use the native tools to protect them. As with Exchange Online, by default all deleted files are held in the Recycle Bin. In SharePoint Online, the items are recoverable for 93 days by users, so long as its quota is not exceeded, in which case the oldest items are purged.

In addition to service-specific retention options, the Security and Compliance Center offers Office 365 retention policies which can be applied to multiple services including SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business.

How to backup Microsoft Teams

When subject to retention, deleted files held in these services are copied to and retained in the Preservation Hold Library. To ensure policy compliance, items held in these libraries cannot be deleted or removed.

The length of time items are held is configurable on a per-policy basis, and ranges from 1 day to indefinite. Note that retention periods are configured based on item creation, modification or labelling date, meaning that they are not equivalent to backups, which can be retained for a period that starts from the point the backup was taken.

Restricting Accidental Deletion

This option is not exactly in the backup's essence, but you may avoid deletion of any critical team content, so it remains in the environment anyhow.

Restricting Chat deletion from the Microsoft Teams Admin Center

You may head over to the Microsoft Teams Admin Center and for the messaging policy for Teams applied to the users in the environment, disable the deletion of messages by any means.

How to backup Microsoft Teams

Restricting Files Deletion

You need to create a new permission role and assign that to users. Go to the SharePoint site permissions, it's under advanced on the home page. Add a role and select just the permissions the user needs and not delete. Now go to document libraries and change the user group permissions to that new role.

How to backup Microsoft Teams

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Last Updated 3 months ago

About the Author

Ateeb is a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate. He aids clients in deployment, and management of Microsoft technologies - for both, on-premises and on the cloud environment.

With significant experience in deploying stand-alone and enterprise solutions, Ateeb enjoys helping organizations with their digital transformation journey.

Ateeb Fayyaz

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