Microsoft Teams – keeping your data safe, secure and compliant

January 18th, 2021

With the increase in usage of Teams, the Information Services & Information Compliance team is reminding staff and students of best practice when using digital tools – especially in relation to data that is created.

Over the last six months, our ways of working, teaching and learning have all changed significantly. Many of us are now using digital tools on a daily basis to undertake routine tasks that may have previously taken place in person, as a conversation or a group meeting or event. The increase in Microsoft Teams usage across the university during the first lockdown was over 400%.

Good practice in Microsoft Teams

All information that is shared in Teams is kept indefinitely, by default, as long as the team has a valid owner and the site is not deleted. This includes (not exhaustive):

  • Files
  • Documents
  • Chat
  • Recordings

For example, if an individual submits a comment in a meeting using ‘Chat’, the data remains visible after the meeting and is searchable. Chats in Teams and between individuals are also searchable. Therefore, we would always ask users to be mindful of good practice data management when using Teams, whether in formal meetings or in discussions between individuals.

As good practice, any personal data should be removed where possible and instead stored securely on OneDrive or on a restricted access Teams site (see the Information Compliance & Security site for further information on personal data).

To support good practice management of data, we would ask users to remember that, whilst a Team or user account remains active:

  • Individual chat comments can be deleted by the author only
  • Team chats can be deleted by Team owners and the authors of individual comments
  • The owners of recordings can delete videos

The team is also asking individuals to ensure that all data contained within Teams, including Chat, remains complaint with the Universities Code of Practice for users of the University Computing Facilities.

Useful Information

  • A guide on how to use Teams can be found here
  • A guide on how to use Teams for meetings can be found here
  • A blog article on ensuring your version of Teams is up to date

Please submit any comments or queries here.

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