One of the challenges with Private Channels in Microsoft Teams since they first launched has been retention. Now with the general availability of retention policies in for private channels, this is now in the past.
Before we look into the retention policies in more detail, let’s talk about what a private channel is and why it presented retention challenges.
A Microsoft Teams team is comprised of channels. Every team has at least one channel, General, and you can add others to suit for different work streams, project phases, task types, etc etc. All members of the team have equal access to all channels. Private channels offer the opportunity to create a channel where only a subset of the Team members have access.
To facilitate this private channels use separate storage locations than the main team. The messages are not stored in the group mailbox but in the mailboxes of the members of the private channel.
Retention policies covering mailboxes and Teams channel messages do not include these private channel messages. But now they have their own policies.
To create a retention policy for private channels:
1. Navigate to the compliance centre https://compliance.microsoft.com
2. Under Solutions select Information governance
3. Choose Retention Policies
4. Click/tap New retention policy
5. Give your new policy a Name and a Description
6. Click Next
7. In Locations, choose Teams private channel messages
8. Select users to includes or exclude from the policy
Note: when choose items to include or exclude, the options are only users, as private channel messages are held in the mailboxes of the members of the private channel, so you choose which users you wish to retain private channel messages for, NOT which channels.
9. Click Next
10. On the Retention settings page choose the time messages should be retained for. These options are the same as for standard channel messages.
11. Click Next
12. Review the summary of the setting you have chosen on the Review and finish page then click Submit
13. Wait for the submission to complete. NOTE: As shown on the submitting screen below, the policy can take up to 24hrs to come into effect .
14. Once the policy has been created and saved click Done on the confirmation screen. The submission process can take several minutes, so be patient!
For more details on Private channels see Private channels in Microsoft Teams – Microsoft Teams | Microsoft Docs
You may also be interested in our upcoming blog about eDiscovery for private channels too.