Microsoft Teams Recording Management – A Point of View

Peter Rahalski


Written by Peter Rahalski, M365 Information Governance Architect andnVivek Bhatt, Chief Technology Officern

Microsoft Teams Recording – Overview

Microsoft Teams recordings are a feature of the Microsoft Teams collaboration platform that allows users to capture and save audio, video, and screen-sharing content from Teams meetings and calls. These recordings can be useful for a variety of purposes, such as training and development, compliance and auditing, knowledge sharing, and performance evaluations.

There are two types of meetings (and subsequently recordings) in Teams:

  • Channel Meetings: are typically scheduled in the Teams calendar or started/scheduled in a Teams channel. Recordings are saved in SharePoint within a recording folder in the Teams channel automatically after a meeting is completed when recording was started as part of the meeting. n
  • Non-Channel or Chat Meetings: are created by a user through their Outlook calendar, their calendar in Microsoft Teams, or by starting a call in a Teams chat session. Any meeting recordings started are automatically stored in the OneDrive for Business(ODB) account of the person who started the recording and then automatically shared to the meeting participants/invitees.

Depending on the recording type, Teams recordings can be accessed and managed through the Teams, SharePoint or OneDrive interface, and users can share recordings with others through links or by downloading the file. We recommend that policies and controls for downloading files should be developed to limit the proliferation of recording copies.
Teams recordings can also be transcribed and translated for greater accessibility, improved search and ease of legal discovery. This can also pose risks related to privacy and compliance. We recommend that organizations should develop and publish policies that govern when transcription should occur and when it should not be used.

Microsoft Teams Recording – Prevailing Use Cases

Recording Teams meetings can be a useful tool for organizations, but it’s important to consider the privacy and legal implications of doing so. Organizations should have clear policies in place for recording meetings and determine whether participants should agree to acceptable use policies within Microsoft 365. Participants will be automatically notified when recordings are started and provided access to a privacy policy in that notice. Starting about April 2023 organizations will start having the capability to require participants to agree to being recorded and this will be configurable to specific scenarios/persons creating meetings.

Some common use cases across organizations are as follows:

1. Training and Development: Organizations can record Teams meetings to use as training materials or for employee development purposes. This can be especially useful for onboarding new employees, teaching new skills or conducting team training.

2. Compliance and Auditing: Teams meetings may need to be recorded to comply with regulatory or legal requirements, such as financial reporting or legal proceedings. Recording meetings can also be useful for auditing purposes, such as ensuring compliance with internal policies or industry standards.

3. Knowledge Sharing: Teams meetings can be recorded and shared with team members who were not able to attend the meeting. This can help ensure that everyone stays up to date on important information and discussions.

4. Performance Evaluations: Organizations can record Teams meetings for performance evaluations or appraisals. This can help managers provide more accurate feedback to employees and provide evidence of discussions during evaluations.

5. Project Management: Teams meetings can be recorded to keep a record of project progress and discussions. This can help ensure that everyone is on the same page and that all stakeholders are aware of decisions made during meetings.

6. Customer Support: Teams meetings can be recorded to help resolve customer support issues or to provide training to customers. This can be especially useful for technical support or other complex issues.

7. Quality Control: Teams meetings can be recorded to ensure that quality standards are met during product development or service delivery. This can help identify areas for improvement and provide evidence of quality control measures taken.

Microsoft Teams Recording – Privacy Compliance / Litigation Risks

It’s important for organizations to carefully consider the potential litigation risks of keeping Teams recordings and implement policies and procedures to mitigate these risks. This may include establishing retention policies, implementing security measures, and regularly reviewing and auditing Teams recordings to ensure compliance.

Potential risks include:

1. Data privacy violations: Teams recordings may contain sensitive information such as personal data, trade secrets, and confidential information. If this information is accessed or disclosed without authorization, it could result in data privacy violations and legal action.

2. Compliance violations: Organizations that are subject to specific regulatory requirements, such as HIPAA or GDPR, may face compliance violations if Teams recordings are retained for longer than allowed or if they are not properly secured during their useful business purpose.

3. E-discovery requests: In the event of litigation or investigations, organizations may be required to produce Teams recordings as part of e-discovery requests. If the recordings are not properly retained/preserved, it could result in legal consequences.

4. Intellectual property disputes: Teams recordings may contain intellectual property such as copyrighted materials, trademarks, or patents. If this property is infringed upon or misused, it could result in legal action.

5. Employee disputes: Teams recordings may be used as evidence in employee disputes, such as discrimination or harassment claims. If the recordings are not properly retained/preserved, it could result in legal consequences.

6. Litigation holds: In the event of anticipated or pending litigation, organizations may be required to implement litigation holds to preserve relevant Teams recordings. If the recordings are not properly retained or if they are deleted during the litigation hold, it could result in legal consequences.

7. Breach of contract: If organizations have contractual obligations related to the retention or deletion of
meeting recordings, failure to comply with these obligations could result in breach of contract claims.

Microsoft Teams Recording – Retention Management Guidelines

It’s important for organizations to carefully consider the potential compliance, litigation risks of keeping Teams recordings and implement effective (if not automated) policies and procedures to mitigate these risks. This may include establishing retention policies, implementing security measures, and regularly reviewing and auditing Teams recordings to ensure compliance.

Options to manage Teams recording retention:

Teams Recording Expiration: These policies are different than Microsoft Purview retention policies and are configured in the Teams administrative interface. The configuration allows you to automatically expire Teams recordings after a predefined period based on the recording date and must be turned on by administrators to have any effect. When enabled, they are typically set up for all users, but can be configured for specific groups of users when required.

After turning on this feature, when Teams meeting recording are created, an expiration date will be calculated and stored with the recording. This date is not affected when a video is edited or viewed – the video will still be deleted based on the expiration date. However, this date can be overridden by the Purview retention mechanisms discussed below. Microsoft provides this feature more as a mechanism to avoid accumulation of large amounts of recordings and not as a records management feature.

Retention Policies: Microsoft Purview retention policies can be configured to apply a consistent retention to OneDrive accounts along with SharePoint (communication and Teams) sites. If these policies require retention, they will prevent the Teams recording expiration from taking effect until after all retention policy periods have been met. If no policy requires retention, then meeting recordings will be deleted after the earliest deletion of the two options. If expiration is 120 days (the default) and your retention policy is ‘delete after 3 years’ then the expiration process will delete the recording after 120 days. If you were to set expiration to five years with the expiration policy, the recording would be deleted after 3 years since it is shorter than the expiration period.

Retention Labels: Some organizations may have specific requirements for retention periods based on legal or regulatory requirements. For example, organizations subject to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) may be required to retain Teams recordings for up to ten years. In such cases, organizations should leverage retention labels to either manually or automatically apply retention rules for keeping specific Teams recordings longer than their default retention period.

For organizations with requirements that mandate specific retention, the expiration feature mentioned above (#1) should not be relied on. This is because the person(s) controlling the recording (the OneDrive account owner or any Teams member) can remove or extend the expiration date assigned at any time afterward. There are also situations where the expiration date will not be present on a recording: a) When a copy of the recording is made the date will not be copied from the original, b) If a recording is recovered from the recycle bin after expiration as it’s removed when placed in the recycle bin and c) any meeting recordings migrated from Microsoft Stream.

Developing and implementing effective strategies for managing meeting records can be an important part of your organization’s information governance strategy. Infotechtion can help your organization both with recordings and your broader goals in governing and protecting content in Microsoft 365. We specialize in information governance, privacy and information protection focused on Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Purview. Feel free to contact us and speak with one of our experts and learn about how we can help your organization.

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