HomeOperationsRestoring Microsoft Teams Data: What You Can And Can't Do

Restoring Microsoft Teams Data: What You Can And Can’t Do

Developed in 2017, Microsoft Teams is a collaborative workspace where users can start conversations, threads, message each other, tag people, create meetings, keep a track of tasks, projects, and much more – all from a single interface. 

Owing to these multiple functions, Microsoft Teams generates a lot of data which is stored in different apps in Microsoft 365. If deleted accidentally or intentionally, restoring this data can be a task if you’re not hands-on with the application.

This article will explore the different methods you can employ to recover and restore deleted data in Microsoft Teams.

Recovering Data Using SharePoint 

Microsoft SharePoint is primarily used to create a website. When you create a Microsoft 365 group, you also get a SharePoint team site which works as a secure place to store, organize and share data from any device. Using SharePoint you can create a team site, add a list or library to your team site, and share documents or information which can be accessed from anywhere. You can learn more about it here.

If you want to recover any data pertaining to your Teams Channel, the SharePoint site associated with that team is the place to go. The process of recovering your files from SharePoint isn’t difficult either. In case you’ve accidentally deleted a Teams Channel or wish to recover some data from a deleted channel, in Teams Channel, just go to Files > Open in SharePoint > Recycle Bin and click on Restore.  

One of the best parts about using SharePoint is that if someone has deleted the data from the Recycle Bin or if the Recycle Bin has been emptied, you can still recover it from a Second-stage Recycle Bin which you will find at the bottom of the page under Recycle Bin. 

As a product of Microsoft itself, SharePoint makes data recovery quite easy and reliable. Deleting a channel doesn’t mean you lose all your files, it’s just the messages that are deleted while the files are stored in the SharePoint Library. You can easily recover any file, list, list item, or library. Once you recover your data, you can find it in the same location, exactly the way it was before deletion.

More so, you can keep your data and the recovery process secure by assigning admins. Only admins assigned by you can access the Sharepoint Library and have access to the Second-stage Recycle Bin.  

Now, a few things you should be aware of is that SharePoint recovery is only applicable to the data related to your Teams Channel and the Files you share in it. If your entire Teams Channel is deleted, you won’t be able to restore a file from it unless you restore the Channel first.

Furthermore, files only remain in the Recycle Bin for 93 days and a Channel will remain for 30 days. Beyond that, they are deleted permanently. If the Recycle Bin exceeds its limits, it begins purging the oldest files. This can be quite bothersome if you need a file or access to a channel that was deleted 6 months ago.   

Recovering Data Using OneDrive For Business

Microsoft’s own cloud service, OneDrive lets you store data, protect files and even share them with others from any device. The files that you store in OneDrive remain private unless you choose to share them within your organization or you can even share them with guests outside your organization, based on your company’s policies. You can learn more about OneDrive here.

Through OneDrive for Business, you can easily recover files shared in Teams Chat. To do this, click on Files in Teams > OneDrive > Open in OneDrive > My Files > Microsoft Teams Chat Files > Recycle Bin > Restore. 

Like SharePoint, OneDrive also has a Second-stage Recycle bin which can help you access your files if they have been deleted from the Recycle bin. Albeit, the second-stage recycle bin can only be accessed by admins.

This method is only applicable for 1:1 chats or those added to a chat. A user’s OneDrive for Business can’t be accessed by anyone else unless they have the required permission. This means that if you do not have a Compliance Retention Policy or a Legal In-Place Hold, you might not be able to recover this data if the user is no longer a part of your organization. 

If you do have the aforementioned retention policy in place, you can use the Microsoft 365 Global Admin center to recover files or messages as well as assign the entire OneDrive to another user. Like SharePoint, deleted files remain in OneDrive for a period of 93 days, beyond which they are deleted permanently.

Do You Need A Third-Party Backup Service?  

Given the limitations of Microsoft Teams, it’s always better to have a third-party app to back up your data. 

Apart from the limited time your data is stored in the recycle bin, there are a few other reasons you need to consider. Since a majority of data is stored on SharePoint, you need to consider the storage limit. SharePoint offers a storage limit of 1TB + 10GB x the number of licensed MS 365 users in your tenant. If this storage space is occupied, you will have to purchase additional storage for $200/month/TB. Here’s where having a backup third-party solution works best. 

If you do not have a Compliance Retention Policy or Legal In-Place Hold for Teams messages, you won’t be able to recover messages once they’re emptied from the Recycle Bin. Furthermore, these Legal Holds are only available for Microsoft E3 and E5 plans which cost $32/user/month and $57, respectively. You can save this licensing cost by opting for a third-party app.

Most importantly, you can avoid the hassle of searching for deleted data in multiple places and have it all stored in one backup solution. Third-party backup services offer more cloud storage options, extended protection for Microsoft 365 and are quite secure, reliable, and easy to operate within your organization.


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