The current COVID-19 threat forces more and more companies to use collaburation tools. There are some on the market which are better or worse for this purpose.
I myself as a consultant advise my customers on the topic of Microsoft Teams.
One question that comes up again and again is the storage of company data.
In this article I will deal with two of the most important points concerning data storage.
Where are our Teams data stored?
In the first chapter, we look at where our data is stored. This related to the region.
We look at our Office 365 Portal, where the services of our tenant are stored.
In our Admin Center under Settings > Organization profile we find an overview of the services and in which region they are hosted for us.
You can find more information about this (and for example if the data in our Tenant is encrypted) HERE
Depending on the region where we are based, our data is stored in specific data centers.
Here is an overview of the locations:
|Country or region||Datacenter location|
|Australia||New South Wales and Victoria|
|Canada||Quebec City and Toronto|
|France||Marseille and Paris|
|Germany||Berlin and Frankfurt|
|India||Chennai and Pune|
|Japan||Tokyo (Saitama) and Osaka|
|Liechtenstein||Geneva and Zurich|
|South Africa||Johannesburg and Cape Town|
|South Korea||Seoul and Busan|
|Switzerland||Geneva and Zurich|
|United Arab Emirates||Abu Dhabi and Dubai|
|United Kingdom||Cardiff and London|
|Americas – North, and South (AMER)||Bay, CA and Boydton, VA|
|Asia Pacific (APAC)||Singapore and Hong Kong|
|Europe, Middle East, and Asia (EMEA)||Dublin and Amsterdam|
As you see, for Lichtenstein the data are stored in the Swiss data centers in Geneva and in Zurich.
Let us have a closer look…
In the second chapter we will look at the individual categories and their location.
As we probably already know, Microsoft Teams is a collaboration tool. It not only serves as a chat tool but also has several other functions that a collaboration tool has to offer.
The different functions like voicemail, chats and fileshares have different locations.
To make this easier to understand, Microsoft provides the following graphic:
Concerning chats, however, we take a closer look again. Here we decide between the following topics.
The chat text is saved as conversation history. This we find afterwards in our Exchange mailbox. Microsoft Teams also offers the possibility to share in a 1:N chats file share. These are stored in the personal OneDrive for Business.
Team conversations on the other hand are saved online in SharePoint. A folder is created for each channel.
As an example we see the following picture.
It is also possible to use cloud storage from third party providers such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Citrix ShareFile etc.
Sharepoint (File Structure)
As already mentioned, we differentiate in Microsoft teams between Sharepoint and OneDrive:
- Modern Team site is created as part of creating Office 365 group
- Document library has a folder for each channel
- By default, all channels/folders inherit the permissions of the underlying O365 Group
You can change them in SharePoint and Teams will respect them
- OneDrive for Business
- Files are in a folder called “Microsoft Teams Chat Files”
- Uploaded to the OneDrive of the person sharing a file
- Each file has unique permissions granted based on the person or people in the chat
When files are stored in SharePoint online, the data is structured according to the individual teams. A subfolder is created under each team for each channel. The files and team conversations uploaded with Microsoft Teams are stored in this subfolder:
All data that we have uploaded in our teams – i.e. SharePoint online – can also be edited directly in SharePoint online:
Here again a final summary:
Core Teams customer data
If your tenant is provisioned in Australia, Canada, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Japan, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland (which includes Liechtenstein), the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, or the United States, Microsoft stores the following customer data at rest only within that location:
- Teams chats, team and channel conversations, images, voicemail messages, and contacts
- SharePoint Online site content and the files stored within that site
- Files uploaded to OneDrive for Business
Chat, channel messages, team structure
Every team in Teams is backed by an Office 365 Group and its SharePoint site and Exchange mailbox. Private chats (including group chats), messages sent as part of a conversation in a channel, and the structure of teams and channels are stored in a chat service running in Azure. The data is also stored in a hidden folder in the user and group mailboxes to enable Information Protection features.
Voicemail and contacts
Voicemails are stored in Exchange. Contacts are stored in Exchange-based cloud data store. Exchange and the Exchange-based cloud store already provide data residency in each of the worldwide datacenter geos. For all teams, voicemail and contacts are stored in-country for Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland (includes Liechtenstein), and the United States. For all other countries, files are stored in the US, Europe, or Asia-Pacific location based on tenant affinity.
Images and media
Media used in chats (except for Giphy GIFs which aren’t stored but are a reference link to the original Giphy service URL, Giphy is a non-Microsoft service) is stored in an Azure-based media service that is deployed to the same locations as the chat service.
Files (including OneNote and Wiki) that somebody shares in a channel are stored in the team’s SharePoint site. Files shared in a private chat or a chat during a meeting or call are uploaded and stored in the OneDrive for the Business account of the user who shares the file. Exchange, SharePoint and OneDrive already provide data residency in each of the worldwide datacenter geos. So, for existing customers, all files, OneNote notebooks, Teams wiki content, and mailboxes that are part of the Teams experience are already stored in the location based on your tenant affinity. Files are stored in-country for Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, South Africa, South Korea, and Switzerland (which includes Liechtenstein). For all other countries, files are stored in the US, Europe, or Asia Pacific location based on tenant affinity.