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Q: Is Microsoft Teams data backed up?

A:

While Microsoft offers some data retention, Microsoft Teams backup isn’t a native feature. 

Microsoft’s data retention feature helps recover the portion of Teams data stored on team SharePoint sites (Teams Wiki, Files, and OneNote) as well as the data stored in a team’s shared Exchange mailbox (emails sent to a shared team’s mailbox and/or calendar).

Standard recovery has some key limitations:

  • The data retention period is capped at 93 days.
  • Team messages aren’t protected or recoverable at all with standard recovery. In order to have a true Microsoft Teams backup (including a backup of Microsoft Teams conversations and chat), you need an additional backup and recovery solution. 

While the data retention feature in Microsoft Teams is very useful, it should not be confused with a data backup. Retention of data just delays the point of permanent removal of the data. It is not a copy of files that you can restore as you wish (like a backup). 

How long does Exchange retain Teams data?

Items deleted from Exchange online are moved to the Deleted Items folder where they stay indefinitely until a user/admin empties it. When data is erased from the Deleted Items, it is moved to the Recoverable Items system folder where it is kept for 14 days (the period can be extended to 30 days via power shell). Items removed from the Recoverable Items folder are permanently deleted and cannot be restored without a third-party backup and recovery solution.

How long does SharePoint retain Teams data?

All items deleted from SharePoint sites and OneDrives go into Recycle Bin, where they stay for 93 days before they’re permanently deleted. If the admin/user deletes the data from the Recycle Bin before 93 days pass, then the data goes to the Second Stage Recycle Bin (where it stays for the remainder of the 93 days period). Items removed from the Second Stage Recycle Bin are permanently deleted and cannot be restored without a third-party backup and recovery solution.

Learn more about Backups for Microsoft 365.