Teams Compliance Records and Frontline Office 365 Accounts

Teams and Compliance Records

When people use Teams to communicate, Office 365 captures compliance records in Exchange Online mailboxes. Records for conversations in channels are captured in the group mailbox belonging to the team while records for personal and group chats are in the mailboxes of all chat participants. Teams supports the capture of compliance records for on-premises users in hybrid organizations and for guest accounts using special “phantom” mailboxes. Generally, the scheme works well and the compliance records are available for eDiscovery.

That is, unless your account has a frontline (Office 365 F1) license. In this case, your mailbox quota is 2 GB, which seems enough if it’s only going to be used for an occasional email. But Teams compliance records are charged against the mailbox quota and if the user is involved in many personal or group chats, their quota might be substantially eroded, especially if chat participants share graphics. One of our readers reported that they’ve seen instances where a quarter of the mailbox quota was absorbed by Teams compliance records.

Team Chat Folder

Teams compliance records are stored in the hidden Team Chat sub-folder under Conversation History. Because Team Chat is a system folder that isn’t available to users, you’d assume that its contents would not count against mailbox quota. And for most Office 365 accounts the fact that Team Chat is charged against mailbox quota isn’t an issue because of the standard 100 GB quota.

But the situation is different when a mailbox has a 2 GB quota. I say this in the knowledge that 2 GB is still a big amount. In 1996, original Exchange 4.0 mailboxes enjoyed quotas of between 20 MB and 50 MB. But things are different now. Messages are much larger, we keep everything, and Exchange Online stuffs all manner of data into user mailboxes. In this case, the net result is that a frontline user could find themselves running out of mailbox quota because of compliance records, which doesn’t seem like a good thing.

What You Can Do

Unless Microsoft changes the way they measure usage against mailbox quota, the only thing you can do is to periodically check the consumption of frontline mailboxes to ensure that none exhausts their quota. As usual, PowerShell comes in handy. Here’s a code snippet to process all user mailboxes and report the user, total items in mailbox, total size of mailbox, and the amount taken up by Teams compliance items.

The output is a CSV file (Figure 1), as it’s usually easier to analyze this information in Excel.

Analyzing Teams compliance record data in Excel
Figure 1: Analyzing Teams compliance record data in Excel

To improve the script, you could:

  • Only process mailboxes that have frontline licenses.
  • Convert the mailbox size data returned by PowerShell into numeric values (to make it sortable).
  • Add extra mailbox properties to the output.
  • Allocate a higher license to any mailbox approaching their quota.
  • Go wild with your imagination.

Of course, you could also deploy a Teams retention policy for frontline workers to remove items after a shorter period.

In the meantime, we’ve reported the issue to Microsoft and they are looking into the matter.


For more information about managing Teams, including Teams compliance records, read the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook.

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