Microsoft to Enable Recordings of Teams Meeting Recordings Outside Local Datacenter Region

Could Cause Data Sovereignty Issue

Office 365 Notification MC200501 published on January 17, 2020 gives some important information for tenants who cannot currently use the facility to record Teams meetings and store the recordings in Stream because the Teams and Stream services are not co-located in the tenant’s Office 365 datacenter region.

Teams Meeting Policy Settings

Apart from having licenses for Office 365 and Stream, the recording of Teams meetings is controlled by the Allow cloud recording setting in Teams meeting policies that are assigned to user accounts. If the setting is On (the default) in the policy, meeting participants can initiate recordings. The sole caveat is that the meeting organizer (the account which created the meeting) must also be able to record meetings. Guest users in the tenant or federated and anonymous participants can’t record meetings because they don’t have the necessary licenses.

Allow transcription is another important setting in the Teams meeting policy. If you allow users to record meetings, you should allow Stream to generate automatic transcripts for the meetings as well. Originally, Stream could only generate transcripts in English and Spanish, but Microsoft recently increased the number of languages to include Chinese, Japanese, French, and German.

Co-location of Teams and Stream

Up to now, tenants have only been able to store recordings of Teams meetings in Stream when the Teams and Stream services are co-located in the same Office 365 datacenter region. The idea is that tenants probably want to keep all their data in the same Office 365 region, especially if they use one of the country-level regions deployed to satisfy customer requirements for data sovereignty.

To check where a tenant’s Teams service is located, check the Data location under Settings in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center (Figure 1)

Office 365 data locations for a tenant
Figure 1: Office 365 data locations for a tenant

To check the location for Stream, open the app, click the question mark in the menu bar, and select the About Microsoft Stream link (Figure 2)

Where the Stream service is located
Figure 2: Where the Stream service is located

In this case, both services are hosted in the European Union datacenter region, so the tenant has always been able to store recordings of Teams meetings in Stream. This is the situation for tenants in the U.S., European Union, Asia Pacific, Australia, India, United Kingdom, Canada, and GCC regions. Microsoft plans to deploy Stream in the sovereign (China and Germany), GCC-high, and other “go local” country-level regions in the future. According to Office 365 notification MC200501, Stream will be available in Japan, Norway, France, UAE, Singapore, South Korea, South Africa, Germany, Switzerland, and Sweden by the end of 2020.

Storing Teams Meeting Recordings Outside Your Region

Teams meeting recordings are currently disabled when Stream is not co-located with Teams. The change Microsoft announced is that from mid-February they enable the recordings of Teams meetings for tenants belonging to country-level tenants when the Stream is delivered from another region. After the change is made, recordings of Teams meetings will be stored in the (geographically) closest Office 365 region. The change does not affect the recording of Teams Live Events.

For example, if your tenant belongs to the French Office 365 region, the recordings will be stored by Stream in the European Union region. Put another way, the recordings will physically reside in Ireland, Finland, Austria, or the Netherlands because that’s where the Office 365 datacenters are for the European Union region.

Attractive as it is to be able to store Teams meeting recordings, even if the data resides outside the local country, Microsoft stresses that they will not switch recordings to the local country when Stream is available there. In other words, once you begin storing recordings in another Office 365 region, no migration is possible, and your tenant will always store meeting recordings in that region.

Enabling Teams Recording for All

In mid-February, admins of in-country tenants will have to choose to allow users to record Teams meetings or change the Teams meeting policy to block recordings. If your organization is not concerned about data sovereignty, this change offers the chance to use Teams meeting recording without having to wait for local deployment of Stream, which could be good news for some organizations.

Controlling Who Can Record Teams Meetings

For those who don’t want recordings to be made, the easiest approach is to block recordings by setting Allow cloud recording to Off in the global Teams meeting policy.

If you want to allow some users to record meetings, create a new Teams meeting policy with the setting On and then assign that policy to the accounts you want to record meetings. You can assign the policy to accounts in the Teams Admin Center or by running the PowerShell Grant-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy cmdlet. For instance, this code assigns a specific Teams meeting policy to a set of mailboxes selected based on a value stored in their CustomAttribute1 property:

Ask Before Proceeding

But before anyone affected by this change takes the plunge and starts recording, it would be wise to seek advice about whether data sovereignty should include the recordings of Teams meetings. If yes, you should continue to block Teams meeting recording until Microsoft deploys Stream in the local datacenter. If not, happy recording!

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