Tracking the Enabling and Disabling of Email for Teams Channels

Connectors Link Teams to Email

The Email addresses for Teams channels are interesting objects. Channels start off without email addresses and only get one when a team member retrieves an address for the first time (Figure 1). That email address stays in place until it is removed. Rather oddly in the opinion of some, any team member can remove the email address from a channel. It seems like it would be better if this was something that only a team owner could do.

Getting the email address for a Teams channel
Figure 1: Getting the email address for a Teams channel

Phantom Mailboxes and Connectors

Behind the scenes, when an email address is assigned to a channel, Office 365 creates a special “phantom” Exchange Online mailboxes to receive email for the channel. The mailbox is a phantom because it can’t be seen by any public interface. When messages arrive in the mailbox, Teams fetches them through a connector and posts the message text to the channel. The message (plus any attachments) is also posted to the Email Messages folder in the Channel folder of the SharePoint document library belonging to the team.

Finding Audit Records When Teams Channels are Email-Enabled

All of which brings us to how to know when a Teams channel is mail-enabled. One way is to use the PowerShell script described in this Petri.com article to report teams channels that are mail-enabled (the script uses a mixture of PowerShell and Graph calls because the email address for channels is not revealed by the Get-TeamChannel cmdlet). Another method is to look for the events in the Office 365 audit log that Teams creates when a connector is added or removed. Here’s a quick and dirty script to find the audit records and extract the necessary data from the audit payloads:

Figure 2 shows what you might see as a result of running the script. You can export the information to a CSV file if you need to preserve it for further examination.

Teams Channels Get or Lose Email Connectors
Figure 2: Teams Channels Get or Lose Email Connectors

Finding Email-Enabled Channels

Audit records only tell us when channels are email-enabled over a limited period (90 days for E3 tenants, 365 days for E5 tenants). A mixture of tracking audit changes and reporting on channels periodically should be enough to keep an eye on what’s happening for this aspect of a tenant.


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