Teams Not to Automatically Record All Meetings

Automatic Compliance Recording Solutions Available for Companies Which Need This Capability

On May 3, TechRadar reported that Teams would soon record all meetings. The report is based on a Teams user voice response to a request looking for the ability to enable recording to start automatically when a meeting begins. Microsoft has decommitted from User Voice, but TechRadar took Microsoft’s response that they’re “working on this request” to mean that organizations would be able to configure Teams to record every meeting automatically and noted that this would add a feature “strangely absent” from Teams. The prospect of automatic recordings didn’t sit well with many organizations, who cited concerns about privacy and the general undesirability of recording every Teams meeting.

But updated documentation released by Microsoft reveals that the report is inaccurate. What TechRadar interpreted as automatic recording for all Teams meetings is really the introduction of ISV-driven recording capabilities for specific companies who need to capture interactions to comply with industry regulatory or local laws. For example, an oversight authority might compel a financial services company to record all interactions with customers.

Organizational recording allows tenant administrators to create compliance recording policies which invoke recorders (bots) to record meetings. The bots run as Azure services and use the Teams calls and meetings communications API to access the Teams platform to ingest media content. Most tenants will continue to use ad-hoc or convenience recordings as outlined in Figure 1.

Teams interaction recording taxonomy (source: Microsoft)
Figure 1: Teams interaction recording taxonomy (source: Microsoft)

ISV Compliance Recording Solutions

ISVs incorporate recorders into their solutions and have their solutions certified by Microsoft. Only the bots need to run on Azure. Other components can run elsewhere. See this link for more information about the certification program and the ISVs currently certified or going through the certification process.

Before an organization can record Teams meetings automatically, it needs:

It’s highly unlikely that enterprises which don’t have a compelling reason for automatic meeting recording will go to the expense of buying an ISV solution and the overhead of setting up and managing one or more compliance recording policies. If they do, the good news is that they won’t need any additional licenses as the regular E3/E5 and Microsoft 365 Business Premium licenses cover compliance recording.

Storm in a Teacup

I think Microsoft’s user voice response means that they want to update meeting settings to allow an organizer to choose automatic recording along with other settings like auto-muting attendees. This is a good idea as it simply automates what a meeting organizer can choose to do today during a meeting.

Unless you have a regulatory or legal need to do it, automatic recording for all Teams meetings is a horrible idea. Although some recordings are useful, the sad fact is that people don’t commonly access recordings after a meeting. Instead, the MP4 files for meeting recordings accumulate in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online, consuming storage and generally cluttering things up. Of course, the huge storage available for OneDrive for Business accounts means that keeping unwanted recordings around for a long time doesn’t really matter (except to Microsoft, who pays for the storage), but it would be nice if tenants could build a retention policy targeting meeting recordings to remove them after a period. Those recordings which users need to keep could receive an appropriate retention label while the retention policy removes the rest. Wouldn’t that make much more sense than automatic meeting recording?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.