Teams Admin Center Gains Better Visibility for Expiring and Deleted Teams

Teams Expiration Policy Removes Inactive Teams

The Groups expiration policy allows organizations to set an expiration period for Microsoft 365 groups and teams. If the groups remain in active use (based on certain Graph signals), Azure AD automatically extends their expiration date. In 2020, Microsoft reported that 79% of groups subject to the expiration policy met the bar for auto-renewal. The other 21% were either deleted by Azure AD or retained because a group owner responded to a prompt to renew. Many Microsoft 365 Groups in use today are teams-enabled and the likelihood is that most of the groups subject to the expiration policy are used with teams.

Unless administrators keep a close eye, it’s possible that Azure AD will remove an important group because the group owner failed to request renewal. For example, when a team comes within 30 days of its expiration date, owners receive notifications in their activity feed that they can use to renew the team (Figure 1).

Notifications for expiring teams appear in the activity feed

Teams expiration
Figure 1: Notifications for expiring teams appear in the activity feed

It’s worth noting that team owners also receive notifications via email to warn about impending expiration. The messages come from (the bring your own domain feature for service messages doesn’t cover these emails) and arrive 30 days, 15 days, and one day before Azure AD removes the group. It’s possible for team owners to overlook these messages if they don’t use email.

A New Insight for Teams Administrators

All of which brings me to Microsoft 365 message center notification MC542836, posted on April 17. The announcement covers changes to the Teams admin center (TAC) to give administrators more visibility into the set of teams approaching expiration and the teams already deleted.

To see teams approaching expiration, apply a filter to the set of teams to look for teams expiring in the next 7, 14, or 30 days (Figure 2).

Filter for expiring teams
Figure 2: Filter for expiring teams

After TAC applies the filter to the set of teams, you can renew selected teams (Figure 3). The expiration date for a renewed teams is set at today plus the expiration period set in the policy. My tenant uses a two-year (730 day) expiration period, which I think is a good compromise between keeping inactive groups forever and expiring groups too soon.

 Renewing a team in the Teams admin center
Figure 3: Renewing a team in the Teams admin center

Restoring Deleted Teams

It’s not a disaster when Azure AD removes an expired group because it’s easy to list and restore deleted groups using the Microsoft Entra admin center or PowerShell. However, if an administrator doesn’t restore a deleted group before the 30-day deletion period lapses, Azure AD permanently removes the group and all its connected resources. Monitoring the set of soon-to-be deleted groups is therefore sensible, perhaps using a PowerShell script to report groups and their expiration status.

To make management of deleted teams easier, the second extension to TAC is the addition of an option to View deleted teams to the Actions menu. The Deleted groups option in the Entra admin center lists all kinds of deleted groups while TAC restricts the set of deleted groups it displays to team-enabled groups. A shown in Figure 4, you can select and restore a deleted team at any time during its 30-day deletion retention period.

Restoring a deleted team in the Teams admin center
Figure 4: Restoring a deleted team in the Teams admin center

No Magic in New Options

There’s no magic behind the two new TAC options. Microsoft has taken options available elsewhere and adapted them to work solely with teams. There’s nothing wrong with that approach as it makes sense to provide the functionality to renew and restore teams in the tools people use. And anyway, if you don’t like performing these actions in a GUI, there’s always PowerShell.

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One Reply to “Teams Admin Center Gains Better Visibility for Expiring and Deleted Teams”

  1. While our tenant hasn’t received the Teams admin enhancement yet, I have been experimenting with the groups expiration policy, never having enabled it before. This passage from the docs seems key:

    “When you change the expiration policy, the service recalculates the expiration date for each group. It always starts counting from the date when the group was created, and then applies the new expiration policy.”

    What that translates to is that email notices are sent out for ALL groups older than what you set the policy to. So, if you set it to 365, all groups older than 1 year, *even if active*, will receive the notice because, I guess, in the matter of minutes between when the policy was enabled and it begins its evaluation there was probably no activity.

    I was thinking that it would have access to whatever the “Graph signals” are, some historical record of activity (the Admin center’s Usage section has that), but maybe that only applies going forward for this policy, not retroactively. If so, that’s a serious limitation for those who haven’t had it enabled all along.

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