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Loop Component eDiscovery is Possible Without Being Easy
Following yesterday’s article about using Loop components in Teams channel conversations, I was asked how I felt about how well Loop supports Microsoft 365 compliance solutions. The point is that Microsoft emphasizes the collaboration capabilities of Loop within an organization (but not outside because of the lack of external access) without delivering full support for basic compliance functionality like eDiscovery.
My view is simple. Loop components have been around for two years. In that time, there hasn’t been much change in how these components support compliance. In November 2021, when I wrote about Loop component support for Teams chat, I noted that the compliance records generated for chat messages contained pointers to the Loop files stored in OneDrive for Business. This is enough to find Loop components, but not in the context of the chat.
Loop Component eDiscovery with Content Search
In May 2022, I followed up by examining the topic of eDiscovery for Loop components in more detail and noted that it’s possible to run a content search for a keyword included in a Loop component but can’t open the file from preview. You can download the file and open it in OneDrive for Business, but only after giving the file a .fluid extension. The same is true for the components used in Teams channel conversations. I don’t remember searches ever finding retained copies of previous versions of chat components (stored in the site preservation hold library). This happens for components used in channel conversations (Figure 1).
In all cases, I could open the downloaded copy of a component. OneDrive for Business calls the web version of the Loop app to open the files (Figure 2).
In yesterday’s article, I used a compound message to illustrate Loop components in channel conversations. A compound message includes text and embedded elements, like a Loop component or a Stream video. You’ll notice that the results shown in Figure 1 only list the Loop components. To find the complete message, you must use keywords that are in the message and Loop components (the same or different keywords). You can then see the message posted to the channel (Figure 3).
Downloading Messages With Pointers to the Loop Component
There’s no trace of the Loop component because content search preview only displays text (including links and emojis). But when you download the compliance record and view the resulting message item, you can see the attachments. The loop component is represented as ‘card.html.’ The channel post was an announcement, so the other attachment is the graphic used in the announcement header.
For those wondering why the downloaded compliance record is displayed as an Outlook message, that’s because Teams compliance records are simplified copies of the actual Teams data stored as message items in Exchange Online mailboxes (a group mailbox in this case). Microsoft Search indexes the message items to make them available for eDiscovery. However, Loop components used in channel conversations are indexed separately in SharePoint Online and that’s why the search has two hits: one for the message, and one for the component.
Loop Component eDiscovery Premium
The situation is a little better in Purview eDiscovery Premium. Instead of a simple content search, eDiscovery Premium uses review sets retrieved from a collection of sources. The presentation of information from a review set is more insightful (Figure 5). In this instance, we can see that the content of the card.html attachment reveals that the Loop component is presented in an adaptive card called FluidEmbedCard.
Work to Do to Improve Loop Component eDiscovery
Microsoft is obviously enthused with Loop components. The technology is interesting and does a good job of making collaboration more accessible for users within a single tenant. However, it’s disappointing that eDiscovery of Loop components is still challenging two years after the first introduction of the technology in a Microsoft 365 application. You can certainly find the components, but investigators have too much work to do to knit everything together to create a seamless picture of how people use Loop components in Teams channel conversations.
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