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The surprising places your Teams data is stored
Posted by Amy Babinchak on 01 February 2019 11:45 AM

Microsoft Teams is taking the collaboration world by storm. It’s crushed Microsoft’s fastest growing software award. Now Skype and StaffHub have been migrated into Teams. Although Teams is closely connected to SharePoint you might be surprised to find out exactly where different types of Teams data get stored. 

Teams stores data in Exchange, Stream, Groups, SharePoint, and OneDrive for Business with some locations hidden and some not. It can even store data in third-party locations, like Dropbox, Google Docs, and others if you choose to enable those features. 

As an end-user of Teams, there is little reason for you to care where the data actually is because you can get to all of it within the program itself. But as an admin, you might have occasion to know.

  • One-to-one internal chat
    • Files shared during the chat
  • One-to-one chat with an external user
    • Files shared during that chat
  • Chat within a channel
    • Files in that channel chat
  • Meeting recordings
    • Shared files in a meeting
    • Chat in a meeting
  • Voicemail messages

Teams is based on Office 365 Groups but less tightly or obviously than it used to be and it has its hooks into everything — some by default and some by choice. Let’s take a look at where our data is going and how we find it in those locations.

Finding your chat data

There are several kinds of chat. (I listed them above.) The key thing to know about chat is that it is persistent chat, meaning that the content doesn’t go away when you end the chat. It remains so that members of the chat can continue to reference what was discussed and can pick up conversations to continue them later. This should reduce the number of times that users have to go to the admin to ask for something that was in chat.

Where that information gets stored on the back-end depends on who you are chatting with and if you shared any files during that chat.

One-to-one chat

One-to-one chat data is stored in a hidden folder within your mailbox. This folder contains all of the conversations that were had in that chat. Each member of the chat retains their own copy. This folder only exists for the purpose of data retention, litigation holds, and compliance. The only way to discover the contents of this folder is to perform an eDiscovery.

Teams data

In the Security and Compliance Center, you’ll start a Content Search and then narrow the search location to chat in Teams, the date, and any other criteria you’d like to set. As above, within a minute or two you’ll get a sample of the results to browse and verify that the results contain what you’re looking for.

What about files?

Files that you’ve shared during the chat are stored in your OneDrive for Business account in a folder that is not hidden called Microsoft Teams Chat Files. These continue to be accessible by members of the chat. Permissions are automatically set on the file to allow the members of the chat to access it. Not everyone gets a copy of the file, so when the person that originally shared the file in the chat leaves the company, IT will be responsible for the files that were formerly shared with the chat members. This means it is really a good idea to NOT use chat as a file storage area.

Whether you are chatting with members of your own company or people outside your company the file storage and permissions are configured in the same manner.

Teams data

Finding your non-chat channel data

When you create a Team, an Office 365 Group with a group mailbox is created and a SharePoint site is created too. Within the SharePoint site, a document library is created for each channel in the team.

Teams data

Although these SharePoint sites are created by Teams they are not easy to locate for SharePoint users. For this reason, I like to create links to them in my SharePoint menu system. The easiest way to find the SharePoint site for any Team is to go the File section of the team and then select Open in SharePoint.

Teams data

This will open SharePoint, and now you can copy the URL from your browser and use that to create a permanent link. I find it useful because sometimes I’m already in SharePoint and having this link saves me a task switch.

Teams data

I mentioned that a group mailbox is also created. The mailbox houses email sent to the team. If you made a new Team in the past, an Office 365 Group was created complete with Group Mailbox and for those groups that is where the email will be. However, newly created Teams are not getting the Office 365 Group anymore. Instead, email for the group is now stored in SharePoint.

Teams data

Knowing the email address for your channels and teams can save you a task switch too. If you find yourself working in Outlook and want to send something in your team, just email the Channel or Team. Click the at the top of any team or channel to find its address.

Teams data

TIP: These Teams addresses are ugly and not in your domain. They are in the domain, so if you do plan to email into your Team or Channels you want to add them to your personal contact list, as a contact in Exchange, or do like I do and add that address to a mail-enabled distribution group that has a memorable email address. That way it will show up in your global address book and everyone can use it easily.

Finding your meeting data

Microsoft Teams meetings generate two types of data — meeting recordings and chat and file upload data.

Meeting recordings are stored in Stream. This might be surprising for people migrating over from Skype because Skype stored the file locally. Teams does not. It saves into the companies Stream app. Specifically, it saves into the organizers Stream account and the content is automatically shared with all invited people.

Teams data

For the content owner, the meeting shows up under the My Content menu. For everyone else, it will show up under the Discover menu. Initially, a new video is labeled as Trending and it will appear on the Home page of Stream and in the Discover menu. As time passes, it will need to be searched for in the Discover menu. They can be located by title, date, and other criteria.

As far as chat within the meeting and files shared in the meeting, those are stored the same as always in Teams. Meaning the files go into the Microsoft Teams chat files folder of the sharer and the chat is available only under Discovery.

Finding your voicemail data

If you are using Teams as your phone system, then you might be wondering where the voicemail is stored. Voicemail is stored in the user’s mailbox. This includes the transcriptions of the voicemail too.

Yes, your Teams data is everywhere

So that’s that simple, right? All you need to be able to find your data in Teams is SharePoint, Exchange, Stream, OneDrive for Business, and eDiscovery rights. ???? I do jest. While your data is everywhere, it’s everywhere for good a reason. Teams is the app that unifies so many things in Office/Microsoft 365, which means while your data is flying here and there, you don’t have to and that is a big time saver. Task switching is a productivity disease and Teams is the cure.


About Third Tier

Open a ticket with us! Established in 2008, Third Tier only works for IT Professionals by providing them with access to advanced support services. No one can know it all these days, so we give IT pros a place to go to get the hands on support they need in areas they normally don’t work in or problems they’ve never encountered. We also work on projects, fix their accounting practices and do many, many migrations and other installations. Our staff covers a wide range of technologies.






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The top free and low-fee conferences for SMB IT Professionals
Posted by Amy Babinchak on 16 January 2019 03:18 PM

Attending educational events and conferences is a necessary right of passage for IT professionals. You can’t count yourself among the career professional set if you don’t set yourself a learning and networking schedule. It’s important time to get out of your own head, your comfort zone and learn something new, anticipate the future and level set against the competition. Doing so doesn’t have to be expensive. Anyone can afford to do it.

Some in the list below are technical and some are business. You need to attend a mix. In general the business ones are going to cost you a few dollars because they aren’t trying to sell you. While the technical ones are generally free, remember that there will be a vendor slant because the vendors paid the bills to make the event happen.

I surveyed my contacts, via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and mailing list amounting to near 15,000 contact points to ask which low-cost conferences they thought provided the best value. The top one without doubt was ChannelPro SMB Forum. It’s unequivocally #1 however it was followed very closely by the SMB TechFest. The rest all have their fans too. I’ve been to many of these over the years and each has its strong point. You can’t go wrong attending any of them. Other than those top 2 in no particular order here’s what people said are the best.

Go to the website to view the list


About Third Tier

Open a ticket with us! Established in 2008, Third Tier only works for IT Professionals by providing them with access to advanced support services. No one can know it all these days, so we give IT pros a place to go to get the hands on support they need in areas they normally don’t work in or problems they’ve never encountered. We also work on projects, fix their accounting practices and do many, many migrations and other installations. Our staff covers a wide range of technologies.




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Tell us what your favorite affordable conferences are
Posted by Amy Babinchak on 11 January 2019 03:28 PM
Around the new year a couple of publications came out with their calendar of events and conferences. Most of the ones on the list are large expensive conferences where you'll be dropping $5,000 for fees, hotel, travel and food in the end. But there are plenty of great opportunities to attend less expensive events, save a bundle and still come away with a quality education. I'll be publishing such a list. Which low cost events are your favorites and why? Tell us in the survey below please!


Amy Babinchak

Managing Partner, Third Tier


Make your IT business better than the competition. IT Pro Helpdesk, TechYourBooks, Super Secret News, Women in IT Scholarship program, Ransomware Prevention Kit and more.

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Getting the MSP staff meeting right
Posted by Amy Babinchak on 28 December 2018 12:31 PM

It’s been in the headlines everywhere. People have even written books about the giant waste of time that meetings are. They’ve shortened them to “stand-up meetings,” “morning roll call,” or “scrum” and just to remind people that they really don’t want to be there and how much time they are wasting they make them stand up for the whole thing. Books have been written titled with words like, “meetings suck,” or “death by meeting.” Yes, meetings really have a bad reputation. Certainly, meetings can be overdone. If they become too frequent then they eat into productivity and serve as a crutch for poor employee management. But they do not have to be this way. I don’t care what they say. Meetings are essential for keeping the staff of MSPs on track and if you have a distributed workforce, your corporate identity together too. In my business and in a growing number of businesses, all of the employees work from their home office and client locations. But even if your business has an office that everyone works from day in and day out, scheduling all-staff meetings can actually save you from meeting fatigue and help you build your team.

For MSPs, and my MSP business specifically, our weekly staff meetings are critical to our success. Why is it that some think meetings are a terrible waste while for some of us those meetings are the glue that holds the company together?

Meetings as the glue that binds

Meetings done well can be the glue that binds your company together. All companies struggle to find their identity and to get employees to adopt that identity. Meetings can be that conduit to bring everyone together. Stick with me here and see how we’ve done this.

In my MSP, there are two kinds of meetings.

  1. All staff client review meeting. Three hours. A once-every-other-week breakfast meeting.
  2. All staff training meeting. Four hours. A once-every-other-week technical training over dinner.

These are the only meetings we have. That totals four meetings a month. One week it’s a morning meeting. The next week it’s an evening meeting. If you over-schedule your staff then that is when meeting fatigue builds and the hatred of meetings begins. We don’t do that.

Each meeting has a purpose but it is loosely structured. The purpose of the meeting is known. The “loosely” part is the glue that binds. Thinking of meetings as dual purpose, staff cohesion and productive, has an interesting effect. People actually like them.

Client-review meetings

As a consulting firm, our client-review meetings are held on Tuesday mornings. Tuesday is a nice day because it isn’t Monday. You know what I mean. Monday can be hectic when issues that cropped up over the weekend and were held by your supported user-base can flood in. Hopefully, not all of your Mondays are hectic but we avoid them just in case. Tuesdays are generally always days of calm.

The client-review meeting is a time for talking about what’s happening with a selected group of clients. When we were smaller we reviewed every client. Now we review select groups of them. The group of clients selected changes with each meeting. The group selected includes clients represented by different members of the staff. That way everyone has a responsibility to be prepared although we do not announce which clients are going to be reviewed in advance. This means that your staff members know that they had better be ready to be called upon to report the status of any client.

You probably also don’t want to be the last person to arrive for the meeting. My staff can be brutal to the last to arrive. Excuses are not tolerated well by them. Inevitably the last person uses the excuse that traffic was heavy. Since we’re all coming to the meeting from somewhere and since they are all on good terms there’s always some ribbing about how “I managed to get here and I come farther than you, dude.”

And so the meeting begins.

“Dave, please tell us what’s happening with Acme Industries.” Dave will report on what’s been done there recently. What the client is thinking of doing in the future. How their business seems to be going. Outstanding issues that he’s working on and he might ask for advice on how to address a particular issue.

As this is a meeting of peers. There’s a good amount of poking at each other like siblings, talk about the latest Marvel movie, maybe a bit of sports talk, maybe a bit of new music talk. There will be some griping about clients. The frustration expressed about a challenging technical problem. Jokes told. There will be some cases of, “Hey I have a client with that same problem” or “I solved that problem for another client.” There will be some munching of bagels. We move on to the next client review.

We keep anything negative to a minimum and the manager’s role is to let the venting and chatter occur but keep it under control. Let the conversation veer into Marvel briefly and then bring it back then move on to the next client.

The glue that binds all MSPs is laid in these meetings. Talk about common interests. Good-natured discussion and general light atmosphere mixed with a hardcore understanding of the clients’ needs brings everyone together to the common goal of providing great service and it keeps us all on the same page.

In addition, as we assign projects and others report progress on those projects for their group of clients if your progress is less it is going to stand out. We aren’t a group to call that out during the meeting but it quickly becomes obvious when you are in a group of your peers. A self-leveling occurs. The weaker members step up to get closer to the stronger members of the team.

Staff-training meetings

On the opposite Tuesday evening, we meet for technical training and dinner. We meet in our conference room at the end of the day and the company brings in dinner for everyone. These meetings are held from 4-8 p.m. We’ll get carryout from a local restaurant or sometimes pizza but we try to make it something a bit nicer than pizza since they are missing dinner at home.

If you’ve been in IT for a long time you can think of these as a corporate version of the user group. The purpose of this meeting is to make sure that our technical staff stays current with new technology. We will pick a topic, work together through online training courses, view webinars and go through virtual labs. There is frequent stopping of the online sessions for discussion between the techs about the impact of something that was just presented or the meaning of it. Sometimes we’ll get deep into one topic for several sessions and sometimes it’s a new topic each week. We try out the things we’ve learned in test environments and we banter about how we’re going to use this new technology to benefit clients, what our standards should be and who will be the first client to use it in production. We decide together which new technology we should deep dive into next.

These training sessions are another bonding experience. There’s nothing like eating together around a table with light chit-chat to bring a group together. It’s also a great experience to be in a learning environment with a bunch of other very bright people.

MSPs and other IT businesses can’t build teams without meetings

All good professional IT techs like to learn, so coming to these meeting fulfills many needs — social, learning, and professional development. All employees have these basic needs that contribute to their job satisfaction levels. Between these two meetings, employees get to show their competence, contribute to the knowledge base of the company, help plan future technology implementations, develop social relationships with their peers and expand their knowledge too. The end result is a win-win for the company and for the employee. For MSPs — and all other IT-based firms — meetings don’t have to be terrible. They can be a very productive use of time — particularly when they serve multiple purposes.

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Ransomware Prevention Kit updated
Posted by Amy Babinchak on 12 October 2018 03:29 PM

The ransomware prevention Kit has been updated and reorganized to better reflect our current thinking on ransomware prevention.

We continue to believe that it is only IT best practices that can prevent ransomware. This was reinforced by the most recent major outbreak that resulted from IT admins failing to apply security updates in the timely manner. We also continue to believe in the onion layer approach to security.

There is a new wrinkle though and it’s the cloud. Our edge has moved from the Firewall down to the User Credentials. Backups have become decentralized because they need to cover the cloud as well as the local files. Whole networks have become decentralized and so the Kit is evolving to reflect this new reality. Together this means that there are more moving parts than ever and therefore more places for something to go wrong.

Toward this end we’ve branched out into security policy and now Intune policy too. From FSRM to Defender configuration. From network to local OS.

This weeks update includes Intune policy with samples, export and import tools that will allow you to use them across many tenants. The creation of these policies reflects the inclusion of Intune in the new Microsoft 365 licensing groups. As businesses move from the Office 365 plans into the more secure laden Microsoft 365 plans these policies will form the foundation of new best practices.

ransomware prevention kit

Continued Support

There are two way to support our efforts at preventing ransomware infection.

If you would like to donate to our scholarship fund and continue to support our efforts in fighting ransomware please go to to make a donation.

If you would like to support the authors of this kit please go to and make a purchase.


About Third Tier

Open a ticket with us! Established in 2008, Third Tier only works for IT Professionals by providing them with access to advanced support services. No one can know it all these days, so we give IT pros a place to go to get the hands on support they need in areas they normally don’t work in or problems they’ve never encountered. We also work on projects, fix their accounting practices and do many, many migrations and other installations. Our staff covers a wide range of technologies.




Read more »

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