With all the applications that Microsoft Teams brings together within Microsoft 365 (Office 365), there really are tons of ways to collaborate on projects. Teams makes it easier than ever to hold meetings, share information, keep track of tasks, and stay up-to-date on all the projects that people have going on across their organizations! With all the capabilities that Microsoft Teams brings to the table, though, there’s a lot to keep track of, and a lot of different ways information can be shared.
Keeping track of how people can access information and who can do what within Microsoft Teams is a great place to start. So, let’s do this! Here’s a dissection of all the permissions and rights capabilities available with Microsoft Teams.
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1. What Owners and Members of a Microsoft Team Can (and Can’t) Do
Owners of a Microsoft Team have:
- Access to Teams settings and can add new members to a private Team or Group
- Administrative access to the Group SharePoint site associated with the Team
- The ability to “restore” files (if versioning is enabled) to previous versions and delete or archive the Team.
By default, members of a Team cannot access or change Team settings or add members. They can edit the site and make lists and libraries, but they don’t have admin access to the Group SharePoint site associated with the Team. Members can also add channels in Teams (but can’t delete them).
Both Owners and Members (by default) are able to connect external applications–including other storage and collaboration apps–to each Team via Team channel tabs. They can both also add tabs to Teams channels and delete them.
If external sharing is turned on for Microsoft Teams and the Team in question, owners may invite “Guest” users from outside the organization to Teams. Guest users have the ability to participate in private Microsoft Teams chats (by default they cannot add or remove channels or tabs), Teams conversations (for joined Teams), and have access to files and the SharePoint information behind the Team as well (they will also be Guest users of the Microsoft 365 (Office 365) Group).
2. Private vs. Public Microsoft Teams: What’s the Difference?
Private Teams require that administrators approve membership or directly add users to the Team in question, and information stored in the Team (and the Team itself) may or may not be searchable by the organization depending on SharePoint permissions and Team Settings. The information within a private Team does not show up in search results by default, but the Team name, description, and the members and owners of the Team can be seen by users in the organization.
Public Teams can be joined by any user in an organization, and the related files and chat information are visible to everyone (via searches) as well.
3. Control Access to Services and Users with Teams Admin Center
Microsoft Teams administrators can manage just about every aspect of each individual Team in an organization as well as set all available tenant-wide settings for calls, meetings, and chat collaboration features offered by Microsoft Teams. This includes the ability to allow or restrict external sharing as well as the connectors/applications available via Team channel tabs.
There are three additional levels of Microsoft Teams Administrators that have different portioned levels of organization-wide administrative access to assist in federating the management of Teams:
- Teams Communications Administrators can manage calling and meeting features for Microsoft Teams.
- Teams Communications Support Engineers have access to call quality, reliability information, and the tools to troubleshoot the technical aspects of Microsoft Teams.
- Teams Communications Support Specialists can view user information and call quality analytics to assist in troubleshooting call quality.
4. The “Files” of the Team and SharePoint Permissions
It’s important to remember that the “Files” tab is available and that it’s mandatory for each channel in a Team to be connected to file storage in SharePoint. Files for each channel are stored in a folder in the document library of the SharePoint site that supports each Team.
Owners and Members have the ability to share rights to any files or pages–the entire site collection, even–to anyone in the organization. This means that any files stored or shared inside a Team are subject to the sharing and permissions rules of SharePoint.
In addition, the files in private chats are stored in the One Drive For Business of the users that upload them in a “Teams Chat Files” folder before being shared with others in the chat.
5. Sharing Information with Teams
Each Microsoft Team is connected with a Microsoft 365 (Office 365) Group and serves (in part) as a Security Group with shared resources across many applications in Microsoft 365. Users outside the organization can share access with Microsoft Teams and grant all of the users in that Team rights to SharePoint or OneDrive content. Conversely, you cannot add another Microsoft Team/Microsoft 365 Group to the Members or Owners group for the Team or Group in question.
When a file is shared with the Team (or Group) from a location outside that Team in question, it will be visible as a link via the “Files” tab of the Microsoft 365 Group (not channels within the Team).
6. Who Can See Information in Microsoft Teams — and What They Can See?
With the exception of Private Channels, all the Owners and Members within a Team can see all the chat, “Files” tabs, and apps available to that Team. In addition, each Owner and Member can access the application information associated with the Office 365 Group behind the Team. This includes the Outlook Calendar and Exchange conversations associated with the Group.
Each channel in a Team also has its own email address, and email can be sent or forwarded to a channel in the Team.
Additionally, Microsoft Teams allows the restriction of private chats among users and subsets of users, (ex. restricting who can create 1-1 chats with leadership team members etc).
With enterprise licenses, it’s also possible to add warnings and restrictions on the kind of content that can be shared within the Teams application (ex. sensitive/explicit content in chats).
I hope you enjoyed this little breakdown of how users can access information through Microsoft Teams and what different levels of users have the capabilities to do! For more detailed information, be sure to check out the links in the article. We’ve also got some great webinars and blog posts packed with tips and best practices below:
- Blog Series: Migrating to Microsoft Teams
- Blog Post: How to Manage Microsoft Teams Notifications
- Webinar: Microsoft Teams and Information Management: What You Should Know!
What about permissions per channel, we have Avepoint but are unclear about the fact Avepoint Cloud backup will backup these Custom Channels that apparently create a hole extra Teamsite in the background that you cannot see in the sharepointadmin portal. Can/will avepoint backup these channels?
Hey Harry! We’re currently working on support for this and expect Private Channels to be supported within the next few release cycles. Thanks!
Great news, keep up good work!!
If a channel or teams group is originally public and then switched to private are the files that were already shared immediately made private. If not how do you make private?
Hey Kristen! No files are unshared is a Team is made private; it simply means that people in the organization cannot surface or access unshared files without requesting access or joining the Team first. Channels have to be made private when they’re created.
I am not able to screen share excel, word and some other applications during meetings, some are available but other open files/programs are not available from the choices except sharing the entire desktop or window.
Is this a permission thing, please advise ?
Hi Kashif! This is caused not by permissions per se, but likely an org-wide setting in Teams restricting screen sharing. Hope this helps!
By default,…Members can also add channels in Teams (but can’t delete them). But if you see the check boxes checked, it seems – by default “allow members to delete and restore channels” ?
The Ultimate Guide – more like High Level.
Ultimate Guide would have way more info.
A little misleading.
Hey Iain, we’re sorry if you feel like this guide didn’t answer some of the questions you might’ve had on permissions. We’ll look at updating it. Hopefully our resources on other topics will serve you better in the meantime!
what about the avepoint backup user, it becomes a member of a channel. Is it possible to hide the notification in the channel, when the backup user becoming a member?
Hey Smits, that’s unfortunately not possible at this time. We suggest connecting Cloud Backup with an account that has a neutral name like “IT Support” to lessen the impact of this instead of having an account with a person’s name.
What about file permissions? I thought a member could upload a file, but now I am seeing that this might not be the case. True? False?
Hunter, thanks this awesome. Is there a way i can send an email on outlook of all members (think Distribution List)? Not to be confused with the channel email id you referred to
You can! This would simply be the address for the Group/Team itself, typically TeamName@domain.com. This will go to the email box for the Team, and members who follow it (typically the default) will receive the message in their own inbox as well.
In addition to what Brent said, assuming you have outlook configured on your computer, you should be able to see the group email in a section called “groups” that should reside below your personal folders in outlook. No additional configuration would have been required for those to show up.
Thanks for the excellent article Hunter. Very useful. We’d like to create a shared calendar in sharepoint to use as a Holiday/Vacation planner for the team. We’d like all team members to see it but only the team owner to be able to edit it. Is this possible?
We’re glad you found this useful Chris! That isn’t possible directly within the Team, but you could create a private calendar and share it with the team. The Team Calendar should reflect this, and Team members would be able to add it to their own calendars as well.
Thanks for the article. I am not clear on the following and was wondering if you have any insight: can an IT Admin access (even just read) files that are stored in a private team channel if they are not part of the team channel?
We’re glad this was helpful Kris! Teams Admins can add themselves or other users to Private Channels in Teams via the Teams Admin Center-> Manage Teams option.
Does this mean the IT Admin cannot see the files within a team unless added?
why members cannot see video in file teams but owner can see that
Hi there, interested to know if a Team channel was created and the owner is not longer a part of the company and no other host was provided access, does a new channel need to be created? Looking to add new members to the group, when selected, indicates add request sent, user does not receive invite. thanks in advance for your guidance.
There are two ways to add a new owner to the existing Team. Microsoft refers to this as an “Orphaned Group” for the group behind the team. Documentation is here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/topic/assign-a-new-owner-to-an-orphaned-group-86bb3db6-8857-45d1-95c8-f6d540e45732#:~:text=Assign%20a%20new%20owner%20using%20the%20Microsoft%20365%20Admin%20mobile%20app&text=On%20the%20home%20screen%20select,to%20assign%20owner%20status%20to.
Hi! I am the original creator and owner of a Team. Since creating it, I have added 2 additional Team owners. We assumed that within the Team’s SharePoint site the other Team owners would have the ability to manage the access of the Team’s files and folders. However, when the other Team owners are in the SharePoint site, they are not actually able to make any changes when they navigate to “manage access” for any of the files or folders – they can see the options, but are not able to change any of the access for other Team members, it’s essentially greyed out for them. I seem to be the only person who is able to make any of these manage access changes even though the other people who have tried are also Team owners. I cannot find anything about this online – any help you could provide would be appreciated!
There are a couple of options here Caitlin. This could be the SharePoint site behind a private channel rather than the main Team. But if this is the main SharePoint site behind the Team, something is not working correctly. Either way, you can share edit/owner rights to that site directly in SharePoint. Hope this helps and thanks for reading!
What about individual file permissions within the Team group? Can I have some members only have read-only access and other member full access? Standard file permissions.
Yes an Owner can do this in the SharePoint site associated with the Team. You can select the file click manage access and then advanced. You can then choose between full control, design, edit, contribute, read, restricted view permission levels. You would have to provide the members of the Team read-only access and then grant the select individuals full access. This can be tedious. Its also VERY important to note that the list of people who have access is not the full list of people who can access the file. Anyone with sharing rights can create a link to share with anyone who has access to that link (unless that has been turned off by an administrator). It can be very, very difficult to understand everyone who has permission to a document and everyone who has actually accessed that document. If you are thinking about file permissions at this level of granularity you should check out this video on our Policies and Insights product that was made to solve exactly these challenges.
I’m having to approve access for every member of this chat individually so they can access files. how can i just make sure that all members of the chat can access all files no problem? we all work within the same organization.
It depends where those files are hosted. It sounds like those files may be stored on a SharePoint site that one member of the chat does not have access to. You can add that member of the chat to have access to that SharePoint site (or corresponding Team) if that is appropriate or keep providing access to individual documents. One of our solutions Policies and Insights can help automate and monitor access and permissions management as well and you may want to request a demo and check it out: https://www.avepoint.com/products/cloud/policies-insights-microsoft-365
I am trying to create a “private” channel where only the “owner” can share files (in the “files” tab) beyond the private channel “members” or “guests” associated with that channel. I don’t want anyone to be able to re-share anything unless it’s the “owner”.
I heard that the Sharepoint structure that comes with the MS Teams application cannot be configured like this and a full SPO instance would have to be installed and linked separately to make this work. I can’t believe Microsoft would be this shortsighted as sensitive files on a private channel inherently are meant for ONLY that channel. Is my IT Team missing something or are they correct about this configuration?
Hi Chris, thanks for reaching out! I believe your IT team is correct. The concept behind Private is that anyone in that private channel has access to those documents and has control. The permission set you’re trying to create would need to be created manually in Sharepoint.
I am part of a large company that uses Microsoft teams regularly. Recently while trying to present, I was trying to play video and no one else can see it but myself. Is it possible my management group has turned off my ability to present videos? I was the one who initiated the team meeting and invitations and also doing the presentations.
The most likely scenario here is that you were sharing a window or screen (if you have multiple monitors) that wasn’t actively showing the presentation.
Our organization creates an AD user login to onboard seasonal employees but this login is not tied to microsoft office as in they don’t have access to email or other applications. Is there a way to allow incoming employees to access an organization channel specifically created for employees to meet before being officially onboarded? Kind of like a chat system for them to meet other seasonal employees before arriving on site. Maybe through guest access and inviting them manually using their personal email addresses (is there a limit to guest access for an organization?) Once that employee receives their AD account to login when onsite and hired is there a way for teams to intuitively match a personal email address and convert them to an actual user and their persona then changes from their personal email address ID to their microsoft AD and groups them to the org chart?
This can be accomplished using our guest user service capability in our Cloud Governance solution. It is possible to invite and “onboard” for a specific seasonal Team not channel. It can be configured in such a way that guests don’t have access to SharePoint Online data but only appear as guest in Teams Only. Then after a while they will get “offboarded” since the policy for that seasonal employees has kicked in.
Why do certain team members get “locked out” of access to files on the team site? I have had people contact me about access privilege’s, and I do not understand why the are accessible to some people some of the time but not to all people all of the time, by people I mean members or owners?
There are several scenarios that could potentially impact file accessibility. When a Team is created, a corresponding SharePoint infrastructure is also created and that is where all files are stored. If there is ever a change in access/features available to a user, the first thing to check is their permissions to that file location/container. Was the user removed from the Team? Was the channel/team moved from public to private? What a change made to the underlying SharePoint site that “broke” permissions for the team? That’s where I would look first: what has changed in site/team permissions? One other possibility: has the license for that user changed? I’ve seen the scenario first-hand where an admin changed licenses (from E3 to something else) and the result was that they became “locked out” to several sites/teams.
My son has Teams through his school on his school appointed laptop. Can I restrict the time frame for him to access teams? Or strip his access from creating private chats? I already know the school won’t do it but they use teams periodically for groups or project assignments. Which is not what he is using it for.
Hi Christina, It sounds like you don’t have administrator privileges so your options within the platform are limited.
I have added an Office 365 Group, or Team to another Team.
So, I added Team 1 as a member of Team 2.
I created a private channel in Team 2, but I cannot add Team 1 to this private channel. When I search for Team 1 to add, it says no results found
Why can I add a Team1 to Team2 , but not add Team 1 to a private channel in Team 2?
What about file permissions for individuals within the Team group? Can I give certain members read-only access while others have full access? Normal file permissions.