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A Peony For Our Thoughts

Incoming: MS Teams Chat Retention

What’s happening? Starting May 1, 2024, UW will begin implementing a 30-day retention policy for Microsoft Teams chat messages. This policy will automatically delete all chat messages sent/received after 30 days. As a result, users will no longer be able to search for or access Microsoft Teams chat messages older than 30 days. The implementation of this policy follows our record series for Chat Messages--Transitory and aligns with our longstanding stance that instant messaging chat platforms are not appropriate locations to send & store long-term substantive materials.

Does this apply to all messages in Teams? This automated retention will impact all Chat messages and Chat messages posted in Teams meetings. This does not impact Posts or replies to Posts made in a Channel. Refer to the UWIT FAQ on the difference between a Chat message vs Post message.

What do I need to do? If you have chat messages with substantive material, it’s imperative that you export those chats out of the Teams platform and retain them elsewhere for the appropriate retention period based on the function/content of the messages.

What should I do moving forward? Refrain from using Teams Chat to conduct substantive business.

There are no exceptions to this policy. Refer to UW-IT’s resource on the project and contact our office if you have questions.

Trivia Question of the Month

Many groups at UW engage with third party vendors who provide specific software or cloud-based applications to increase efficiency, improve productivity and simplify work flows.

Our RMS website is brimming with useful insight and, yes, we also have a resource on what to keep in mind when engaging with an external vendor. There are many questions to ask but…

When it comes to third party software and cloud-based applications, what is one thing you should NOT do?

  1. Find out about any mitigation plans the vendor has in place in the event of bankruptcy, company takeover or diminishment of services during a contract period.
  2. Contact the UW Privacy office if you have questions about privacy and security data you're looking to store in a third party system.
  3. Ask the vendor if they offer training opportunities on the use or management of the system.
  4. Inform your team that contracting with a vendor is going to absolve them from their responsibility as UW employees to manage any records/data stored in the application.

April 23 Email Deleting Party

April is National Records Management Month. What a wonderful excuse to host another email deleting party! 

Make progress on your spring cleaning and join the RMS ROT Squad for this popular and practical live event. ROT stands for redundant, obsolete, and transitory records; and email is often saturated with ROT.

Take this chance to finally clear that ROT out of your inbox live with expert guidance. We will describe the specific types of emails that you can delete, give you step-by-step instructions, and demonstrate the best way to search for each type of email. Attendees are allocated real time during the event to delete their own email ROT. Afraid you have so many messages that your computer might freeze? Can’t make it on 4/23 at 2-3pm? Follow along with the recorded Email Deleting Party on the RMS website.

Learn some new tricks and rid yourself of ROT. You’ll love that fresh and tidy inbox!

When: April 23, 2-3pm

Zoom link:

Click here to add to your Outlook calendar

May 30 Email Safeguarding Event: Garbage vs. Gold

If you like deleting email, then you’ll love learning which emails to safeguard because they need to be retained for a specific legally approved retention period. Join the ROT Squad in an interactive event where we will show an example of a type of email and then we’ll ask is it GARBAGE or is it GOLD? Test your knowledge and learn tips and tricks for figuring out what to do with your own emails going forward.

When: May 30th at 1pm

Zoom link:

Click here to add the Outlook item to your calendar

More Spring Cleaning

Search for your office on our website to see if you have a scanning policy or Departmental Records Retention Schedule on file. If the answer is yes, then help your colleagues stay in legal compliance while they complete their spring cleaning by making sure that they know where to find this information. Tip: It’s better to share a link rather than download the document to ensure you are using the most up-to-date version.

Here’s some ideas on how to share:

  • Include the link on a departmental intranet site
  • Add it to an onboarding procedure to increase awareness for new staff
  • Bring it up as an FYI in an internal staff meeting to make sure everyone knows
  • Have a big folder of unique records? You could put the link to the retention schedule in a READ ME file within the folder so when people look at the records themselves it is easy for them to find the applicable retention periods

Trivia Answer: d. Inform your team that contracting with a vendor is going to absolve them from their responsibility as UW employees to manage any records/data stored in the application. – We genuinely hope this was an easy one to answer but if you did get this one wrong we’re here to tell you that this is a judgment-free zone. As vital as these programs and applications may be to our day-to-day business, it is important to remember that storing records or data with an outside vendor never absolves UW employees from the responsibility of properly managing UW records in accordance with their legally-approved retention requirements. Our office recommends you ask the vendor about any records management feature they may offer and see how customizable it is. You can learn much more about this by reading our resource on Third Party Software Best Practices. If you have any questions for us, please send an email to and we’ll be in touch.


Click here to watch the video on this new University-wide initiative.


Barbara Benson

Emily Lemieux

Lynn O'Shea

Sean Whitney

Laetitia Rhodes Kaiser