Teams: Private channels

Private channels have been introduced as a method of providing separate secure channels and file areas within Microsoft Teams.

Normally set up and administered by the Team owner, private channels contain a separate permissions schema and a separate SharePoint Online site is used as the data container for items kept within them.  Owners can also delegate creation of private channels to members via the Team’s admin settings.

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Once a Team is provisioned, private channels can be set up from scratch using the Add Channel option in their Team’s menu.  Owners can select whether channels are public where they are accessible to all members of their team, or private so they are only accessible to a separately maintained list of team members.

Once a private channel is created, owners can then select the channel and choose Manage Channel, then Add member, so content can only be viewed by members and owners of that channel.

Only existing members of the team can be added to a private channel, so you first have to add a member to your Team before you can add them as a member of the channel.

Private channels require at least one owner.  The owner will not be allowed to leave the team unless they pass on ownership of a private channel to another owner before they do so.

Up to 30 private channels can be created per team.  This is a hard limit set by Microsoft to offset the creation of additional SharePoint Online sites affiliated with the channels, and to facilitate the unique permissions in each channel.

Teams Meetings cannot be currently held in private channels and many Nexus365 apps normally surfaced in Teams, such as Planner and WhiteBoard, cannot be surfaced as app tabs in a private channel.

Once deleted by the private channel owner or a team owner, the private channel enters a 'wind down' state for 30 days until it is ‘hard deleted’ by Microsoft.  This is to facilitate scenarios where accidental deletion needs to be undone by a channel or team owner, restoring the deleted channel and content.  If you have reached your channel creation limit of 200 standard channels and 30 private channels, you have the option to clear content from a channel and rename / repurpose it, or wait until the 30 day hard deletion deadline before more channels can be created.

Links from files held in a private channel can be shared in Teams Meetings, but only members of the private channel will be able to click on the links and view the content.  This is the only method by which content can be secured in communications and meetings, as any content shared from standard channels will be viewable by any member of the team inside or outside the meeting for the duration of the team.

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