Information Management Best Practices

Microsoft OneDrive and Teams

There are several ways that you can create, access, organize, and share information using Microsoft OneDrive and Teams. 

OneDrive is great for storing files in the cloud and accessing them from anywhere. OneDrive is ideal for work-in-progress and sharing documents and drafts with specific individuals. Files are private until you share them.  

Teams is great for groups of individuals to have a conversation, work together on documents, video call and meet right where the work is happening. Files stored within a Teams site are available to all members of the Teams site. 

 Note that... 

  • Your OneDrive access will end when you leave the university and its contents will be deleted. For this reason, it is best to use OneDrive as a personal working space in which the records are transitory (i.e. temporary and do not need to be kept long-term). 
  • Understanding how to use the Microsoft 365 services is key to using them effectively and protecting the information that you work with in support of the university’s compliance obligations. 

 Guidance: When to use OneDrive vs Teams 

  • Use OneDrive if the file you are working on is something that you would like to keep private, retain for a short time, or intend to use for minor collaboration (e.g. you just want to share with a few people). Examples of records you may store in OneDrive are early drafts or documents. 
  • Use Teams if you are creating and sharing multiple files and would like to collaborate and engage in discussions with specific groups of people. Files that should be kept long-term and do not require further collaboration should be saved to a network shared drive or other record repository such as the network shared drive or OnBase (link to matrix). Retaining official university records that provide evidence of important activities, approvals or decisions in Teams where they could be easily deleted or inappropriately shared is risky therefore, it is important to save the records to an appropriate records repository once collaboration on the record is complete. 
  • Use Teams chat for collaborating but understand that 1-to-1 and group chat messages outside a Teams site will be deleted after 29 days. Information with long-term value to you or the university should not be communicated and recorded solely in the chat function.

 Guidance: Organizing information in OneDrive and Teams 

  • Before you request a Team site, think about the purpose for which it is being created as a collaboration space: 
  • Is this space intended to bring together a distinct set of people with a common objective or goal? 
  • Does a Team site already exist for this purpose into which a new channel could be added? 
  • Creating a Team site can be an important first step in delivering a piece of work but having too many sites can make information difficult to find, manage or protect (e.g. where is the record that is needed as evidence of an activity or an event?) 
  • To help find information quickly when needed in OneDrive or Teams, make sure you follow the university’s naming convention guidance when you create new documents and try and apply it consistently. 
  • Information stored in OneDrive and Teams sites is potentially subject to access to information requests such as ATIPP requests and legal matters. Therefore, it is important to manage information stored using these tools in the same way you manage other university records and also ensure that a legal hold is placed on records if necessary. 

 Guidance: Sharing information and access controls 

  • Use the link-sharing functionality in OneDrive to share documents rather than sending them as email attachments. This helps ensure that there is one version of the truth that colleagues can view or edit in real time rather than multiple versions of the same document emailed to recipients as an attachment. 
  • When requesting a Teams site, think about who needs to have access to the documents and set access controls accordingly (e.g. does the site content contain personal data or sensitive information?). 
  • Ensure you review access control settings in OneDrive and Teams on a regular basis and regularly modify access when a person joins or leaves your team.
  • If you are leaving a team, ensure the appropriate colleagues have access to your Teams site information if the information needs to be accessed after you've left.   If information should be shared, ensure that any information that you've stored in OneDrive is moved to the relevant Teams site or other storage repository such as the network shared drive if others will require to access it after you've left.
  • When inviting guests to a Teams meeting, it is recommended to create a separate meeting rather than invite guests to a recurring meeting.  If guests (internal or external) are invited to a meeting that is a part of a recurring meeting series, they will continue to see all future meetings and chats (including any links, files, or notes) related to that meeting series. Therefore, it is best to create a separate Teams meeting when inviting guests that is outside of a channel. 

Guidance: What to keep and what to dispose 

  • Follow Memorial’s Transitory Records guidance and delete redundant, obsolete and trivial information regularly. 
  • Identify any records that may be Official University Records as per Memorial’s Information Management Policy and consider how long they need to be retained or whether they should be moved to an alternate record repository. Also consider records that may have archival value. 
  • Records on a Teams site should not be retained longer than what is outlined in MUNCLASS. Consult the MUNCLASS classification and retention plan for detailed retention information and contact Information Management & Protection if you have any questions about retention. 

 Further guidance about managing and protecting information can be found on the Office of the CIO website.