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Changes to Microsoft Teams Backups – What You Need to Know

Level 1

There’s some disruption coming to protecting Microsoft Teams message data, and, if you’re backing up Microsoft Teams data, there’s a change that requires your attention.


In the past, all third-party solutions that back up Microsoft Teams data – including our own Veritas Alta™ SaaS Protection solution – have done so using Microsoft’s Exchange Web Services (EWS) application programming interface (API).

Recently, Microsoft has released a new method for accessing Microsoft Teams message data, the Microsoft Teams Export API, and will be end-of-life’ing access to Teams message data through EWS. This means that any solutions for backing up Microsoft Teams data – including our own Veritas Alta SaaS Protection solution – will need to change to use the Microsoft Teams API.

What’s changing

The new API has some clear advantages over using EWS to back up Microsoft Teams data. These include:

  • The ability to back up Microsoft Teams data base on a specified date range
  • No limits on the age of messages you back up
  • Additional security of the New API connection
  • Higher throttling limits (throttling is something done to limit access to data when serving a large number of customers) which allows a higher throughput (a measurement of data per second)

So, the new API will allow for more flexible backup options and higher performance.

Support for the new API is already built-in to Veritas Alta SaaS Protection.

The big change, however, is that Microsoft has made the decision to monetize access to Microsoft Teams data through the API. Microsoft will be billing customers monthly with an added charge per message backed up through the API. This charge is coming to customers directly from Microsoft and will apply to customers regardless of  the Teams backup solution you choose to use. This means there isn’t a way to avoid these charges by selecting a specific vendor’s backup solution – the charges apply equally to all.

The per-message charges are small but the number of charges you receive will vary based on your organization’s use of Teams, specifically the number and frequency of new messages sent. You can find the specific details of these new charges here on the Microsoft site. The page describes licensing requirements to access the Microsoft Teams Export API as well as two different pricing models – all backup solutions – including Veritas Alta SaaS Protection – fall under “Model B” which has no additional license requirements.

What you need to do

If you’re currently backing up Microsoft Teams data and wish to continue doing so, there are some steps you’ll need to take.

  1. Review the licensing and payment details – you’ll need to agree to them later.
  2. Register for and request access to the Microsoft Teams Export API by filling out and submitting this request form.
  3. Wait 7 to 10 business days for Microsoft to respond with the credentials you’ll need to use to access the API.
  4. Make configuration changes to your backup solution to use the new API. For Veritas Alta SaaS Protection this means reconfiguring your Teams connector (connectors are proprietary software that Veritas Alta SaaS Protection uses to connect to SaaS application APIs to capture data). Instructions on performing this reconfiguration can be found in this Knowledge Base article. Of course, you always have the option of contacting Veritas Support to have one of our trained support engineers walk you through the process or make the changes for you.

After that, you’ll see an additional charge from Microsoft on your monthly Azure subscription for backing up any new messages through the Microsoft Teams Export API. You will not be charged for the messages you’ve backed up prior to this. There are no charges associated with restoring Teams data.

Given that 7 to 10 business day wait time, we suggest that you submit your request for access to the Microsoft Teams Export API right away.

What will happen if you do nothing

If you’re currently backing up Microsoft Teams data and don’t follow the steps shown above, your backups of Teams data will start to fail, generally producing an error message like “Resource not found” as Teams data will no longer be accessible through the EWS API.

If you’re not currently backing up Microsoft Teams data

If you’re not already backing up your Microsoft Teams message data, you really should start doing that. Under the shared responsibility model used by Microsoft, you bare the sole responsibility for your data and in the event that the data gets lost – through deletion, ransomware, or any other reason – Microsoft will not be able to help you recover it.

Check out Veritas Alta SaaS Protection, the industry-leading solution for protecting SaaS application data. You might want more details on our protection for Microsoft 365 as a whole, or for Microsoft Teams specifically.

As always, you can find more information on Veritas Alta SaaS Protection on its product page, and always feel free to contact your Veritas account rep or contact us here with any questions you might have.