U of G's Terms of Use for Office 365 Teams

Last Updated: May 11, 2018

Description & Purpose 


The purpose of this document is to provide the Terms of Use for Office 365 Teams (herein referred to as "Teams").  The purpose of this document is to outline the roles and responsibilities, policies and processes that guide, direct, and govern the management and operation of Teams as a broadly-scoped document management and collaboration platform for the University of Guelph.  

Teams is a cloud-based content management and collaboration service managed by Microsoft that is constantly changing. As such, this is a "living" document that will be reviewed and/or updated monthly by CCS.  All users are responsible for ensuring they are up-to-date with the Terms of Use. Users will be made aware when major changes to the Terms of Use have been made. 


The scope of this document covers content generated while using all features within Teams, including:

  • Teams Site (built on SharePoint platform - note this is different than SharePoint Online)
  • OneNote
  • Chat
  • Group Email
  • Calendar


This document applies to any U of G member who is a member of Teams, which encompasses faculty, staff, undergraduates, graduates, affiliates, IT consultants, University of Guelph-Humber, and Ridgetown campuses.  This Terms of Use document also applies to external users (e.g. consultants and partners) that may have authorized access.

University Policies 

All users are required to read and adhere to the following University policies and guidelines: 

Microsoft Terms of Use 

All users are required to read and adhere to Microsoft's Terms of Use: 

Eligibility  Anyone with a U of G Office 365 account can set up Teams.  External users may be granted access to be on a Team.
Roles & Responsibilities 

For all intents and purposes in this document:

  • CCS refers to the service owner and administrator of Teams.  CCS staff are subject to the same Terms of Use.
  • Team Owner refers to users who have elevated privileges for their particular Team that allows them to: add and remove members; edit or delete the Team, set permissions; and change the Team picture.
  • Team Member refers to users who have been granted access to a Team.

CCS is responsible for: 

  • Configuring and securing the system. 
  • Developing and maintaining any processes associated with the maintenance, monitoring, security and provisioning of the system. 
  • Developing, updating and publishing the governance for Teams, which includes this Terms of Use document. 
  • Enabling/disabling features. 
  • Reviewing and installing requests for third-party apps.  

 CCS is NOT responsible for: 

  • Providing, delivering or developing training and/or training material 
  • Supporting, designing, developing and maintaining solutions within Teams. 
  • Managing, creating, editing, deleting, monitoring or maintaining content within Teams, including Chat. 
  • Managing and delegating end-user permissions settings within Teams. 

Team Owners are responsible for: 

  • Reading, understanding and adhering to the Terms of Use (this document). 
  • Ensuring their Team(s) always have an active owner. Note:  If the current owner leaves the University, either current owner or a team member must ensure that a new Teams owner has been appointed if the Team is still required, otherwise the Team will be deleted.  
  • Managing permissions and access to their content. 
  • Ensuring that Team members are adhering to the Terms of Use (this document), by periodically monitoring content within Teams channels and coordinating with Team Members to address instances of non-compliance.

 Team Members are responsible for:  

  • Reading, understanding and adhering to the Terms of Use (this document). 
Data Retention & Removal

To ensure security and good governance, Team owners must regularly review their Teams to ensure: adherence with U of G Data Classification Guidelines; there are no stale or inactive data; and that user access is still relevant.  Data management and review is an important concept from storage, security and legal perspectives.  If data is never purged, it accumulates, which can be costly in terms of storage, but may also have potential legal ramifications.  

While the University does not have a campus-wide data retention policy, each Team owner must determine how long to keep the Team's data, and where applicable, when to delete the Teams and or data.  This helps to reduce redundant, outdated and trivial (ROT) content. 

Teams will be removed under the following scenarios: 

  1. By request from the corresponding department head 
  2. Violation of the Terms of Use - CCS reserves the right to block, restrict or remove any sites found in violation
  3. After 12 months of inactivity, which is defined by the content not being accessed (read or modified) for 12 months* 

 *Before a Team is deleted due to inactivity, the following process will occur: 

  1. After 12 months of inactivity, the Team owner(s) will be sent an initial email detailing this policy along with a warning that the Team will be automatically removed in three months time. A specific removal date will be indicated in the email.  Team owners can keep the Team by responding to the email. 
  2. If no response is received to the first email, a second email warning will be sent one month later, indicating the Team will be removed in two months, on the date indicated in the first email. 
  3. One month later, a final email warning will be sent indicating the Team will be removed in one month, on the date indicated in the first email. 
  4. The Team will be removed on the date specified in the email, and an email will be sent to the Team owner(s). 
Naming Conventions 

In order for CCS to offer a self-service model (rather than users submitting requests), users will have discretion over selecting Team names.  Therefore, users must carefully select meaningful names for Teams. Specifically, users must NOT use generic names or names that have priority by other departments (e.g. HR, payroll, finance, accounts payable, etc.).  Disregarding this rule may result in loss of content.  Therefore, please choose Team names with care. 

Any conflict between users/departments with respect to Team names should be escalated to respective department heads to resolve.  If the dispute cannot be resolved between users/departments, the CIO will have final decision-making authority.  If you are uncertain about your Team name, please contact CCS before creating it. It is strongly recommended that staff and faculty prefix their Team names with their department (e.g. CCS-HR, CCS-Vacation, CCS-Payroll).


The University’s licensing agreement with Microsoft for Office365 offers 25TB quota for Teams, SharePoint Online and Project Online for the entire institution.  To strike a balance between distributing quota effectively and equitably while empowering departments to develop solutions to meet their specific needs, CCS will closely monitor usage and institute a ‘soft’ quota of 500GB for each SharePoint site collection, Team Site and Project PWA. 

If a site collection, Team site or PWA exceeds 450GB, CCS will notify the owner that they are approaching their limit.  Depending on available storage, owners may need to purchase additional storage at Microsoft’s current rate ($3/GB/year as of November 2017). CCS will work with owners if this situation arises.

eDiscovery  Electronic discovery or eDiscovery in Office 365 is used to make content stored within Office 365 searchable, such as Teams and SharePoint sites.  While the data stored within Teams are private, and only accessible to authorized users, users should be aware that data found through eDiscovery can be used in legal cases as evidence.  Please visit Microsoft for more information on how eDiscovery is applicable to Teams. 
Backups & Restores   In cases where a Team has been deleted and needs to be recovered, the only option is for CCS to submit a request to Microsoft.  Request to the CCS Help Centre must be submitted within 25 calendar days of deletion. 
Third-party App Requests  Requests for new third-party apps must be submitted to the CCS Help Centre along with a justification for the request. CCS will review the request to ensure it meets security policies, and determine if there are any unintended impacts to the service or other users.  Additional dialogue may be required if there are associated costs and support requirements. 

Visit U of G's Teams service catalog for more information.