First of all, you’re far from the only person asking this question. Microsoft Teams users all over the world have been longing for this feature to be added for some time – and the wait is nearly over. In March, Microsoft took to Twitter to confirm that Private Channels in Teams would be coming “later this year.”
However, with a lot of this year still left, we don’t yet know how long the wait will be for a personal, private channel. Here at Addin 365, one of our most frequently asked questions is “what can be done right now to create something akin to a genuinely private channel?”
So, here’s our advice on what you can do to privatise your channels in the meantime.
Create A New Team
Whenever you create a completely new team, you can immediately choose to apply private viewing to all team members. If you do this before creating your project channels, any unauthorised users will be prevented from joining the new team. This would be a good method for discussing secure information, or even planning a temporarily excluded Team member’s birthday bash!
Apply New Permissions
Alternatively, you can actually limit what certain Team members see or have access to, by tailoring member permissions – effectively creating your own permission model in the process. This can be achieved in the ‘Manage Team’ option under the Team’s Options menu. You can delete channels from already invited Team members from Office 365 Groups, as well as limit what individuals can do within the channel.
Utilise SharePoint Permissions
If it’s not necessarily your group chat that’s the issue, but the files you’re sharing that need to stay private, than it’s well within your power to block people from seeing them. As Teams files are stored in dedicated SharePoint Sites, using SharePoint permissions can keep them from being seen by the wrong people. Effectively, you have complete control over who can access every item in your document library at all times.
Give Members An Access Code
Again, using the main Teams menu, you can generate a unique Team code to give to every relevant member. Select the Options menu, then Manage Team, followed by Settings. You’ll see a Team Code option, and a way of generating a randomly-generated code to distribute to select Team members. Dish it out and remind them to keep it secure, and you’ve essentially got a private Teams channel.
Don’t Leave An Old Team Hanging
Finally, once your ‘new’ Team has run its course and all objectives of its creation have been met, make sure it doesn’t stay live for others to see. While you will always be able to access every Team you’ve ever created, you can temporarily or permanently send the entire channel into an archive. You can also restore an archived Team at any point in the future, should the same people and purpose need to combine again.
Here at Addin365, we will naturally be among the first to know when Teams does finally allow individual channels to be made private. For now, however, try any of the above workarounds and let us know how you get on. You can contact us at any time.