MS Teams Guideline

Background Information

Microsoft Teams, as part of the Office365 platform, was implemented in early 2020 with support tools provided by Information Technology Services (ITS). Microsoft, the host of the platform, has provided a variety of additional features and functionality since that time necessitating further guidance, parameters, and best practices for use.


  • MS Teams: the platform as a whole.
  • team: a single shared workspace created and owned by an individual to host a group.
  • Owner: the individual who created and/or added to provide administrative control/oversight of a team’s management.
  • Member: an individual added to participate in a team with no administrative control oversight of team management. 
  • Meeting: a synchronous call on the platform that allows interaction and engagement by all participants. 
  • Live event: a synchronous event where a select producer and group of presenters can broadcast their work to a widespread audience of attendees. Attendees have the ability to view the broadcast and post questions to a question-and-answer forum, yet they cannot interact or engage with the producer, presenters, or other attendees directly through any other means.   
  • Branding: any reference to SUNY Empire State College through name, text, images, symbols, fonts, emblems, logos, seals, or other audio/visual effects.
  • Archive: to save content that is no longer current yet needs to be saved for historical and/or reference purposes.

Guideline Statements

  1.  Users cannot use their SUNY Empire State College licensed account of MS Teams for personal or commercial use outside of SUNY Empire business. 
  2. While it is permitted to utilize MS Teams for video conferencing. The following activities shall be prohibited:
    1. Submission of graded assignments and quizzes.
    2. Storage of student records (as defined in the college’s “Record Retention Schedule").
  3. Any documents produced on MS Teams that are considered official college records in accordance with the college’s Record Retention Policy, shall be retained in the official location for that specific record, when applicable, by the official custodian.
  4. Users are subject to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) for retaining and sharing student education records when using the platform (eg. chat, meetings, team, etc...).
  5. Users should understand the “Terms of Use” that Microsoft publishes at the beginning of all recordings on SUNY Empire State College’s MS Teams instance are those they are accepting by staying on a call. 
  6. Each individual office, department, and/or group is responsible for ensuring that content shared and/or published is accessible on MS Teams. 
  7. Users for official college events are responsible for adhering to all branding guidelines set forth by the Office of Communications and Marketing, including and not limited to: the Branding Toolbox, Graphics Style Guide, Writing Style Guide, and Web Standards and Practices.
  8. Video recordings of Meetings and Live Events on MS Teams for college-wide publication needs to be archived on a college-supported platform (eg. LEARNscape; not a personal YouTube channel). 
  9. There should be two owners for each team for seamless transfer. Sole owners of an active team separating from SUNY Empire need to transfer ownership to an active member of the college and team prior to separation. Upon separation, former owners of the team are removed from this instance. If the sole owner has not transferred ownership, an incident ticket would need to be submitted to the IT Service Desk to have a new owner designated.
  10. Owners of a team will be notified by email if there is no activity (eg. a post, a file being uploaded, a tab being created, etc...) within a team after 365 days. The notification will provide further steps. The team will be permanently deleted from OneDrive and SharePoint if there is no activity within 90 days of the initial notification.  
  11. Content created by a user will be archived in compliance with Microsoft’s archival policy, content will only be removed prior if it’s requested under the “General Data Protection Regulations Privacy Policy.”    
  12. Guests of the college can be granted access to a team, meeting or Live Event for a college-related activity (ex. recruitment, coursework, residency, conference). Guest access are limited based on Microsoft’s set restrictions when compared to a full license when signing on using a SUNY Empire single sign-on. 
  13. Student users need to enter MS Teams using their provided SUNY Empire State Single-sign-on username and password to have full access and functionality (guest access provides limited access to files and functions within MS Teams by default). 
  14. Student groups that wish to create a team for communication and/or administrative purposes need to designate the faculty and/or staff advisor(s) as an owner of the team.
  15. Users can utilize a variety of Microsoft apps within MS Teams, yet they cannot independently add a new app that is not currently provided. Users that need to download and/or add a new app to MS Teams need to contact the IT Service Desk.

 Applicable Legislation and Regulations

  1. NYS Technology Law: Internet Security and Privacy Act 
  2. New York State Laws and Regulations Relevant to State Government Records 
  3. Digital Millennium Copyright Act 
  4. Executive Order No. 3: Promotion of  Access to Government Decision making 
  5. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

New York State Policies

  1. Accessibility of Web Based Information and Applications 
  2. NYS Guidelines for Internet Privacy Policy 
  3. Acceptable Use of Information Technology (IT) Assets 

SUNY Empire Policies

  1. College IT Policies 
  2. Academic Freedom (Faculty Handbook) (login required) 
  3. Limiting the Use of Student Social Security Numbers Procedures 
  4. Student Conduct Policy and Procedures
  5. Student Clubs and Organizations
  6. Bullying and Civility Standards in the Workplace
  7. Computer Use Statement Policy - Students
  8. Computer Use Statement Policy – Faculty and Staff
  9. General Data Protection Regulations Privacy Policy   
  10. Record Retention Policy
  11. Adherence to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 Policy