Working in Microsoft 365 with Sensitive or Highly Sensitive Data


This article describes:



When working with sensitive or highly sensitive data, files and documents containing the information must remain in the M365 environment. You may only download or save a file to your local system if your local system meets the high-risk data classification controls found at this Virginia Tech Standard for High Risk Digital Data Protection. To learn how to disable local caching of documents to OneDrive, please see this Knowledge Base article.

  1. Create a Microsoft Team for the members of your project
    • All transactions within Team are encrypted in rest and in transit
    • Approved non-VT project members may be invited as guests to your Microsoft Team even if they do not have an M365 license

  2.  Communicate with members of the project using the Microsoft Teams channel posts feature
    • Using Team channel posts allow members to have conversations on specific files and share documents with each other without needing to email documents or copy and paste links
    • Teams also has a mobile app to allow members to participate in conversations when they are away from their local system

  3. Store, share, and collaborate on files through the Files section of Microsoft Teams
    • All members of the Team will automatically have access to all files uploaded to the team. If you need to exclude some team members from certain resources, you can create a “private” channel within a Microsoft Team to limit access to a subset of members that you identify when setting up the “private” channel.
    • If you need to share a specific file with an approved user outside of the team, you can use the Share feature when editing a document to specifically email a link to the Virginia Tech or non-Virginia Tech user so he or she can read and comment on the document securely
    • Notify members when you want them to review a document by clicking the document in Teams, then start a conversation on the document, and then @mention the individual(s), channel, or team that you want to review it


  1. If you need to meet online, use the built-in Microsoft Teams functionality
    • Instantly launch or schedule online meetings from any channel and all members will see the meeting and be able to join if needed
    • Record your online meetings and the video of the meeting will be automatically posted to the channel where the meeting was conducted

Top of page

Other Permitted Actions

Top of page

Actions Not Permitted

Before taking any of the following actions, your local system must meet the high-risk data classification controls found at this Virginia Tech Standard for High Risk Digital Data Protection


Top of page