Teams and Channels - Private Vs Public

Occasional Contributor


I'm interested in hearing from folks regarding how they've setup their Teams environment.  We are currently in beta/pilot stages and having a debate regarding pubic or private channels.  I've read MS's best practice, which is to only create private channels when necessary.


I currently have the creation of private channels turned off, but some folks in my group created a couple before I did that.  now we are debating the merits of each.  I'd very much be curious your thoughts and practices on this subject.


Current Team setup for my department

Team Name: Information Systems

     Channel: General (public)

     Channel: Network Team (public)

     Channel: Core Systems (private)

     Channel: Developers (private)

     Channel: Security Team (private)

     Channel: Supervisors (private)


The Supervisors channel makes sense to be private.  The Core Systems and Developers insist their channel should be private and think the Network team should be private too.  I feel since we are all one department and might be compelled to go and start up a discussion with a group from Core Systems, that we should be able to go in there and do so.  When they are looking for support from the Network team, they come into the Network channel. Ironically they still think it should be private and that we can all talk to each other in the General channel


I will continue to control the creation of private channels as I foresee a scenario where a subset of users could create a channel nobody would know anything about and could turn into a personnel issue - people talking about others, colluding, etc.  All without the knowledge of the department manager.


However, I need to come up with a standard for the organization.  When will we create private channels?  Should we generally be seeking to keep channels public?


fyi - most of our Groups will be private.  These Groups exist to support access to the Group SharePoint Sites, which is where the department document libraries exist.


Thanks for the feedback




7 Replies

@Bradley Wood 


Hi, in my experience there is no right or wrong with this essentially.  It's what you find works best for you as an organisation and what fulfils and internal policies or standards that you need to adhere to.


Microsoft recommend having Teams as open as possible in order to maximise the collaborative experience.  That's all well and good in theory, but in the real world you need to find what works best for you.


Looking at what you have got so far though, I think it looks good and makes sense.  :smile:

@Bradley Wood,


I'm not a big fan of private channel because of the overhead it creates (New sharePoint site) and some missing features like plan a meeting for a private channel. I think the only driver to get private channel is for confidential discussions. My definition of a team is people who works together... However, it makes sense to get some sensitive/admin documents not available to everyone in the team. The way I do it is to create a sub folder into a channel and change permissions on the folder in SharePoint.


This is how I see it.

How do you create a Public channel and keep the documents on the channel as view only? That is the really the only reason for the channel is to share the documents and one place for everyone to go to access them.

Hi @Matcole  It would seem to me that one could make the documents in the private channel read-only at the document level, not the Teams level.  I admit that I haven't done this - all of the docs I access can be edited by members of the private channel.  Just a thought.


How do you create a Public channel and keep the documents on the channel as view only?
Do you mean they would be read/write for members and read-only for everyone else in the org?

Yes, everyone in the org would have read only access. And if we make the channel Public, users can access the sharepoint site without us having to grant them access individually? And will they be able to add the Team channel to their list of channels and their access to the files will stay the same?


Just to clarify: There are no public channel, just standard & private channels and private & public teams.


If your Team is a private Team and you want everyone in the organization to have read-only access to the SharePoint related site, you just need to add "Everyone except external users" in the site permissions with read-only rights. Users who are not members of the Team won't obvioulsy be able to go into this team channels to access the files. However they can access these files in different ways:

1) From the SharePoint related site

2) From one of their team by adding a SharePoint Document Library Tab referencing the Document Library of the SharePoint site (or even the website tab with the document library URL)

3) From one of their team by adding a cloud storage in the "Files" tab in one of their channels referencing the Document Library of the SharePoint site


Note: To avoid issues, add "Everyone except external users" at the site root permissions. Do not add it into the SharePoint Visitors Group as there is a background job that removes "Everyone except external users" from the SharePoint Visitors Group on SP site based on private M365 groups. This was the case before and it is unclear if this job is still running now....