Being an Office 365 admin is a role of many responsibilities as they oversee handling other user’s data. The heavy task of deletion, retention and archiving of data also relies on their shoulders. However, it can be simplified by customizing the policies according to the needs of their organization. Admins can create a few archiving and deletion policies known as MRM (Messaging Retention Management) which are applied on the user’s mailbox and capable of automatically moving email messages from the primary mailbox to the archive folder and eventually delete them once its purpose is served. A retention tag is also assigned to a particular folder or message and that decides the entire lifecycle of that message, from the time it will stay in the primary mailbox to its deletion or transfer to archive mailbox after its retention age has expired. In here, the administrator must mention all the details of the items which are to be moved.
Enable the archive mailbox for each user in the organization so that the retention tag will find it easier to move the objects in it. Also, the user can also archive information manually. It allows more storage space for the user’s data.
Create user-defined retention tags to handle the content. These are custom tags that a user assigns to a specific message of the mailbox.
Setting up of MRM policy and Retention tag is a detailed process. But before we proceed to that, these are certain pre-requirements which are to be kept in mind-
To begin with, ensure each user has an enabled archive mailbox so that the messages with the retention tag ‘Move to archive’ can perform the task uninterruptedly. These are the steps to be followed:
We are going to create three types of retention tags for the new retention (Archive and Deletion) policy in this step. Let us assign a common name (as per your choice) for these retention tags. Here, we are using Kernel.
This tag will automatically move items older than 3 years to Archive mailboxes. To create the custom tag, just follow the steps:
This tag will permanently delete items after 7 years. To create a custom retention tag, perform the steps:
This tag will automatically delete folder items after 5 years. It also provides a recovery period in which the user can recover those items using the Recover Deleted Items feature.
When you create an account in Office 365, a Default MRM Policy is created. You have to create a new retention policy and replace it with the Default MRM policy. First you should know about retention policy then creating a new retention policy, the user has to assign the created retention tags to it. Let us see how to create the retention policy and add retention tags to it.
After the selection, click add option to add the tags. Click OK to save the Retention tags.
This step requires assigning a new retention policy to the user mailboxes of the Office 365 account. Perform the steps below to do this:
Hence the new Retention Policy is assigned to all the selected user mailboxes. To confirm, go to the Mailboxes page, select the mailbox, and click Edit and then on the Mailbox features option where you can confirm the assigned retention policy.
We have seen how to set up an Archive and Deletion Policy for Office 365 mailboxes. It may take 7 days for new retention policies to be applied to user mailboxes in Office 365. However, you can force this using the cmdlet: Start-ManagedFolderAssistant in Exchange Online PowerShell cmdlet.
To do this, execute the following command.
$UserCredential = Get-Credential
Session = New-PSSession –ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange –ConnectionUri https://outlook.office365.com/powershell-liveid/ -Credential $UserCredential –Authentication Basic -AllowRedirectionThen, run this command:
Import-PSSession $SessionTo verify Exchange Online connection, run this command to get all mailboxes from your specified Office 365 account:
Get-mailbox -resultsize unlimited
$Mailboxes.Identity | Start-ManagedFolderAssistant
Users are provided with a detailed manual procedure for assigning Archive and Deletion Policy for Office 365 mailboxes. It may take 7 days for the policy to come into effect. However, you can implement it forcefully (by starting Managed Folder Assistant using Windows PowerShell cmdlets) to apply retention policy immediately to the Office 365 mailboxes.
Archiving and retention features of Office 365 are mainly for specific items. You shouldn’t be solely dependent on them since they are not suitable for the backup of the entire Office 365 data. However, many professional tools allow complete and accurate Office 365 backup, including mailboxes, public folders, and archive mailboxes and saves them into the user’s preferred output format. It acts as a precautionary step which must be taken for the security of all your essential data. Also, it supports the all Office 365 backup plans.
Custom archive and deletion policies in Office 365 helps in the better management of data especially since it is specific to your own organization. These policies can be created by a global administrator and applied using the Exchange admin center and Exchange Management Shell. It is a lengthy procedure which involves a lot of steps but for your ease, all those have been discussed in detail above. However, if you need a comprehensive backup of Office 365 data, you need professional Office 365 Backup and Restore tool.
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