The task of deletion, retention and archiving is a crucial one for an Office 365 administrator. However, it can be simplified by applying certain archiving and deletion policies. These policies are capable to perform an automatic action of moving the emails from the mailbox to either the archive or the Deleted items folder instantly. These are referred as retention policies, and they trigger the action only after a certain period which are called retention tags. In here, the administrator must mention all the details of the items which are to be moved. These tags are attached to specific messages or folder of the user’s mailbox since they keep a track of the timeline of all the selected items. Once it has expired, it moves them to the archive mailbox or deletes it permanently.
The tasks that the administrator needs to perform for policy creation are:
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, if the user archives any information, then it comes in the archive mailbox. It also increases mailbox storage.
Create user-defined retention tags to handle the content. These are custom tags that a user assigns to a specific message of the mailbox.
To begin with, ensure each user has an archive mailbox and now, we are going to enable it by executing the following steps:
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. After 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. Also, it supports the backup of all Office 365 plans.
Archiving and deletion policies in Office 365 helps in the better management of Office 365 data. These policies can be applied using the Exhange admin center and Exchange Management Shell. However, if you need a comprehensive backup of Office 365 data, you need professional Backup and Restore Office 365 tool.
A simple tool to Backup Exchange/Office 365 mailboxes to PST & Restore them