O365 Retention Policies: 3 Rules

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I’ve been learning a lot about Data Governance in O365 and the investments Microsoft is making to implement true retention across all O365 services (including Groups!). If you’re interested in learning more and have a couple of hours to spare, I’ve shared links to some excellent presentations relating to this from the Ignite 2016 conference at the end of this post.

I want to share an interesting tidbit I learned that applies to retention policies for preservation and deletion in O365. 

There are 3 overriding rules that determine when content is preserved or deleted if there are multiple policies applied that cover the same content. Here are the 3 rules as shared in the ‘Data Governance in O365’ session at Ignite:

  • RULE #1: Longest preservation wins
  • RULE #2: Shortest deletion wins
  • RULE #3: Explicit wins over implicit

According to Microsoft, these rules have been tested over many scenarios and will always preserve/delete content correctly.

Example #1:

  • Preservation Policy #1: “Content in site collection ‘X’ has a preservation policy of 4 years”
  • Preservation Policy #2: “Content across the entire tenant has a preservation policy of 3 years”
  • Result: Content in site collection’X’ would be preserved for 4 years

Example #2:

  • Deletion Policy #1: “Content across all site collections provisioned with the team site collection template will be deleted after 3 years”
  • Deletion Policy #2: “Content in team site collection ‘X’ will be deleted after 2 years”
  • Result: Content in team site collection’X’ will be deleted after 2 years

Example #3:

  • Explicit policy: “Content that contains the tag ‘Litware Inc.’ will be preserved for 4 years”
  • Implicit policy: “Content across the entire tenant has a preservation policy of 3 years”
  • Result: Any content across the tenant tagged with ‘Litware Inc.’ will be preserved for 4 years

Here are my recommendations for great sessions to watch from Ignite 2016 relating to Data Governance and specifically how this relates to Office 365 Groups:

Thanks for reading.


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