The idea of this blog post was borne from the “firehose” of questions I receive relating to retention policies thru my blog, social media, and from customers I work with in the Security & Compliance space. In the spirit of community and sharing, this post is my running list of common questions I’ve received over the recent past on Retention Policies in SharePoint and OneDrive and my answers.
If you have Retention Policy questions not listed here, let me know! If it makes the cut, I’ll add it to the list. 🙂
The questions in no particular order…
Q: What content is retained by a Retention policy on a SharePoint site?
Answer: documents (all file types) from all libraries on a site, list items (including attachments), calendar items, site pages
Q: Does content deleted on a site protected by a Retention policy go into the recycle bin?
Answer: Yes. Content will automatically go into the SharePoint site’s recycle bin and will follow normal Recycle bin processing from that point. Content stored in the recycle bin counts toward your site’s storage quota. Due to the retention policy, the deleted content will also go into the Preservation Hold Library on the site.
Q: When does content retained in the Preservation Hold Library (PHL) get deleted?
Answer: This is controlled by a periodic back-end timer job whose schedule you have no insight into. If the retention period has elapsed, any items in the PHL will be automatically moved to the second-stage recycle bin (not visible to anyone but a site collection admin) where they will be permanently deleted after 93 days. (**This is a recent change as it used to be permanently deleted from the PHL and not go into any recycle bin)
Q: What is the best way to find content being retained by a Retention policy?
Answer: Content Search (and eDiscovery search) are the Compliance Admin tools to help you verify what’s being retained and to satisfy any regulatory requests/legal holds your organization may have.
Q: Is content searchable in the Preservation Hold library from the SharePoint front-end search?
Answer: Yes, but only by a site collection administrator. Search results will include content stored in the Preservation Hold library since a Site Collection Administrator has access to the library. In a user’s OneDrive, content in the PHL doesn’t appear in search results from a search done from SharePoint or OneDrive. Note: a Group Owner is also a site collection administrator, however content from the PHL doesn’t appear in search results for them. (a good thing)
Q: Can I use the Preservation Hold library as a backup?
Answer: No. This is not a point-in-time snapshot of a site’s content, but a log of all changes and deletions made to content across the site.
Q: Does space consumed by the Preservation Hold library count toward my Site Collection storage quota?
Answer: Yes. This is included in the storage consumed by the Site Collection it’s in. This is something you must take into consideration as long-range retention policies (which many are) can consume a significant amount of site collection space over time.
Q: Can I have a Disposition Review on content deletion when it’s under a Retention Policy?
Answer: No. A Disposition Review is only allowed on content retained via a Retention label (published by a Label Policy). Content deleted via a Retention policy will automatically go to the second-stage recycle bin for 93 days and will then be permanently deleted.
Q: Can I have a Retention label and a Retention Policy published to the same location?
Answer: Yes. On the same piece of content, the Retention label will apply over a Retention policy because a Label is considered an explicit retention and it takes precedence over an implicit retention (Retention Policy).
Q: When a Retention Policy is published to a Microsoft Teams channel messages, does it apply to both standard and private channels within the Team?
Answer: No. Not yet. Only standard channel posts are included when you publish the retention policy to the Microsoft Team. The content for a standard channel is retained in the Team’s Group mailbox recoverable items partition.
Q: When a Retention Policy is published to a Microsoft Teams SharePoint site, does it apply to both standard and private channel files within the Team?
Answer: No. You need to specify multiple SharePoint sites for the retention policy:
- The main SharePoint site backing the Microsoft Teams to include all standard channel content stored in SharePoint.
- The SharePoint site URL for EACH private channel’s site collection to include each private channel’s content stored in SharePoint.
Q: If a Retention Policy has been configured to retain and ‘Do Nothing’, what happens to content in the PHL after the retention period?
Answer: The back-end timer job will delete the content out of the PHL during it’s clean-up process.
Keep the questions coming… 🙂