EXCHANGE ONLINE ARCHIVING AND HOLDS In Exchange Online, the default out of the box setup is for Outlook content to flow from deleted items to the Recoverable Deleted items folder. The Recoverable Deleted Items folder then purges these files after fourteen days. After the purge, there is no way to get these items back—even when they might be required for a lawsuit or as business evidence for a pricing dispute with a customer. The recommended approach is to put all mailboxes on a litigation hold known as an In-Place Hold in Office 365. This hold then protects that content that has been placed on hold for deletion. This hold can also be extended across the entire tenant to retain data from other sources such as OneDrive and SharePoint. In-Place Hold can be applied to any user with just a few clicks. This is done without indication to the end user. The Outlook interface does not change—messages can still be sent to Deleted Items, removed from Deleted Items, and purged from the Recover Deleted Items container. However, on the server side they are then stored in a Purged container until the In-Place hold is removed from the user. The messages will disappear from the end user’s view, but all messages are still searchable during a discovery request. On the Exchange Online platform, this would require the Exchange Plan 2 license, or the Office 365 E3, or E5 Suite. If kept on-premises, this requires the Exchange Enterprise CAL which is sold a-la-cart or as part of a suite. In the real world, most companies will choose to limit the timeframe of an In-Place Hold to a certain number of years. Most typical is five to seven years for Outlook-type items. Microsoft does not charge for data storage with these plans. So, customers can keep an unlimited amount of data per user when they have the appropriate license applied. Plus, a tremendous benefit is that the mailbox will continue to follow the retention strategy even after the license is removed due to a user termination, as long as the Office 365 tenant continues to be licensed properly. Additional In-Place Holds can be used to protect specific data, most frequently this is used to protect data in the event of a pending or proceeding legal issue. Exchange Online offers multi-mailbox search across the entire organization including the information that is being protected by an In-Place Hold. The latest release includes Role-based Access Control Groups (RBAC) so the legal team can be assigned permission to search for any information they need through their Outlook Web Access account without involving the IT staff. 5 6 To preserve all mailbox content, including deleted items and original versions of modified items, place a mailbox on Litigation Hold. When you do this, the user’s archive mailbox (if it’s enabled) is also placed on hold. Deleted and modified items are preserved for a specified period or until you remove the mailbox from Litigation Hold.