Email can be indefinitely recoverable with Office 365

Email can be indefinitely recoverable with Office 365

Ever hear from users who cleaned out their email only to discover later they’ve deleted something important? Not to worry. IT managers will soon have the option to make email and calendar items recoverable, no matter when they were deleted.

Currently Outlook 365 administrators can recover emails 30 days after they get deleted by an end user. After that time, the email becomes unrecoverable.  Microsoft’s new policy makes email in the Deleted Items folder accessible indefinitely, or for as long as determined by the email administrator.

If an end user takes the effort to empty the Deleted Items folder, though, those items will still be unrecoverable, Redmond clarified.

This policy change will arrive "over the next month" as an update for Office 365 subscribers, according to the company's announcement. Microsoft will write over the current default Messaging Records Management (MRM) policy for Office 365 account holders to reflect the new policy.

Organizations retaining a "Default MRM Policy" setting will get the new policy change. However, if organizations don’t want it, they can rename the setting and create a custom policy, specifying the email retention time period that's wanted from a drop-down list. Modifications to the Default MRM Policy can be performed by using the Exchange Admin Console or PowerShell.

Microsoft describes the shell path to modify the policy setting as follows: "Office 365 Admin > Exchange admin center > compliance management > retention policies." IT pros can then access the Default MRM Policy and modify it.

If an organization already has a custom MRM policy, the change Microsoft plans to push down in a month won't affect it, as long as it has been renamed from the "Default MRM Policy" name, according to Microsoft.

The policy change will only affect the "Deleted Items" folder. It won't affect the "Recoverable Items" folder, Microsoft's announcement clarified. Both primary and archive mailboxes will be affected by the new policy change. The "Litigation Hold" and "In-Place Hold" spaces won't be affected.

Microsoft's announcement didn't explain why the policy change was being made. However, Microsoft MVP Tony Redmond, in an article at Windows IT Pro, said that deleted emails that pass beyond the 30-day retention period currently become unrecoverable in Microsoft's Office 365 service under the current policy, and possibly that circumstance may have led to some customer complaints.

Redmond noted some scenarios where organizations may want to alter the Default MRM Policy to avoid Microsoft's new policy change. Some organizations may find the permanent retention of deleted emails to be problematic from a compliance perspective. Possibly, offline storage .OST performance could be affected if deleted emails pile up, he suggested, especially when using older Outlook clients.

This article originally appeared on Redmond, a sister site to GCN.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.


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