Exchange 2010 Archiving: Retention Management

Retention management is an important feature of email archiving and it serves two purposes. It:

  • Ensures that email is retained
  • Manages the length of time the email is kept, before it is automatically deleted

In other words, retention management manages the email life cycle. Retention is a requirement for industries such as financial services, health science, and public government. It's also beneficial for any organization that must produce email, say for legal discovery or a freedom of information request.

Exchange 2007 introduced limited retention management tools, and had correspondingly limited success. Exchange 2007 managed the expiration of email folder contents, but it failed to prevent users from deleting email. Thus, it allowed users to circumvent an email retention policy. Exchange 2010 has fixed this major flaw with a new deleted folder (dumpster) design. Exchange 2010 has retention settings for mailbox folders and dumpster. The retention period is set for a time period (days) or indefinitely for a legal hold.

Compared with third-party archiving solutions, the retention management built into Exchange 2010 is improved, but a fundamental difference remains. Exchange 2010 manages email in a place where it can be altered by users. A third-party archiving solution manages a copy of email in its archive where the email content is secure and unalterable. This is an important difference for industries with strict compliance rules.

... Bob Spurzem

In addition to his role as Ferris analyst, Bob is director of product marketing at Permabit, which offers a grid–based disk storage system.

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