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Information Management in Microsoft 365 – Retention Labels

Retention labels in Microsoft 365 (M365) provide organisations with the ability to apply retention controls to documents through the solution interface. Unlike retention policies, when a retention label is published end users can view and apply retention labels themselves.

To understand how retention labels can be used to support your retention requirements, let’s look at how they can be configured. Retention labels can be set to keep content forever, start a disposition review, or dispose of content a certain period after the following retention triggers:

  • the content was created
  • the content was last modified
  • an event (we will take a look at event-based retention in a later blog)

Retention labels also have the configuration option of classifying items as ‘Records’ or ‘Regulatory Records’ once the label is applied. Once an item is declared as a record, certain restrictions are placed on actions that can be performed, such as editing record content.

Retention labels can be imported as a file plan. Please note that in our experience when importing from CSV there appears to be a 36-character limit per cell for the import. As such, if using the file plan import organisations may wish to leave Comments, Notes, Reviewer Email and Citation URL’s blank and manually add this information to labels after import. Event-based retention labels also need to be manually created.

In order to use retention labels, they must first be published to a retention label policy, which we will focus on in a future blog.

The following rules apply to published retention labels:

  • only one label can be applied to an item
  • if a label is manually assigned, it can be changed by end users (I.e. you cannot prevent people from modifying the label assigned)
  • if an auto-apply label is assigned, end users can apply a manual label instead
  • if a manual label has been assigned, an auto-apply label cannot replace it
  • if an item meets the conditions of multiple auto-apply labels, the label with the longest retention is applied

Disposition Reviews

A major benefit of using retention labels is the disposition review feature (only available to E5 licences with access to Advanced Information Governance). Where a Reviewer Email has been set on a retention label, once a record with that label applied passes its retention period the reviewed will receive an email notification asking to review disposal.

Roles and responsibilities

Pending dispositions can be viewed in the compliance centre, with Reviewers given the option to:

  • permanently dispose of the item
  • extend the retention period
  • apply a different retention label

Proof of disposition is maintained for 7 years, and is based on Unified Audit Log data.

Organisations however may find that there are gaps in metadata required to be captured for proof of defensible disposition.

In the next part of our series we will look at event-based retention in M365.

About the Author

Adelaide Copland has worked as an information specialist and CM/TRIM application administrator since 2014.  Adelaide has experience in Microsoft 365 implementations, process improvement, records training delivery, development of policies and procedures, strategy and establishing digitisation programs.

World Digital Preservation Day

World Digital Preservation Day

World Preservation Day 5/11/2020

Did you know that the first Thursday of November is celebrated as World Digital Preservation Day (WDPD).  WDPD allows preservation experts across various industries to come together and raise awareness of digital preservation initiatives and societal benefits of preservation.

The world in which we work today is largely digital. Digital information and records are growing exponentially every day, and appropriate strategies need to be developed and implemented to ensure appropriate records and information are preserved over time. As we live through the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s evident that evidence of worldwide organisational and social responses to the pandemic are likely to have ongoing historical, social and research value. So how do we ensure that relevant records and information are maintained and preserved for future generations?

In a past blog, we talked about digital preservation. In it we discussed what preservation means, its importance, and resources to support digital preservation programs and initiatives. The Digital Preservation Coalition act as champion of WDPD, and provide a plethora of resources to help organisations get their digital preservation journey underway. The Digital Preservation Handbook is a great starting point for organisations wanting to understand what preservation involves.

Before you get started it is important to understand:

  • the digital records and information assets your organisation owns
  • the repositories (i.e. systems) that house your records and information assets
  • retention requirements for digital records and information assets
  • organisational expertise and technical capacity to carry out digital preservation activities

From this, organisations can develop a digital asset register which can provide a clear and concise view of digital assets it owns. Having an understanding of organisational readiness will also help to inform preservation next steps, and whether external expertise is required to support your preservation journey.

If you’re looking to start your preservation journey and need some support the team at Recordkeeping Innovation can assist you. Learn more at http://www.records.com.au/

About the Author

Adelaide Copland has worked as an information specialist and CM/TRIM application administrator since 2014.  Adelaide has experience in Microsoft 365 implementations, process improvement, records training delivery, development of policies and procedures, strategy and establishing digitisation programs.