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Set retention rules

Retention rules enable your organization to control how long data is retained for eDiscovery purposes.

Before you set retention rules, we strongly recommend you read about how retention works.

WARNING: An improperly configured retention rule can cause the immediate and irreversible purging of data from user accounts. Use caution when creating or changing retention rules. We recommend that you test new rules on a small group of users before applying them to your entire organization.

Create a custom retention rule

Custom rules can be based on organizational units, date ranges, or specific search terms. Custom rules always override the default rule, and if multiple retention rules apply to a message or file, it is retained according to the rule with the longest retention coverage period.

To create custom retention rules:

  1. Sign in to Vault.
  2. In the left navigation, click Retention.
  3. Click Create Rule.
  4. Choose where to apply your rule: mail, Drive, or Groups.
  5. (Mail only) Choose an organizational unit from the drop-down list.
  6. (Drive only) Choose one of the following from the drop-down list:
    • Organizational unit—If the rule will apply to an organizational unit, check the Include results from Team Drives box if you want this rule apply to Team Drives associated with the chosen users.
    • All Team Drives—Apply the rule to all Team Drives in the domain. 
    • Specific Team Drive—If the rule will apply to a specific Team Drives, click Find Team Drives.
  7. (Groups only) Choose one of the following from the drop-down list:
    • Group Accounts—Apply the rule to individual groups.
    • All Groups—Apply the rule to all groups in the domain. 
  8. (Mail and Groups only) Choose what conditions must be met for messages to be covered by this rule:
    • Enter the sent date for messages subject to this rule. If you specify only a start date, the rule applies to all messages received after that date. If you specify only an end date, the rule applies to all messages received before that date.
    • Enter any terms that might appear in messages subject to this rule. You can also use search operators in this field.
      Note: Do not use wildcards (*) with retention rules.
    • Retention rules apply to draft messages by default. Check the box if you want this rule to exclude drafts.
  9. Choose how long to keep data:
    • Choose indefinitely to permanently retain data that matches the parameters of this rule. Click Save to create the retention rule. You're done!
    • Enter a number of days, from 1 to 36,500:
      • Mail and Groups—days from when the message was sent.
      • Drive—days from when the file was either created or last modified.
  10. Choose what to do with messages and files past the duration you selected:
    • Choose the first option to expunge just the messages and files that users have already deleted.
    • Choose the second option to expunge all messages and files. This includes messages and files that are in users’ inboxes and Drives. It also includes data that has already been deleted.
  11. Click Preview to display a list of messages or files that will be covered by this retention rule. Examine the list to verify that you've set the rule correctly. Make sure it does not permanently delete data that users may need.
    Vault immediately begins the process of purging data that exceeds the retention coverage period as soon as you submit a new rule. This can include data users expect to keep. Do not proceed to the next step until you’re sure the rule is configured correctly. 
  12. Depending on the type of rule you’re creating, you need to:
    • Click Save to create a retention rule that keeps messages and files indefinitely.
    • Click Continue to create a retention rule that expunges messages and files. Vault asks you to confirm you understand the effects of this retention rule. Check the boxes and click Confirm to create the rule.

Important notes

  • Email aliases in the Terms field—An email alias is an alternative email address that points to a primary email address. Custom retention rules don't automatically include email aliases. If you want to include email aliases, you must add them to the Terms field.
  • Renamed users—Custom retention rules aren't automatically modified when users are renamed. The retention rule continues to apply only to addresses that are explicitly in the Terms field of the rule. For example, if a rule applies to messages that include before@example.com and that user is renamed after@example.com, the retention rule applies only to messages sent to before@example.com.
  • Modifying a custom retention rule—You can modify a custom rule, but you must understand how that modification might impact retained data. Data is retained according to the most recent modification to the retention rule.

Set the default retention rule

The default retention rule applies to all messages and files that are not covered by a custom rule or a hold. This includes files on My Drive and in Team Drives.

To set the default retention rule for your organization:

  1. Sign in to Vault.
  2. In the left navigation, click Retention.
  3. Under Default retention rule, click Mail, Drive, or Groups.
  4. Check the Set a default retention rule box.
  5. Choose how long to keep messages or files:
    • Choose Indefinitely to permanently retain data. Click Save to create the default retention rule. You're done!
    • Enter a number of days from 1 to 36,500:
      • Mail and Groups—days from when the message was sent.
      • Drive—days from when the file was either created or last modified.
  6. Choose what to do with messages or files past the duration you selected:
    • Choose the first option to expunge just the messages or files that users have already deleted.
    • Choose the second option to expunge all messages or files. This includes messages that are in users’ inboxes and Drives. It also includes data that has already been deleted.
    Warning: Vault immediately begins the process of purging data that exceeds the default retention coverage period as soon as you submit this rule. This can include data users expect to keep. Do not proceed to the next step until you’re sure the rule is configured correctly. 
  7. Click Continue to create a retention rule that expunges data. Vault asks you to confirm you understand the effects of this retention rule. Check the boxes and click Confirm to create the rule.
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