Set retention rules

Retention rules enable your organization to control how long email and chat messages are 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 messages from user mailboxes. 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.
Note: Currently, you cannot set retention rules for files in Google Drive. Drive data that a user deletes from Trash is not retained.

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, the message is retained according to the rule with the longest retention coverage period.

To create custom retention rules to retain specific messages:

  1. Sign in to Vault.

  2. In the left navigation, click Retention.

  3. Click Add Rule.

  4. Which organizational unit should this rule apply to? Choose one from the drop-down list, or leave it blank to apply the rule to the entire organization. 

  5. What conditions should be met for a message 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.

    • Retention rules apply to draft messages by default. Check the box if you want this rule to exclude drafts.

  6. After a message has been received, how long should it be covered by this retention rule?

    • Choose indefinitely to permanently retain messages that match the parameters of this rule.

    • Enter a number of days if you want messages to be expunged after the retention coverage period expires. The maximum number of days to retain messages is 36,500.

  7. What should happen to a messages after its retention coverage expires?

    • Choose the first option to expunge the message only if it has been delted by the user.
    • Choose the second option to expunge the message even if it is presently in the user's mailbox. If you choose this option, Vault asks you to confirm your decision to remove messages from user mailboxes.
  8. Click Preview to display a list of messages that match the retention parameters that you set. Examine the list to verify that you've set the rule correctly. Make sure it does not permanently delete messages that users may need.

  9. Vault immediately begins purging messages that exceed the retention coverage period as soon as you submit a new rule. This can include messages users expect to keep. Do not proceed to the next step until you’re sure the rule is configured correctly.
  10. Click Save to implement your new retention 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 messages. Messages are retained according to the most recent modification to the retention rule.

Set the default retention rule

The default retention rule applies to all messages that are not covered by a custom rule or a hold.

To set the default retention rule for your organization:

  1. Sign in to Vault.

  2. In the left navigation,  click Retention.

  3. Click Modify default retention rule.

  4. Do you want to set a default retention rule?

    • No, I don't want to set a default retention rule. Messages aren’t retained in Vault unless a custom rule or hold applies. Your organization's default retention rule is automatically set to this option until a Vault administrator changes it.

    • Yes, I want to set up a default retention rule to cover messages. Choose this option if you want to implement a retention rule for messages that aren’t covered by custom rules or holds.

  5. After a message has been received, how long should it be covered by this retention rule?

    • Choose Indefinitely to permanently retain messages that match the parameters of this rule.

    • Enter a number of days if you want messages to be expunged after the retention coverage period expires. The maximum number of days to retain messages is 36,500.

  6. What should happen to a message after its retention coverage expires?

    • Choose the first option to expunge the message only if it has been deleted by the user.
    • Choose the second option to expunge the message even if it is presently in a user’s mailbox. If you choose this option, Vault asks you to confirm your decision to remove messages from user mailboxes.
    Warning: Vault immediately begins purging messages that exceed the default retention coverage period as soon as you submit this rule. This can include messages users expect to keep. Do not proceed to the next step until you’re sure the rule is configured correctly.
  7. Click Save to implement your new default retention rule.

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