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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 Create Rule.

  4. Choose an organizational unit from the drop-down list. 

  5. 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.
  6. Choose how long to keep messages:

    • Choose indefinitely to permanently retain messages that match the parameters of this rule.
    • Enter a number of days from when the message was sent if you want them to be expunged after the retention coverage period expires. The maximum number of days to retain messages is 36,500.
  7. Choose what to do with messages past the duration you selected:

    • Choose the first option to expunge just the messages that users have already deleted.
    • Choose the second option to expunge all messages. This includes messages that are in users’ inboxes and messages that have already been deleted.
  8. Click Preview to display a list of messages 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 messages that users may need.

    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. It can take up to 48 hours for all expired messages to be removed. 
  9. Depending on the type of rule you’re creating, you need to:

    • Click Save to create a retention rule that keeps messages indefinitely.

    • Click Continue to create a retention rule that expunges messages. 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 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. Under Default retention rule, click Mail.

  4. Check the Set a default retention rule box.
  5. Choose how long to keep messages:

    • Choose Indefinitely to permanently retain messages. Click Save to create the default retention rule.
    • Enter a number of days from when the message was sent if you want them to be expunged after the retention coverage period expires. The maximum number of days to retain messages is 36,500.
  6. Choose what to do with messages past the duration you selected:
    • Choose the first option to expunge just the messages that users have already deleted.
    • Choose the second option to expunge all messages. This includes messages that are in users’ inboxes and messages that have already been deleted.
    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. It can take up to 48 hours for all expired messages to be removed. 
  7. Click Continue to create a retention rule that expunges messages. 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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