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Microsoft

Before taking a journey through the lifecycle of an item in Sharepoint, I recommend reading the following Microsoft Docs covering retention in M365. These docs will give you the requisite knowledge of the retention features in M365 before we dive a bit deeper here.

 

 

Now that you have consumed the requisite knowledge, you may still find yourself asking, "What is the difference between a retention label and a retention policy?"

 

Let’s take a step back to explain a few gotchas first:

 

  1. Labels are applied at the item level (folder, document, or email) whereas retention policies are applied at a container level (mailbox or site).
  2. All retention policies contain at least one retention rule. The rule defines how long an item is retained and/or when it is deleted. You will notice that when you create a retention policy, the associated retention rule is automatically created.
  3. A retention policy defines where the rule(s) are applied.

 

A retention label is simply a retention rule with a few extra features:

  • You have can trigger a disposition at the end of the retention period
  • You can declare the item as a record or regulatory record
  • The enforcement point can be based on an event or when the label was applied

label rule.png

 

A label policy is simply a retention policy with a few extra features:

policy.png

 

Now that you understand the difference between a retention label and a retention policy, our team is ready to take you through a visual representation of the different containers in which an item may reside throughout its lifecycle in SharePoint. The scenarios will show what actions are taken on the item based on each potential retention scenario. 

 

We already know that retention takes precedence over deletion and that the longest retention period always wins. What happens if I have a 2-year delete policy applied to a site alongside an item that has a 3-year retention label? What happens if I apply a 3-year delete label to an item that resides in a site with a 10-year retention policy? While the principles of retention will always be your north star, it can help to have some visual guidance to understand where these items move and when.

 

For the scenarios below, the Retention Policy (Site level) and the Retention Label (item level) are both configured based on the items creation to Retain and then Delete:

 

  • The Retention Label (item level) is configured to retain for 3 years and then delete
  • The Retention Policy (site level) is configured to retain for 10 years and then delete
  • The Deletion policy (site level) is configured to delete after 2 years

*NOTE: The Recycle Bin is not indexed and therefore unavailable for searching. As a result, an eDiscovery search cannot find any Recycle Bin content on which to place a hold.

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Scenario 1: End-user takes NO action on the item 

 

Example #1 

Policies or Labels: NONE 

example 1.pngActions: The item remains in place.

 

Example #2 

Policies or Labels: Deletion Policy in Place 

example 2.png

 

Actions: The deletion policy will delete the item 2 years after creation.

 

Example #3 

Policies or Labels: Retention Policy in Place 

example 3.pngActions: The item will be deleted 10 years after creation.

 

Example #4 

Policies or Labels: Retention Label in Place 

example 4.1.pngActions: The item will be deleted 3 years after creation.

 

Example #5 

Policies or Labels: Retention Policy in PlaceDeletion Policy in Place 

1.5.png

Actions: The item will be deleted after 2 years due to the deletion policy.  The retention policy still in effect and a copy of item will be retained in the PHL for the remainder of the 10 years.

 

Example #6 

Policies or Labels: Retention Label in Place + Deletion Policy in Place 

eample 6.1.png

Actions: The retention label prevents the deletion policy from deleting the item. The item will only be deleted at the end of the label retention duration after 3 years.

 

Example #7 

Policies or Labels: Retention Label in Place + Retention Policy in PlaceDeletion Policy in Place 

example 7.1.png

Actions: The retention label prevents the deletion policy from deleting the item. The item will only be deleted at the end of the label retention duration after 3 years.

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Scenario 2 – User takes no action on item but empties recycle bin. This triggers a move from first stage recycle bin to second stage recycle bin.

 

Example #1 

Policies or Labels: NONE 

2.1.pngActions: There is no action taken on the item.

 

Example #2 

Policies or Labels: Deletion Policy in Place 

2.2.png

Actions: The item will be deleted after 2 years due to the deletion policy.   

 

Example #3 

Policies or Labels: Retention Policy in Place 

2.3.png

 Actions: The item will be deleted 10 years after creation.

 

Example #4 

Policies or Labels: Retention Label in Place 

2.4.png

Actions: The item will only be deleted at the end of the label retention duration after 3 years.

 

Example #5 

Policies or Labels: Retention Policy in PlaceDeletion Policy in Place 

2.5.png

Actions: The item is deleted after 2 years. After deletion, the retention policy still in effect and will retain a copy of the item in the PHL for the remainder of the 10 years.

 

Example #6 

Policies or Labels: Retention Label in Place + Deletion Policy in Place 

2.6.pngActions: The retention label prevents the deletion policy from deleting the item. The item will only be deleted at the end of the label retention duration after 3 years.  

 

Example #7 

Policies or Labels: Retention Label in Place + Retention Policy in Place + Deletion Policy in Place 

2.7.png

Actions: The retention label prevents the deletion policy from deleting the item. The item will only be deleted at the end of the label retention duration after 3 years. Upon deletion, the retention policy is still in effect and will retain a copy of the item in the PHL for the remainder of the 10 years.

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Scenario 3 - User deletes item in first 2 years and does not empty the recycle bin 

 

Example #1 

Policies or Labels: NONE 

3.1.png

Actions: The end-user deletes item from list or library with no policies in place. Item moves to 1st stage recycle bin.

 

Example #2 

Policies or Labels: Deletion Policy in Place 

3.2.png

Actions: The deletion policy has no impact. The item was deleted before the deletion policy could take action.

 

Example #3 

Policies or Labels: Retention Policy in Place 

3.3.pngActions: The retention policy is in effect and will retain a copy of item in the PHL for the remainder of the 10 years.

 

Example #4 

Policies or Labels: Retention Label in Place 

3.4.png

Actions: The end-user is prevented from deleting the item due to the label. The item will only be deleted at the end of the label retention duration of 3 years.

 

Example #5 

Policies or Labels: Retention Policy in PlaceDeletion Policy in Place 

3.5.png

Actions: The deletion policy has no impact here as the end-user deleted the item before 2 years. The retention policy still in effect and will retain a copy of item in the PHL for the remainder of the 10 years.

 

Example #6 

Policies or Labels: Retention Label in Place + Deletion Policy in Place 

3.6.png

Actions: The retention label prevents both the end-user and deletion policy from deleting the item. The item will only be deleted at the end of the label retention duration of 3 years.  

 

Example #7 

Policies or Labels: Retention Label in Place + Retention Policy in placeDeletion Policy in Place 

3.7.png

Actions: The retention label prevents both the end-user and deletion policy from deleting the item. The item will only be deleted at the end of the label retention duration of 3 years.  The retention policy still in effect and will retain a copy of the item in the PHL for the remainder of the 10 years.

 

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Scenario 4 – User deletes item within the first 2 years and does empty recycle bin. This triggers move from the first stage recycle bin to second stage recycle bin.

 

Example #1 

Policies or Labels: NONE 

4.1.png

 Actions: User deletes item from list or library with no policies in place.

 

Example #2 

Policies or Labels: Deletion Policy in Place 

4.2.png

Actions: The deletion policy has no impact here. The item was deleted by the end-user. 

 

Example #3 

Policies or Labels: Retention Policy in Place 

4.3.png

Actions: User deletes the original copy. The retention policy still in effect and will retain a copy of the item in the PHL for the remainder of the 10 years.

 

Example #4 

Policies or Labels: Retention Label in Place  

4.4.png

Actions: User deletion is prevented by label. The item will only be deleted at the end of the label retention duration of 3 years.  

 

Example #5 

Policies or Labels: Retention Policy in PlaceDeletion Policy in Place 

4.5.png

Actions: The deletion policy has no impact here. The retention policy still in effect and will retain a copy of item in the PHL for the remainder of the 10 years.

 

Example #6 

Policies or Labels: Retention Label in Place + Deletion Policy in Place 

4.6.png

Actions: The retention label prevents both the end-user and deletion policy from deleting the item. The item will only be deleted at the end of the label retention duration of 3 years.  

 

Example #7 

Policies or Labels: Retention Label in Place + Retention Policy in placeDeletion Policy in Place 

4.7.png

Actions: The retention label prevents both the end-user and the deletion policy from deleting the item. The item will only be deleted at the end of the label retention duration after 3 years. Upon deletion, the retention policy still in effect and will retain the item in the PHL for the remainder of the 10 years.

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@Stefanie_Bier and Ryan Sturm (@SnCadvct4all) of the M365 MIP and Compliance CxE team!