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Retention policies not working

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Occasional Contributor

On 6/19/18 I created a retention policy in our O365 Security & Compliance Center.

The policy applies to Teams chat, including all users.

Retention setting is "Don't retain content, but delete it if it's older than 1 month".

The policy status is "On (Success)".

 

The earliest chat I see on my laptop is from 5/5/17, more than 13 months ago. I see the same old messages no matter where I sign in, other PC's, mobile app, etc.

 

Is there something I'm missing that's preventing the retention policies from working?

 

Thank you.

 

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27 Replies
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Out of curiosity, was the chat with another Teams user, or a Skype for Business user?

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With another Teams user.

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Interesting. Yeah, at least with the information that we have from this post, everything appears to be in order. If it were me, I'd likely be putting in a support ticket through the O365 Admin Center portal. Then again, I am not super well-versed in this particular area, and so it is possible that I am also overlooking something as well. @Ansuman Acharya, do you know if there is anything else that should have to be done to make a Retention Policy go into effect?

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The retention policies pertain to retention in your Exchange mailbox retention, not the actual service chat history to my understanding. If you were to e-discovery search for chats, you wouldn't find anything older than a month. But your own chat access will still be available via the Teams service / UI.
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Everything I have read says otherwise. For example:

 

"When MFA removes Teams compliance records from mailboxes based on a policy setting (for instance, an item expires after six months), those removals ripple back through the substrate to Teams, which removes the items from the chat service. Eventually, as clients synchronize with Teams, the items disappear from local caches and the retention cycle completes." (https://www.petri.com/teams-supports-office-365-retention-policies)

 

 

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Yep, unless something has changed since this post was written, this TechCommunity Blog Post says the same: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Microsoft-Teams-Blog/Retention-policies-for-Microsoft-Teams/b....

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Ahh. I've never seen it work that way, so good to know that it should now? :p Will be keeping an eye on this thread.  

 

@Tony Redmond is actually  a frequent visitor to the community so maybe he might be able to chip in here :). 

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I'm seeing the same results with a 30 day chat deletion policy applied to my account.

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Three things must happen for Teams retention to be effective.

1. The Exchange MFA processes the group mailboxes and personal mailboxes where the compliance records are stored and removes those that exceed the retention period. MFA processes mailboxes every seven days (its SLA).

2. The deletions are synchronized to the Teams data service and the corresponding records are removed there.

3. The removals from Teams are synchronized to clients.

 

All of this can take a little time... The Teams PG are working to improve this. if it's not happening for you, file a support call and let the support engineers poke around the background of your tenant to see what's happening.

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Best Response confirmed by Erik Maurer (Occasional Contributor)
Solution

I ended up opening a support case and here are the findings:

  1. When you create a Teams retention policy, it will only apply to data that is created from that point forward. Since I created the policies on 6/19/18 none of the chats prior to that date will ever be automatically deleted by the policy. This is bad news.
  2. The functionality of the Teams retention policy relies partially on the Exchange Managed Folder Assistant (which I knew previously). However, according to MS Support you have to manually run the Start-ManagedFolderAssistant command in Exchange Online in order for the Teams retention policies to kick in. This is worse news.

This is not the answer I wanted but I guess it's what I'm stuck with.

 

Thanks to all who participated.

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I had a feeling number 1 was the case but wasn't 100% sure, now I know, thanks for reporting back :P.
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I will check the assertion that the messages prior to the introduction of the policy are not covered by the retention. That seems odd to me because it is not how the Exchange Managed Folder Assistant works with mailbox items. But we shall see.

 

As to having to run the MFA manually with PowerShell, I think that's wrong. MFA runs on a workcycle basis, which means that it is scheduled to process every mailbox in a tenant once weekly. You shouldn't have to kick it off manually. I never did...

 

TR

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I went and ask the Teams development group about the statements made by support. Both are incorrect.

 

1. Processing of policy is NOT based on date on which policy was created. It is based on age of items in the EXO mailbox.

2. You only have to run Start-ManagedFolderAssistant if the mailbox is <10 MB in size. Otherwise ELC runs automatically in the tenant and covers all mailboxes approximately once a day and takes action on expired items (including Teams items if Teams retention policies were setup).

 

This is what I expected. The Managed Folder Assistant processes all mail items in an Exchange mailbox based on their creation date, and the compliance records created by Teams are mail items. Also, the MFA does not process mailboxes less than 10 MB because it's unlikely that the assistant will find any work that needs to be done.

 

If you can post the support incident number here, I will pass it on and I am sure the support team will relook at their advice.

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Ticket #:10920458

If your first statement is correct then the retention policies still aren't working properly because I have chats going back to 2017 and a retention policy to delete chats older than 30 days.

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"My statement" came from the dev group. I've let them know what you report. And now we leave this in the tender hands of support because attempting to debug an Office 365 issue via a forum like this is an exercise in self-torture.

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Just checking in to see what came of this.  @Erik Maurer

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Our company has the same issue... Are there any updates?
Thanks!
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Nothing to report.  Support is giving me the run around and having me test things.  I'm being told it can take up to 90 days for the chat messages to actually be removed from the local Teams client.  However, I'm not seeing that happen.  The test mailbox is on legal hold so that is throwing in another variable.

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I'd like to add onto this conversation that we are experiencing this as well.  Thus far:

 

Verified retention policy was created correctly

Verified policy is in place via powershell (both Exchange Online and Security / Compliance)

Have waited the 30 day waiting period two times over

Old content still remains

 

We have an ongoing issue, but at the moment the general feeling I receive is that the techs don't know how to fix it, and are getting word back from higher ups to just say "well, make a change and wait another 30 days" to kick the can down the road.  I am looking forward to being disproven.