Retention in the Office 365 Security & Compliance Center

Retention allows you to manage the lifecycle of content in Office 365 such as email and documents by keeping the content you need and then removing the content after it’s no longer required.

Manage retention

Here are links to topics that will help you learn about retention features.



Retention tags and retention policies

Retention policies allow you to manage email lifecycle by:

  • Archiving messages older than a specified period

  • Removing messages older than a specified period

Retention tags are used to apply retention settings to messages and folders. A retention policy is a group of retention tags that can be applied to a mailbox.

Create a Retention Policy

Learn how to create a Retention Policy.

Apply a retention policy to mailboxes

Learn how to apply a Retention Policy to one or more mailboxes.

Overview of document deletion policies

With a document deletion policy, you can proactively reduce risk by deleting documents in a site after a specific period of time. You can enforce a single mandatory policy on all site collections created from the same site collection template, such as the OneDrive for Business template, or you can allow site owners to choose or opt out from several policies that you centrally create and manage.

Overview of preservation policies

With a preservation policy, you can comply with industry regulations or internal policies by preserving content across a range of mailboxes, sites, and public folders that you select. The policy can preserve the content indefinitely, until you remove the policy, or for a specific period of time, such as a number of days, months, or years. The preservation policy can also specify a date range and keywords, so that you can narrow down the content that’s preserved.

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