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It’s fair to state that individuals came around to the concept that you require a backup solution for the Microsoft 365 business data beyond what’s provided natively. It is also fair to state that there are a variety of the way to achieve that, but Retention Policies (and Labels) are undertake and don’t. To know why, we begin with breaking lower what Retention Coverage is.

What exactly are Microsoft 365 Retention Policies?

Microsoft will a nice job of explaining what Retention Polices and Retention Labels are here. In summary, they are being used to:

  • Keep business data for any specific time period, even when someone deletes it
  • Delete business data following a specific time period

To put it simply, Retention Coverage is a Microsoft 365 compliance feature. They’re there so that you can safeguard important business data kept in SharePoint, OneDrive, Exchange, and Microsoft Teams from being deleted prematurely or from being retained beyond an accepted lifespan (as based on regulatory needs for the industry, locale, etc.). At this, Retention Coverage is very, excellent.

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However that raises an issue: when we may use Retention Policies to help keep business data as lengthy once we want, can’t that provide as our Backup and Restore solution? Set Retention Policies in the SharePoint Site and Exchange Mailbox levels to help keep everything forever, and when someone deletes something, a duplicate from it is produced. Instant “Backup” without requiring to interact another-party partner, run separate processes, run a separate UI, storage, etc. Native and simple, right?

Native, Yes. Easy, No.

There are a variety of explanations why Retention Coverage is not really a appropriate substitute for any formal Backup solution. Ignoring that you might have to utilize them for their designed purpose (retention and disposal), we begin with where deleted retained business data goes.

If your user deletes a SharePoint or OneDrive file after which needs it back later, it needs to be pulled in the hidden Upkeep Hold library. This can be a potential restore issue because Upkeep Hold is particular to that particular site, so whomever does the restore (Site Owner) must can get on to drag the copy from the document. Individuals libraries also count upon your storage costs, therefore if you’re protecting just of economic data in each and every site, that contributes up with time.

For Exchange email and Teams funnel messages and chats, the Recoverable Products folder can be used (Teams content gets into a subfolder known as Substrate Holds). There are many nuances to if/when something adopts Recoverable Products and into which subfolder, however the real trick is that if a company user can’t recover something from Recoverable Products themselves, admins need to with tools like eDiscovery search.

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Disregarding the possibility extra costs and complexity of configuring Retention Policies and Labels, if you are thinking, “Okay, going and becoming copies of deleted stuff seems like a click-heavy discomfort although not a significant tragedy,” I’d pay attention to that argument. But that’s only some of the consideration, which raises the following problem with counting on Retention Policies like a backup solution: they’re content-focused

All Of Your Stuff, None of the Structure or Settings

A Backup option would be an insurance plan. It is in position, wishing to never need to “submit a claim” (execute a restore) because doing which means something bad happened. After that logic, let’s suppose you endured damage to your house and all sorts of your property. You would like the insurer not only to replace all of your stuff, but additionally provide for your house being restored to the pre-broken condition. That’s once the money meets the street.

For any system like SharePoint, a Backup solution that captures configurations/settings/to safeguard your website Collections, Sites, lists, and libraries along with your business data can put everything back because it was. Retention Policies canrrrt do that because they’re focused in the content level. You do not get copies associated with a container or container-level configurations or settings in a manner that you could utilize to revive a Site’s permissions but none of them of their objects or content. Let’s say you only desire to restore the entire Site? You cannot, because Retention Coverage is about item-level retention and disposal, not restore teams

Is that this restricting so far as what’s backed-up and what you could restore? Very.

Talking about restores, there’s yet another factor to consider when attempting to make Retention Policies/Labels act as a Backup solution: outages.

All Of Your Eggs in a single Basket

I am not an outage doomsayer. I’m not really. Large-scale outages are extremely infrequent. However, that does not mean you shouldn’t arrange for them.

When thinking about using Retention Policies like a Backup solution for Microsoft 365, keep in mind that all of your copies have been in SharePoint/OneDrive libraries and Exchange mailbox folders. If the outage occurs, there isn’t any method of getting to anything.

That Sales Director who requires a copy of her deck to provide to some customer, but SharePoint is lower? She can’t reach her original or pull a duplicate from the Upkeep Hold library. Should you have had another Backup solution, particularly one that will restore unnatural like AvePoint Cloud Backup and Restore, a couple of clicks and you may send her deck to her. Retention Policies do not have anything like this because they’re not created for that.

Outages are most likely not your number 1 concern, but they’re certainly worth considering to make sure all your bases are covered.

To conclude, Retention Coverage is efficient at what they’re created for, although not suited to Backup and Restore purposes. With them for Backups is much like pounding a nail right into a wall using the handle of the screwdriver rather of grabbing a hammer. You may think it’ll work fine, but bent nails, sore thumbs, and crooked holes are possible. The best tool for the best job is definitely an easy method to visit.

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