2 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Retention Policies in Microsoft 365

  1. Hi Andrew, when you say :

    “If single SharePoint document libraries are used to store content that maps to different retention classes, then it will become very complicated to accurately map retention labels to content.”,

    have you evaluated to get some predefined folders for each retention class, at the root of the library, and set their respective retention label? (This will apply the label to all content inside the folder). Do you see any functionality issues using this method?

    Good article!

    1. Thanks Martin. There is always the possibility that document libraries may store content that is subject to different retention periods. This is partially why is it possible to auto-apply retention labels based on certain conditions.
      My point was that, where document libraries are used as logical aggregations of records about the same subject or context, it makes sense to try to only store records about that subject or context in the same library (re-created annually as necessary, e.g., ‘Meetings 2020’) as it makes it easier to apply a single retention class to all the content in that library at the same time, especially when the retention is based on when the label is applied (e.g., when the library is no longer active), rather than during the life of the library.
      Of course, in many cases, SharePoint document libraries may contain content on a range of subjects with different retention periods. The choice, then, in my view, is to (a) apply a single retention policy to the entire site, or (b) consider trying to apply retention labels at a granular level within document libraries which is what I think would get very complicated, whether you apply them to folders or documents. Currently, SharePoint allows end users with edit rights to remove a label (and delete the record) or choose another one.
      In my personal opinion, label-based policies should primarily be used for aggregations of records in a (controlled) document library that is used to house records that ‘map’ to the retention class. Everything else (including in Exchange, MS Teams, ODfB) can be covered by non-label retention policies that keep everything for the longest period.

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