Office 365 Archiving


Tim Tetrick

I often get questions from partners and customers confused about the archiving capabilities of Office 365.

The full archiving story of Office 365 involves a number of different capabilities of Exchange Online including Personal Archive, Multi-Mailbox Search, Legal Hold, and Journaling.

The Personal Archive is a specialized mailbox that appears alongside users’ primary mailbox folders in Outlook or Outlook Web App, and gives users a convenient place to store older emails.  Exchange Online Plan 1 (and E1/E2 Plans) gives users 25GB of total storage, which the user can apportion across their primary mailbox and personal archive.  Exchange Online Plan 2 (and E3/E4 Plans) gives users unlimited storage in the personal archive in addition to the 25GB of storage in the primary mailbox.

Multi-Mailbox Search (or eDiscovery) provides the ability to search for mailbox items - including email messages, attachments, calendar appointments, tasks, and contacts - across primary mailboxes and personal archives.  Exchange Online provides a web-based interface for searching the contents of mailboxes in an organization via the Exchange Control Panel.  Multi-mailbox search is available across all Exchange Online license types including Kiosk and Exchange Online Plan 1 and Plan 2 (and E1-E4) .

Legal Hold (or Litigation Hold) provides the ability to preserves users’ deleted and edited mailbox items (including email messages, appointments, and tasks) from both their primary mailboxes and personal archives, which is then discoverable via Multi-mailbox search.  It gives organizations a true compliance archive or ‘immutable’ archive.  Legal Hold is only available via Exchange Online Plan 2 (and E3/E4) .

In the future, we will provide the ability to add compliance archiving onto Kiosk or E1/E2 Plans but that capability does not currently exist.

Journaling gives organizations the ability to journal copies of emails out to an external archive (either on-premise or cloud-based).  It provides an optional way of achieving compliance archiving as opposed to using the Legal Hold and Multi-Mailbox Search capabilities described above.  Exchange Online supports Journaling across all Exchange Online license types including Kiosk and Exchange Online Plan 1 and Plan 2 (and E1-E4) .

I created the following video which demonstrates the archiving capabilities of Office 365.  It briefly talks through the capabilities of archiving and then shows a demonstration of enabling Personal Archive / Legal Hold and doing eDiscovery via Multi-Mailbox Search.

For more information, please refer to the following resources…

Exchange Online Services Description

Enable an Archive Mailbox

Multi-Mailbox Searches and Create a New Multi-Mailbox Search

Put a Mailbox on Litigation Hold

Journal Rules and Create Journal Rules