Microsoft 365 Retention & Records management features allows the use of retention labels for applying retention settings at a granular level i.e. items – individual documents & emails. We know the retention triggers, based on which the retention duration is calculated for a document.
But is there a difference in how individual versions are retained when versioning is turned on, especially in the context of ‘Records versioning‘ ? Do individual versions have a different expiry than the original document? Read on as I attempt to demystify this.
Here is a quick overview of the retention label triggers for the start of retention period of an item.
When the item was created – Retention duration is calculated based on the date the item was created and hence the expiry date is fixed and doesn’t change even if the document is modified during its lifecycle
When the item was last modified – Retention duration is calculated based on the date the item was last modified and hence the expiry date keeps changing each time the document is updated.
When the item was labeled – Retention duration is calculated based on when the document was applied with the retention label
When an event occurs – Retention duration is calculated based on when the event occurred. Event needs to be raised in the compliance center with the event date.
In addition to the retention of the original document, let’s see what happens to the versions of these documents if versioning is turned on for the document libraries in which these documents are stored. Note, by default versioning is turned on at the document library level.
So here’s how the retention for document with versions work in Microsoft 365 for different type of retention triggers :
When the item was created: All versions will expire based on the created date of the initial version.
The created date is the same for all versions. True for standard labels and record labels.
When the item was last modified: All versions will expire based on the last modified date of the last version.
Look at the date of the last version only. True for standard labels and record labels.
When the item was labeled: This will stay the same for all versions, so all versions will expire based on the date labeled.
The labeled date is the same for all versions.
However, exception to this is record labels, where each version expires independently based on when that version was created.
With record labels, each record unlock event creates a record version which is captured and kept as a separate copy in the hidden preservation hold library. Hence, when the trigger is based on “when items were labeled”, each record version will have a different expiry based on when that version was created.
Based on your objective, be careful about the retention trigger you choose for specific use cases. You might end up either losing or over retaining documents and its versions unknowingly.
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