I frequently get questions about the compliance archiving capabilities available in Exchange Online and Office 365. One area that causes a lot of confusion is around Litigation Hold versus In-Place Hold. Is Litigation Hold the same as In-Place Hold? If not, then when and why would I choose to use one versus the other? Is Litigation Hold going away in favor of In-Place Hold?
First, a little background… In Exchange 2010 and Exchange Online (pre-service upgrade), Litigation Hold was introduced to allow customers to immutably preserve mailbox content to meet long term preservation and eDiscovery requirements. When a mailbox was placed on Litigation Hold, mailbox content was preserved indefinitely.
In Exchange 2013 and the new Exchange Online, In-Place Hold was introduced which allowed more flexibility in preserving your data. It allowed you to preserve items matching your query parameters, known as a query-based In-Place Hold, preserve items for a specified period, known as a time-based In-Place Hold, and also preserve everything indefinitely, which emulated the Litigation Hold feature.
After the release of Exchange 2013 and the new Exchange Online, there were initial references in the documentation and in the product itself that Litigation Hold was being deprecated, and included recommendations to use In-Place Hold instead, which added to the confusion.
I want to clarify that Litigation Hold is not being deprecated, and the references to that have been cleaned up in the product and in the documentation. Both types are available for use and you should use the hold feature that best meets your needs. Here are some scenarios to help you choose between the two holds.
Archiving Exchange Online-based mailboxes
Exchange Online mailboxes reside in the cloud, and archiving them requires unique hosting environments. In some cases, Exchange Online can also be used to archive on-premises mailboxes in the cloud. The options for archiving with Exchange Online are described in this section.
Exchange Online provides built-in archiving capabilities for cloud-based mailboxes, including an In-Place Archive that gives users a convenient place to store older email messages. An In-Place Archive is a special type of mailbox that appears alongside a user’s primary mailbox folders in Outlook and Outlook Web App. Users can access and search the archive in the same way they access and search their primary mailboxes. Available functionality depends on the client in use:
- Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, and Outlook Web App Users have access to the full features of the archive, as well as related compliance features like control over retention and archive policies.
- Outlook 2007 Users have basic support for the In-Place Archive, but not all archiving and compliance features are available. For example, users cannot apply retention or archive policies to mailbox items and must rely on administrator-provisioned policies instead.
Administrators use the Exchange admin center or remote Windows PowerShell to enable the personal archive feature for specific users.
For more information about In-Place Archives, see In-Place Archiving.
In Exchange 2010 and Exchange Online, we introduced Litigation Hold to allow you to immutably preserve mailbox content to meet long term preservation and eDiscovery requirements. When a mailbox is placed on Litigation Hold, mailbox content is preserved indefinitely.
Placing a mailbox on Litigation Hold You can place a mailbox on Litigation Hold by using the Exchange Administration Center (EAC) or the Shell (set the LitigationHoldEnabled parameter). In Exchange 2010, you can also use the Exchange Management Console (EMC) to do this.
Preserving items for a specified duration To preserve items for a specified period, we added the LitigationHoldDuration parameter to Exchange Online. This helps you meet your compliance needs by preserving all items in a mailbox for the specified duration, calculated from the date the item was created (date received in case of inbound email). For example, if your organization needs to preserve all mailbox data for seven years, you can place all mailboxes on Litigation Hold and set the LitigationHoldDuration to 7 years (in days).
This functionality is also available in Exchange 2013, allowing you to preserve items for a specified duration in your on-premises organization – one example of how developments in Exchange Online benefit Exchange Server on-premises.
In-Place Hold in Exchange 2013 and Exchange Online
In Exchange 2013 and the new Exchange Online, we introduced In-Place Hold, which allows more flexibility in preserving your data. Hold functionality is integrated with In-Place eDiscovery to allow you to search and preserve using a single wizard or a single cmdlet (New-MailboxSearch). You can use the In-Place eDiscovery & Hold wizard or the cmdlet to search for and preserve items matching your query parameters, known as a query-based In-Place Hold, preserve items for a specified period, known as a time-based hold, and also preserve everything indefinitely, which emulates the old Litigation Hold feature. Check out In-Place eDiscovery and In-Place Hold in the New Exchange - Part I and Part II for more info.
Yeah, I know there's maybe 0.57 reader who will find this interesting or useful, but hey, those 0.57 rock! And this is something for my day life that might come in handy on day... so there.
That said, do I really need to make the ESI/Litigation speech? No? Because if your in IT can have any kind of data storage in your realm, you already know that it's only a matter of time? Ok, good...
Related Past Post XRef:
Exchange Online getting serious about helping with eDiscovery