To help you worry less and keep your Office 365 backup data longer the NetApp® SaaS Backup for Microsoft Office 365 hosted service added a new, flexible retention module that allows you to base backup data retention on your requirements and SLA. These continuous improvements to the service enhance the user experience and help you control backups of your critical Office 365 data.


In this blog, we review the options available in the retention module. We also describe how an administrator can set retention policies at the tier, user, or global settings level.


Earlier, SaaS Backup (formerly Cloud Control) offered fixed retention of 1 year for SaaS Backup–provided storage and unlimited retention for BYOS (bring your own software), which includes Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), Azure Blob Storage, and NetApp StorageGRID® object-based storage. With the addition of the new retention module, you can set retention at various levels depending on your requirements.


For instance, each industry might have different retention requirements based on regulations. Here’s a list of some of the most common archiving requirements for email data:

  • Payment card industry (PCI DSS): 1 year
  • California Franchise Tax Board (CA FTB): 4 years
  • Various state revenue departments: 3 years
  • Internal Revenue Service (US IRS): 7 years
  • HIPAA Section 164: 6 years

However, archiving all this data is impractical and expensive.  To avoid this pitfall, SaaS Backup provides different options for classifying and structuring the retention workflow at the tenant level, policy level, or user/drive/site/groups level. When in doubt, it’s safest to retain the data for a minimum of 1 year or for a maximum of 7 years, depending on the industry.


SaaS Backup offers predefined tiers for each service. The tiers are categorized according to the recovery point objective (RPO) and retention period. By default, all the tiers are set to a 3-year retention period.

You can modify each tier’s retention period to any value from 1 to 7 years, or you can make the retention period unlimited. After you set a value, select Update Retention Period.

Now let’s take an example. Suppose that your company has 1,000 users. Out of 1,000, 500 users are part of tier 1, 300 users are part of tier 2, and 200 users are part of tier 3. Tier 2 retention is set to 5 years. If you’re an administrator and you want to assign 50 out of 300 users with 7 or 10 years’ retention, you can go to Account Settings > Retain and Purge > Data Retention Policies. Select Type Of Service, search for mailbox names, and set Retention Period to 7 or 10 Years or even to Forever. The settings provide flexibility based on your company’s requirements.

Let’s look at another scenario in which all the tiers should have the same retention settings. This is of course a requirement in specific industry vertical markets. In such scenarios, you (as the administrator) can set tenant-level retention as a global setting.

Finally, if you receive a request to purge the backup data for specific users, you can do it easily using the Purge Data option. This operation applies to all the services, including Exchange Online, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Groups.

The retention feature helps you preserve healthy recovery points that are not linked to the primary data. As the administrator, you can recover data with a single click rather than spending hours to recover a single file or folder.


If you want to make a copy of your production data residing in Office 365 and restore quickly to meet operational recovery needs, such as file corruption, deletion, and malicious attacks, try SaaS Backup for Microsoft Office 365 today. Sign up for a free 30-day trial and get access to all the features that SaaS Backup provides.

Niyaz Mohamed

Niyaz Mohamed aka Nimo is the Senior Solutions Architect in the Cloud Business Unit at NetApp. He has over 11 years of experience in the IT industry and joined NetApp in 2011 from Microsoft. He helps drive the product design, roadmap, strategy and customer experience for Cloud Control, NetApp’s SaaS Data management service.

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