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Exchange 2010 Benefits for Law Firms – Part 2 of 3

Joseph Hoegler

2 min read

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Previously, in part 1 of this blog post, I introduced Exchange 2010 and discussed  large mailbox support along with native archiving features.  In this post, I will present native electronic discovery features, retention policies, and legal holds.

Native eDiscovery Features

In previous versions of Exchange, third-party tools were required for even basic multi-mailbox searching and query-based exportation of content from Exchange.  In Exchange 2010, these features are provided natively.  Designated users, for example an HR or compliance officer, can be delegated permissions to search across specific or all mailboxes based on criteria such as sender, recipient, expiration policy, message size, send/receive date, CC/BCC, regular expressions, or Information Rights Management-protected items.  These searches can be applied to e-mail, contacts, calendars, and instant message conversations (if stored in the Conversation History folder) and apply across both the primary and archive mailboxes.

Once a specific query has been defined and results obtained, the discovered content and a completion status update may be sent to either a mailbox or a specific SMTP address  The results are organized per the original folder hierarchy.  The exposure of the API for this functionality may enable robust integration with third-party software for automated processing.

Retention Policies and Legal Holds

While basic retention functionality has existed for years in the form of mailbox management policies (Exchange 2003) and Managed Folder policies (Exchange 2007), granularity of application was restricted to folders.  With Exchange 2010, retention policies exist that can apply per folder or per individual message.  In addition, these policies can be applied and managed centrally and/or users can be allowed to choose an appropriate retention policy via a convenient drop-down menu.  In addition, if a retention policy applies to a specific item, the user will be notified when the item is set to expire via a notification bar within the item itself.  These policies can be configured to, upon expiration, either delete items or move them to a user’s archive mailbox.  In addition, this functionality can be combined to provide for a true lifecycle of the item by moving it to the archive after some period of time and then deleting it from the archive after a longer period of time.

In addition to the retention functionality described above, a legal or retention hold can now be applied to specific mailboxes.  This allows for an administrator to prevent users from deleting or editing existing items in their primary or archive mailbox for a specific period of time or indefinitely.

In Part 3 of this blog post, I will discuss user-specific HTML disclaimers and MailTips.