Tenant Wide Retention

Spanning Backup for Office 365 (Spanning Backup) offers “Unlimited Retention” by default. We will maintain the data for a user for as long as there is a license assigned to the user, even if the user is deleted from Microsoft 365. This is the default configuration for Spanning Backup for Office 365.

Some of our customers have specific policies that they are not to retain data older than a specific age, 1 year, 2 years, 5 years, 7 years, etc. Spanning Backup supports this requirement with Tenant Wide Retention settings in Spanning Backup. Spanning Backup can be configured separately for retention on Mail, Calendar, Contacts, OneDrive, and SharePoint. This feature enables organizations to complement the retention policies set in Microsoft 365 and Azure to the retention of backup data in Spanning Backup for Office 365.

Retention Defined

With Spanning Backup, retention is based on the age of an item as determined by the Last Modified timestamp. Retention is not based on the presence or absence of an item. Items whose last modified timestamp are greater than the configured retention duration are deleted from Spanning Backup and are no longer available to be restored.

Further, if a document is present in Microsoft 365, for example a legacy SharePoint site with a document library containing old files, and the last modified time of the file is older than the retention setting in Spanning Backup will skip the file and not create a backup.

Retention Examples

If OneDrive Retention is set to 2 years (720 days) and you create a new document in OneDrive, Spanning Backup will detect and backup the file.

  • If you make no additional changes to the file, the backup will be deleted in 2 years.
  • If you update the file in a year, for example, changing the heading from “2020 Annual Report” to “2021 Annual Report”, when the 2-year anniversary arrives, Spanning Backup will only delete the first version of the document, not the second. The two-year-old 2020 report will be deleted not the 1-year old version from 2021.
  • If you delete the file from SharePoint the day after it was backed up. That version of the file will be deleted from Spanning Backup on the 2-year anniversary. In other words, files deleted from OneDrive can be restored up to the date specified by the last modified date plus the retention value. Following that, they are no longer available to be restored.

Generally, customers will configure their tenant retention policies to complement the retention settings in Microsoft 365. Since that is not always the case, we have another possible scenario. If the retention settings for SharePoint (or OneDrive) are set to one year (365 days) and you create a file. Spanning Backup will back up the file.

  • If you make no changes to the file after a year, Spanning Backup will delete the backup copy. If, after a year and 2 days, you update the file. Spanning Backup will back up the updated file, restarting the clock on the file based on the new Last Modified timestamp.

Request Retention for your Spanning Tenant

Since retention settings could delete data from your tenant, Spanning requires that a Support ticket be filed for this configuration. Please submit your request to support@spanning.com and supply your unique Azure AD Tenant ID and the retention duration in days for each of the following items.


Confirmation of Settings

Once Spanning Support configures the retention settings for your tenant you will see the configured values on the Settings Page.


Questions or Comments

Spanning is always working to help our customers preserve their data while offering tools to help them comply with their regulatory guidelines and procedures. If you have any feedback, questions, or comments please do not hesitate to contact us at support@spanning.com.

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