Data retention policy

Backing up and keeping all mailbox data is a policy that consumes a lot of storage space. Keeping all data is not always necessary. Organizations may need to back up only their recent data or the exact opposite - only the old data. Another popular approach is to back up everything but keep only the most recent backups at hand and archive everything else on external drives. Our data retention policy makes all these scenarios possible. Retention policies are typically used along with archive jobs.

Storage retention policy

The storage retention policy works as a separate, independent process within the CodeTwo Backup Service. It checks when each version of an item inside a storage was backed up and deletes this item from the storage when the item's version reaches the age defined by the user. This feature allows you to decide what data should be kept in a storage permanently and what should be removed after a desired period of time

The software supports item versioning, so you will most likely have multiple versions of each item in a storage, backed up at different points in time (assuming you ran the backup job several times or it was a continuous job). The storage retention policy deletes only those versions of an item that are older than specified in the retention settings.


Please note that the age of an item in a storage is calculated based on the time when the item was backed up, not on the time when the item was created in the user's mailbox.

Retention policies are defined per storage in the storage configuration wizardWhen configuring a storage retention policy, you are able to set the age and type of mailbox items to be deleted. This is very useful for items which are not often modified, such as contacts - you may want to keep these items in your storage permanently. A retention policy can also be separately enabled for special folders (e.g. deleted items). When it is turned on for special folders, all items in these folders will be removed after reaching a defined age, regardless of their type. 

Other properties of the program's storage retention policy:

  • Policies apply to folders as well.
  • Parent folders that are older than specified in a retention policy, are deleted only when all child items and subfolders also reach the retention period.
  • Default folders (e.g. Inbox) are never deleted.
  • Archive jobs pause the retention process.

Archive retention policy

You can also configure retention policies to both standard and PST archive jobs. However, even though the principle is the same, these policies work slightly different and feature different options.

First of all, as archives can be kept on external drives which may not be always available for the Backup Service, the retention policy process is not constantly running in the background. Retention policies for archives are checked and executed only when an archive job is started.

Secondly, an archive retention policy does not offer any options to specify an archive's content. This is because an archive is treated as a whole - you either keep the whole archive or delete it.

Therefore, the archive retention policy allows only to define how many versions of an archive you want to keep. Additionally, you can decide what the software should do when the disk space (where your archive is located) is running low: you can do nothing (which basically results in the archive process being stopped and generating an alert in the Dashboard) or delete the oldest version of the archive (and therefore continue the current archiving process).

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