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If your company is required to retain e-mail because of regulatory compliance or would simply like to better manage its Exchange infrastructure, until recently the options were limited to generating journal reports for every e-mail sent and received, or using third-party products.
Exchange 2007 introduces managed folders, which let sysadmins apply content retention settings to Outlook folders, and transport rules, which can be used to copy, restrict or classify messages at the server level.
A new concept in Exchange 2007, Message Records Management employs managed custom folders assigned to users’ mailboxes to retain mail according to company policy. Although there is provision for limited automation, the onus is largely on users to move mail from their inbox to the custom folders, each of which has a policy to determine how long mail is retained and what action to take once the retention period is over.
There are two types of managed folder: default and custom. The latter is available only to organizations with Exchange Enterprise client access licenses (CALs). Default managed folders allow sysadmins to define content retention rules on standard folders such as Inbox and Calendar; managed custom folders exist in addition to the standard set of Outlook folders.
Let’s set up a managed folder that deletes e-mail after one year. Log on to an Exchange server with an account that is a member of the Exchange Organization Administrators security group.
Create a managed custom folder
Add managed content settings
Create a managed folder mailbox policy
Configure the managed folder assistant to run on a schedule
Add the managed folder mailbox policy to users
Force the managed folder assistant to run ahead of schedule
Open Outlook using one of the accounts selected in step 15, and you will see Managed Folders in the folder list (Figure 5). Managed custom folders are searchable, which is useful for e-discovery compliance.
Journaling allows you to forward all messages to a specified mailbox, but if you need granular control of message flow within your Exchange organization, you can apply hub transport rules at the server level to assist with policy compliance by changing the delivery or content of messages. Transport rules manage mail flow between internal recipients and messages that pass in and out of an Exchange organization.
While it’s not possible to specify that messages be delivered directly to a managed custom folder, you could create a rule that copies all mail received from an external partner to a dedicated archiving mailbox or public folder. Transport rules are built using conditions and actions, and wildcards are supported when using EMS for additional flexibility.
Let’s create a rule that copies all mail from an external recipient to a journaling mailbox:
As you can see from Figure 6, the available criteria for managing transport rules are considerably more than for managed content settings or journaling.
Russell Smith is an independent consultant based in the United Kingdom who specializes in Microsoft systems management.