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Don’t let Microsoft 365 leave your legacy email journals ‘marooned’…

If you are journaling in Microsoft 365, where are you writing your email journals to?

This is what Microsoft says on the subject of journalling in Microsoft 365: 

You can’t designate an Exchange Online mailbox as a journaling mailbox. You can deliver journal reports to an on-premises archiving system or a third-party archiving service.

On-premises? These days, using any system that’s sitting in your physical office is not a great option. Without IT staff on site every day to maintain and backup servers and storage, your records could be at risk.

In the cloud? If you’re using a hosted service like Mimecast or Proofpoint*, switching to Microsoft 365 for the protection of email (and a lot more besides) could save you a lot of money.

So what can you do to improve the situation?

There’s a school of thought that the features available in Microsoft 365 make the need to a run separate email journal unnecessary.

We produced this amusing ‘pirate video’ a while back to explain how Microsoft (arguably) replaces the role of a conventional journal, and why it’s important to carefully consider how legacy journals are migrated into the Microsoft 365 way of doing things.

Understand your options for tackling existing journals

Whether you want to switch entirely to Microsoft 365 for your journaling – or look elsewhere to stash your email records – we can help you work out the best options.

In the first instance we’ll help you assess whether conventional journaling is still required for your business and compliance needs, and talk you through the detail of how you can meet your compliance remit with the various settings and facilities available in Microsoft 365.

When it comes to deciding what to do with your legacy archives, there’s quite a few options open to you, including:

  • Let your legacy journals ‘age in place’ (bury them somewhere safe ;-) )
  • Migrate just the legacy journals you need into Microsoft 365
  • Switch to a cloud based journaling service in Microsoft Azure

*If you feel like you’re being held captive by your current hosted journaling service, we can help you jump ship and save lots of swag.  Sorry – getting too caught up in the pirate theme!

Email Journal Migration

Get in touch to discover your journal migration options arggghhh, Jim lad. 

Why are BCC’d recipients so important?

In relation to email, BCC stands for “blind carbon copy.” Just like CC, BCC is a way of sending copies of an email to other people. The difference is that recipients CC’d on an email have no visibility of the fact that other people may have also received the same email.

I think we’ve all been on the receiving end of a marketing email that’s been inadvertently sent to CC’d a circulation list.  This is where BCC comes into its own, but there’s other scenarios where BCC is used.

A key thing to consider is “Why do people use BCC in work-related emails”?

  • To raise an issue concerning a co-worker?
  • To lodge a confidential record of an email exchange with a third-party?

Arguably the use of BCC is secretive and deceptive and it follows that the nature of the email will be more ‘shady’ or confidential than an openly CC’d email.  It also follows that the person being BCC’d is just as important, if not more so, than those that are CC’d.

The good news:

The default Exchange journal setting (and that of most hosted journaling services such as Mimecast) is called an ‘envelope’ journal.  The envelope includes a record of the TO: and CC: fields as well as any BCC’d recipients and all the individuals included in your local distribution lists (DL) at the point in time the email was received by your messaging transport agent (MTA).

The bad news:

In the process of migrating to Office 365, you could be stripping out BCC and DL information from your email records.

Having helped with extremely large corporate email investigations, we know the importance of maintaining complete email records and maintaining due diligence when handling email archives in particular.  https://www.theguardian.com/media/2011/jul/08/phone-hacking-emails-news-international

What’s the problem with Office 365 & Journaling?

The key ‘gotcha’ is that Office 365 does not have a journal service – at all. 

Until recently if you wanted to move to Office 365 and maintain a conventional envelope journal you’d have had to subscribe to a third-party service from an organisation like Mimecast, or keep an Exchange journal running back on-premises. 

But in the last few years Microsoft has been filling a few holes.  Office 365 can now effectively replace the role of the envelope journal and provide a one-stop-shop for compliant and complete email records retention.  This is how it works:

  • Instead of using a large, centralised, single-instanced mailbox that is inherently difficult to scale and failover, Microsoft uses its optimised multi-instance storage model.  This allows each user to retain his/her copy (journal) of all emails sent/received with zero performance penalty and no single point of failure.
  • By putting all relevant mailboxes on In-Place Hold, all emails sent and received are retained indefinitely.
  • Deleted emails are removed from the user’s view, but held into a special hidden folder inside the Recoverable Items Folder (RIF), where they are available to the eDiscovery process.
  • Any BCC’d recipients will be retained indefinitely in the senders’ mailboxes.
  • The members of any distribution lists (DLs) are expanded at the point of sending and stored in hidden headers in senders’ emails so they are fully discoverable.
  • Ex-employee’s mailboxes (i.e. those belonging to leavers) can be put on Indefinite Hold and made available for eDiscovery, without a license penalty (using Microsoft’s inactive mailbox service).

So assuming you’re not going to dump over 10 years’ worth of email records when you move, all you’ve got to do it map what’s in your existing journals and any journal archives (which are commonplace given the size to which journals can grow) into the new model.

You’ve actually got a few options for doing this, ranging from quick and potentially dirty to slower and comprehensive?

Email Journal Migration

Want to get the full scoop on how it all works?  Get in touch today.

Discover How (and why) Microsoft 365 Replaces The ‘Traditional’ Email Journaling Service.

Have you ever wondered why Microsoft 365 doesn’t provide a ‘native’ email journaling service (like your old on-premises Exchange server used to).

  • Do you still need to use a third-party journaling service (such as Mimecast or Proofpoint) or an on-premises Exchange server?
  • If not, how is Microsoft now ‘filling the journal gap’
  • What you need to do to migrate an existing on-premises journal or cloud journal into the new ‘Microsoft way of doing things’?

This white paper addresses all these questions and more. 

Download your copy of the Making Office 365 One-Stop-Shop for Email Records Compliance white paper.

Discover How (and why) Microsoft 365 Replaces The ‘Traditional’ Email Journaling Service

Get in touch to find out more about your options for handling your legacy email Journal when you use Microsoft 365.