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Understanding Exchange Policy Enforcement Security : Creating Messaging Records Management Policies

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Messaging Records Management (MRM) in Exchange Server 2010 allows organizations to create and enforce mailbox retention policies for their messaging environment. It has a very granular administration model, so administrators can turn off the process for individual users.

Understanding the Scope of MRM

MRM is flexible in its approach, as it allows for different policies to be set up for different managed folders. MRM deployment takes place in several steps, as follows:

1.
Create any custom managed folders, as necessary.

2.
Create Managed Content Settings on specific managed folders.

3.
Create any managed folder mailbox policies as necessary to group together specific Managed Content Settings.

4.
Apply the managed folder mailbox policy to a mailbox or set of mailboxes.

5.
Schedule the Managed Folder Assistant.

For example, an administrator might want to set up a data retention policy that allowed items stored in the Inbox to be stored for one year. That administrator could then create a new custom managed folder named “Data Retention Folder” that had a policy of not deleting items before 10 years. These two managed folders could have the specific Managed Content Settings set on them, and then they would be grouped together into a single managed folder mailbox policy. This policy would then be applied to all mailboxes in the organization. Finally, the administrator could schedule the Managed Folder Assistant to run on a regular basis to enforce these policies.

The step-by-step procedures for setting up this type of scenario are outlined in the following sections.

Creating Custom Managed Folders

The first step is to create a custom folder definition for the 10-year retention folder. This folder will be added as a subfolder in all mailboxes that are added to the policy. To create this custom managed folder, do the following:

1.
From Exchange Management Console, expand Organization Configuration and choose the Mailbox node.

2.
In the actions pane, click New Managed Custom Folder.

3.
Type a descriptive name for the custom folder in the Name field. In addition, list a display name that will be shown when it is viewed in Outlook. As optional settings, you can configure a storage limit, comments, and force users to not be able to minimize the folder, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Creating a managed custom folder.

4.
Click New and then click Finish.

Creating Managed Content Settings

The second step is to define the content settings that will be applied to the Inbox and to the custom folder that was created. The content settings define how long the data will be kept before it is deleted. To perform this task, complete the following steps:

1.
From the Mailbox node under Organization Configuration, right-click on the newly created custom folder, and choose New Managed Content Settings.

2.
Type a descriptive name for the content settings, and then enter in the type of retention policy, as shown in Figure 2. In this case, we are setting the policy at 10 years, or 3,650 days. Click Next when you are finished.

Figure 2. Creating Managed Content Settings.

3.
On the Journaling tab, you have the option to forward a copy of the item to another location. Click Next to continue.

4.
Click New and then click Finish.

5.
Repeat the process for any other custom folders or the default folders. In this example, you would repeat the process for the default Inbox folder, and set the policy retention to one year for that folder.

Creating Managed Folder Mailbox Policies

Next, these folders must be added into a single overarching policy. To do so, perform the following tasks:

1.
From Exchange Management Console, in the Mailbox node under Organization Configuration, choose the Managed Folder Mailbox Policies tab.

2.
Click New Managed Folder Mailbox Policy from the actions pane.

3.
Enter a descriptive name for the policy, and then click the Add button.

4.
Select a managed folder from the list—in this case, the Inbox and the Data Retention Folder (the custom one created; hold down the Ctrl key while selecting more than one option). Click OK and review the additions to the wizard, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Creating a managed folder mailbox policy.

5.
Click New and then click Finish.

Applying Managed Folder Mailbox Policies to Mailboxes

Finally, the mailboxes themselves must be added into this policy. To do so, follow these steps:

1.
In Exchange Management Console, select the Mailbox node under the Recipient Configuration node.

2.
Right-click the user who will be added to the policy, and select Properties.

3.
Select the Mailbox Settings tab.

4.
Click Messaging Records Management, and then click the Properties button.

5.
Check the Managed Folder Mailbox Policy check box, and click the Browse button and choose the Managed Folder Mailbox Policy you just created. Click OK. Review the settings, as shown in Figure 4.



Figure 4. Applying a managed folder mailbox policy to a mailbox.


6.
Click OK and then click OK again to save the changes.

An alternative method to using the GUI is to use the command-line shell. The syntax would be similar to the following example:

Set-Mailbox –Identity Carrie –ManagedFolderMailboxPolicy "CompanyABC
Retention Policy"

Scheduling the Managed Folder Assistant

You might want to change the default cleanup schedule for policy enforcement from the default, which is set to run from 1:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. in the morning. To do so, perform the following steps:

1.
From Exchange Management Console, click the Mailbox node under the Server Configuration node.

2.
Select the server name from the list, right-click it, and choose Properties on the shortcut menu.

3.
Select the Messaging Records Management tab, and change the drop-down box to say Use Custom Schedule.

4.
Click the Customize button.

5.
Select a time window for the management to occur, similar to what is shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5. Scheduling the Managed Folder Assistant.


6.
Click OK and then click OK again to save the settings.

The same process outlined in these step-by-step guides can be used to create any number of granular mailbox retention policies, as needed for governmental regulation and/or compliance.

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