Microsoft 365 Records Management Compliance

On 9 Sept., 2020

As a SharePoint consulting practice, we at Prometix had a chance to implement a Microsoft 365 Records Management service

Microsoft 365 Records Management Compliance

As a SharePoint consulting practice, we at Prometix had a chance to implement a Microsoft 365 Records Management service

This is a fairly new service and Microsoft announced in May the commercial release of the Microsoft 365 Records Management service.

This service, which lets organisations apply "labels" to documents, as well as machine learning to automatically apply those labels, is designed to address legal compliance tracking issues for organisations. Microsoft claims it'll help demonstrate compliance with regulations through defensible audit trails and proof of destruction. This will assist in integrating with Business Intelligence such PowerBI, and artificial intelligence such as Azure services.

The Records Management service is currently available through the Microsoft 365 Compliance Center. Organisations need to have Microsoft 365 E5/A5 or Microsoft 365 Insider Risk Management licenses to use the service, which gives them the rights to automatically apply "retention or record labels based on trainable classifiers," according to this Microsoft document description.

Microsoft has other compliance solutions besides this Records Management service. It has an Information Governance service and some SharePoint solutions, namely SharePoint In-Place Records Management and SharePoint Records Center.

Information Governance was described as being a "simple way to keep the data you want and delete what you don't," but it apparently lacks access to the advanced capabilities of the Records Management service. Information Governance can just "create and publish non-record labels for manual application," Microsoft explained in the comments section of its announcement.

SharePoint's Records Center and In-Place Records Management solutions were described as having "legacy functionality," meaning it uses old technology. Microsoft recommended that users of these SharePoint records solutions should switch to using Microsoft 365 Records Management service:

This new solution [Microsoft 365 Records Management] is where our future investments in records management will be made and we recommend any SharePoint Online customers using SharePoint's in-place records management, content organiser, or the SharePoint records center to evaluate migrating to this new way of managing your records.

To start off, there are two methods for labeling content for the new Office 365 records management: manual and automatic.

Manual Application

While the manual process of applying labels one-by-one to content is common for physical records, it has proven to be a less-than reliable option for productive electronic content management (ECM). With such high volumes of organizational digital content, having individual users manually label their own documents can result in disorganization, missing tags, or documents that may not have been tagged or uploaded at all.

Automatic Application

Automatically labeling is the more dependable of the two. With this method, content can be labeled based  on pattern of information, content type, metadata, or location.

While automatic labeling skips potential for human error, it requires the right tools to work effectively. This is where O365 Labels can come in handy.

With O365 retention labels, authorized users can classify data across their organization in Office 365 for governance and enforce retention rules based on that classification. O365 is also excellent when it comes to data loss protection, having centralized RM capabilities, and having APIs for extension to meet compliance requirements for highly regulated industries and public sectors.

As a Microsoft Gold certified partner, we have extensive experience in delivering Office 365 based records management-based solutions. We have Office 365 consultants in Sydney. For more information, please contact us from