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Any suggestions for best practices for email archiving with 0365?

Novitiate III

For organizations that won't delete emails and must archive everything, is there a best practice for outlook email archiving? We're looking at changing up how we manage our archiving. At the moment we're currently just using Microsoft's hosting to archive our emails, but were looking for better implementations such as merging into a master archive account, etc.


Iron II
Iron II

Have you looked at Microsoft Purview?

Novitiate III

I just looked into it. It seems useful from a data indexing, protection, etc perspective. Not exactly what my organization needs. We're looking to implement a means of archiving the various inboxes that have accumulated over the years into a more centralized place. Not just in terms of viewing though, but also data storage. Our O365 subscriptions are growing and were looking to prune and reorganize the licensing and accounts to make them more manageable and build new off-boarding processes to prevent future bloating.

Iron II
Iron II

totally get it. I watched the monthly bill grow and grow when I was an IT director... I preferred doing it the way you are now, but we sometimes would store email archives on a local fileserver, depending on who it was. An Amazon S3(Glacier) bucket that does not allow public access might be a solution or something along the lines of this may be worth evaluating.

I recall also using some cloud-to-cloud backup capability through Barracuda. We were already paying for Cuda for security, but it also was able to help archive things.

Novitiate III

Optimally there would be a way to merge and manage the outlook data files directly through one suite of software. The industry I work in is such that even decades down the line a single email could save the potential for a multi-hundred thousand dollar payment of insurance. Search-ability as well as ease of management would be optimal.

We use VaultMe (business offering) to do Google to Google and O365 to Google migrations. We use GWS but I think this could be applied to O365. When we need to archive account we have an account and VaultMe will migrate an entire account into the account as a Sub-Label keeping all of the original users labels and filing in tact. So if you look at the Archive Gmail account is contains a bunch of labels named by each archived users email account. You can drill down wherever you want and search as needed.


This looks like a decent option, but some of these accounts have tens of thousands of emails which would bill out thousands of dollars for each of those accounts. Not super viable. Thanks for the reply 🙂

Rising Star III

We're a Google Workspace shop, but what we're doing is retaining the email for 30 days (or more if I'm feeling lazy / forgetful). After that, then I hop into their "Takeout" tool which allows us to export whatever we want. I take a full export of the email, then upload it to our S3 archive bucket. We've only had 2 times that we needed to recover an email from there, and it's a pain but it's doable.

Rising Star II

These solutions may or may not apply to your use case...   But it might be helpful feedback as you look for solutions.   We're a Google shop primarily, but I know these will all support M365 as well.

We used Spanning Backup (now part of Kaseya) to keep full, nightly backups of our Google Workspace and it worked OK.  There were a few technical/usability issues, but the backup service itself wasn't horrible...  We did, however, have some serious issues with their billing/renewal practices and an utter lack of customer support.  (took me over a year to get a contract/billing dispute resolved. They also had a VERY high rate of lower-level employee turnover, so I kept having to rehash the same problem with new customer support reps.  Based on that experience we will never do business with them ok Kaseya again, but your mileage may vary.)

We have since switched to SpinOne as our primary cloud backup solution and have found that to be a much better system in almost every way.  We opted to go all in with them and get their full "SpinOne" backup/malware/app-security offering, but you can get just the backup portion if that's all you need.  Of the many benefits we found with them, one that may be applicable to your situation is that they offer an "archive" license which costs less than a full license and is meant to be used for terminated accounts where you want to retain a copy of the account but no longer need new backups to be performed on it as it is now static.  You can then remove it from Google/M365 to reduce costs.  They were also a joy to work with and were very aggressive on pricing as they knew we were already paying for another backup solution that we wanted to move away from.   That said, I only have a few months of experience with them but have nothing bad to report at this point.

If you are not opposed to paying the up-front costs and having Synology equipment on-prem somewhere, they offer Synology Active backup for "free" for both Google Workspace and Microsoft 365.   There are no software, licensing, or ongoing costs, you just need to purchase the Synology equipment to access it.  I believe it's only included with certain models/model lines, however.  This is also a good backup solution because you are in full control of it.  There is the initial fixed cost for whatever model Synology device and capacity is required to meet your needs, but then it just sits there and does its thing.  This can also allow you to retain data locally on the device for terminated accounts, and you can then remove those seats from the cloud to reduce costs.  You could also perform full account exports and retain those backup files elsewhere on the NAS and remove old accounts from the system/cloud completely, especially if you rarely need to access them once created.

Long-term, running a Synology NAS is far and away the more economical option but does have some additional risks with possible hardware failure and potential maintenance costs vs a managed, cloud-based service.

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