How can documents in SharePoint automatically be deleted/archived, based on business rules?

Documents in Office 365/SharePoint can automatically be deleted/archived based on well-defined business rules. In brief, the method is to:

  1. Define a set of rules (the time period below is normally calculated from the date a document was last modified), e.g.:
    1. Delete after 3 months
    2. Delete after 1 year
    3. Delete after 3 years
    4. Delete after 5 years
    5. Delete after 10 years
    6. Retain
  2. Each unique combination of a document’s tags, typically a combination of document’s “Document type” and another tag, such as “Process” determines its deletion rule, for example:
    1. Process: “Manage sales” & Document type = “Agreement”
      Rule: Retain
    2. Process: “Manage sales” & Document type: “Agenda”
      Rule: Delete after 3 years
  3. Based on the rules that have been defined, the documents will automatically be labeled with a retention label. The documents marked for deletion can then either automatically be deleted or an administrator can review them before they are approved for deletion.

In Office 365’s Security & Compliance Center, there is a method to automatically label documents for deletion, based on defined rules. The disadvantage is that all users, who are to be able to edit documents that are automatically labelled, must have an Office 365 Enterprise E5 license. Most Office 365 users however normally only have the simpler E3 license.

Contact a MetaShare partner or MetaShare support if you need assistance in setting up automatic deletion/archiving rules in your Office 365 tenant.