BACKGROUND IMAGE: iSTOCK/GETTY IMAGES
Office 365 labels make it easy to classify data for compliance purposes through both manual and automatic methods.
Office 365 label policies, included with E3 subscriptions, provide a central location to configure and publish labels to Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and the services that depend on them, such as Office 365 Groups.
For example, administrators can add a label named Financial Data to the Security & Compliance Center and designate it to keep data with that label for six years. An Office 365 label policy pushes that label out to the other Microsoft services on the platform.
Users mark items in their inbox or documents with labels. Office 365 labels have policies that retain or delete data based on the organization's needs. Personal data might get marked for deletion after a certain amount of time following a review, for example, or other information might get marked as an organizational record, so nobody can change or purge it.
The Advanced Data Governance functionality in an E5 subscription enables the automatic application of data labels based on keywords or sensitive information. Policies could mark all data with Social Security numbers as personal data or mark all data with credit card numbers as financial data.
Label policies require some forethought to cover different types of information. Many organizations might require multiple labels to cover the types of data to retain or delete.
Office 365 labels take approximately 24 hours before they appear. Automatic labeling starts after about seven days.
User or organization-wide retention policies that hold data take precedence over Office 365 labels. A policy that holds data for 10 years across the organization will overrule one that removes certain data after five years.