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Exchange 2007 and Unified Messaging Retention Policies

By now, most people are used to thinking of e-mail as “discoverable” material for audits; whether the audits are Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, SEC, or any other type of regulatory audit. And most companies that are bound by such regulation, as well as many who choose to self-regulate, have a stated policy about e-mail retention.
But there is a new twist to auditing and compliance: Voicemail. Historically, voicemail has been a separate appliance with recorded messages stored on the appliance itself and not subjected to the same regulations that e-mail is. I’m no compliance expert, so I can’t speak with any real authority on the subject. But I did find this excellent whitepaper on the MS site that talks about compliance and voicemail as it relates to Exchange and UM. To get an idea of what good info the whitepaper has, I’ll provide an exceprt:

For the securities industry, the SEC requires regulated companies to retain business-related communications, but it has indicated in a related context that although “blast” voice mail messages are treated as electronic communications, individual voice mail messages are not.

This paper is full of great info that is a must-read for people considering Exchange Unified Messaging or Unified Messaging of any sort. I won’t rehash what’s already in there, but I did think that it was worth providing some real-world info about how to construct and enforce retention policies for Voicemail with Exchange UM.
The first step is to take a look at Managed Folders. Here’s a screenshot of the Exchange 2007 console and where to find managed folders

To set a retention policy on the inbox, Right-click on the inbox and choose “New Managed Content Settings”

When the wizard appears:

  1. Enter a name such as “VM Retention Policy”
  2. Choose “VoiceMail” from the drop-down list of message types
  3. Check the “Length of retention period” box and enter the number of days you want to keep the messages
  4. Choose when the retention period should start (usually “When Delivered”)
  5. Choose what to do with the messages once the retention period has ended


Click next to continue.
IF you want to send copies of this type of message somewhere, choose that.

Otherwise, click next.

Review the settings and click “New”.
This will apply the new VoiceMail retention setting.
Conclusion: I really highly suggest exploring the Managed Content Settings feature of Exchange. It’s a very flexible and powerful new way of handling compliance and archiving issues from within Exchange itself.

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