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DEMO: Create a Retention Label


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In this course, we take a look at data governance in Microsoft 365 and what it's used for. We’ll take a look at retention labels and retention policies, covering what they are and what they do.

You'll also learn the different ways you can import data into Microsoft 365. Finally, we'll take a look at governance reports in Microsoft 365.

Learning Objectives

By the time you finish this course, you should have a good understanding of data governance in Microsoft 365.

Intended Audience

This course is intended for those who wish to learn about the basics of Data Governance in Microsoft 365.


To get the most out of this course, you should already have some basic experience with Microsoft 365.


Hello and welcome back. Since we've talked a little bit about retention labels and retention policies, what I figured I'd do here is walk through a demo or two showing you how to create retention labels and retention policies.

So on the screen here, I'm logged into my Office 365 Security and Compliance Center. And I'm logged in as the global admin for my organization. Now, what we'll do here is create a retention label. And then in the next demonstration, what we'll do is create a policy that publishes that label. Now to do this, what we need the do is select Classification here in the left navigation pane.

If we select the Classification dropdown, we can see we can define sensitivity labels, retention labels, and we can define sensitive info types. So for this exercise here, we'll go into retention labels. And then from here, we have two tabs. We have labels and label policies. Notice here that you can create label policies to publish one or more labels to our users' apps like Outlook, SharePoint, and OneDrive.

If we go back to the labels tab, we can see here, this is where we can define our labels. Now I already have a retention label here that I created for another lab, but what we'll do here is go ahead and begin the process for creating a new label. And we simply click Create a label. And then from here, we need to provide a name and then an optional description for admins and an optional description for users.

Now, if we hover over the icon for description for admins, we can see here that this is the description that will appear only to admins who are managing this label within the compliance center. If we click the icon for description for users, this is the description that users see in their applications. So what I'll do here is I'll just call this Retention1. And for this exercise, I'll just leave the descriptions blank. I'm not too worried about the descriptions for this demo here. And we'll go ahead and next it. Now the file plan descriptors here are optional.

Now what I'm gonna do is bounce over to a page here I have open, and this is the Microsoft documentation on file plan. And what this does, our file plan, what file plan does is provide some additional management capabilities for your retention labels. You'll notice here that it says here that you can bulk create retention labels by importing information from a spreadsheet. You can export information from your existing retention labels.

File plan descriptors also support additional and optional information for each label. If we scroll down here, we can read about accessing file plan, navigating the file plan, but it's not required. And I'm not gonna dive into file plan here to go through the process of creating a basic retention label, because it's really not necessary. So we'll go ahead and minimize this.

And what we'll do here on this file plan descriptors here, I'll just show you here that if you select the dropdown for a reference ID, you'd have to create a new file plans descriptor reference ID. And then you can take you through here and follow the wizard here. If we cancel this, if we select the dropdown for business function, we could select the business function or department that this is gonna refer to.

If we select the category here, again, it's loosely aligned with different departments. The authority type here could be either business, legal, regulatory, or we could add our own. And then the provision or citation would be, what is the regulation we're trying to accommodate here with this retention label? Is it a Commodity Exchange Act? Is it Sarbanes-Oxley? OSHA, or we can create our own. We'll leave these in their default blanks here and we'll next it.

Now on the label setting screen, I don't know why this tool tip shows up by default. We have an option here to turn on retention. If we click on the tool tip now, what we do here is we turn this toggle on if we want to apply retention settings to this label. Now what that means is when the label gets applied to content, retention settings then flow down to that content. So typically that's what you would do here.

So we'll turn retention on. And then when we do that, we have some information we need to provide. We need to tell the label how long we want to retain the content it applies to. We can retain it for a specific number of years, days, or months. We can retain it forever. And then obviously the number of years, days, or months we want to retain it for. And then we need to tell the label what we want to do after we reached that retention period. We can delete the content automatically. We can trigger a disposition review, which I talked about previously, where someone gets to look at it before the content is deleted, or we just leave it as is.

So what we'll do for this default label here is we'll just leave it at seven years. We'll let it do nothing. I don't want to be deleting anything from my tenant here that I'm not paying attention to. And then this other dropdown here, retain or delete the content based on when it was created, when it was last modified, when it was labeled, or based on an event. And again, this is something else I mentioned where if an employee is terminated, maybe you want to get rid of all their content, or you want to keep their content. That's where you would base it on an event. We'll just leave the default here as when it was created.

And then this last option here is classify content as a record with this label. We have a couple options here. We can classify it as a record, or not classify it as a record. If we hover over the icon here, we could see that if content gets classified as a record, users aren't going to be able to edit or delete the content or change or remove the label. They'll be able to edit the metadata of the content. But since it's a record, it kind of gets locked down with that. So we'll leave this set to no, and we'll go ahead and next it.

And then what we can do is review our settings. If everything's good here, we can create the label. And there you have it. We now have Retention1 created with a retention period of seven years. So with that, we'll call it a wrap for this demonstration. I'll see you in the next one where we will publish the label with a label policy.

About the Author
Thomas Mitchell
Learning Paths

Tom is a 25+ year veteran of the IT industry, having worked in environments as large as 40k seats and as small as 50 seats. Throughout the course of a long an interesting career, he has built an in-depth skillset that spans numerous IT disciplines. Tom has designed and architected small, large, and global IT solutions.

In addition to the Cloud Platform and Infrastructure MCSE certification, Tom also carries several other Microsoft certifications. His ability to see things from a strategic perspective allows Tom to architect solutions that closely align with business needs.

In his spare time, Tom enjoys camping, fishing, and playing poker.