Importing Data for Governance
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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.


Welcome back! In this lesson, we’ll take a look at  the different ways data can be imported for governance. We’ll touch on PST imports, network uploads, drive shipping, and importing third-party data.

In many environments, there is quite a bit of email data stored in PST files. Like any other data, this stuff needs to be governed. Many companies can tell you horror stories about legal issues they ran into by NOT governing email data.

To import PST data, you can use the import service. This allows you to bulk-import PST files into Exchange Online mailboxes. Once the data is in your Exchange Online mailboxes, you can use retention policies to manage how long that mailbox content is retained, by configuring your policies to delete the content after the retention period expires.

To get the PSTs into Office 365 so they can be imported, you can either perform a network upload, or you can use drive shipping.

When you perform a network upload, you are basically doing exactly what it says. You upload your PSTs into a temporary Azure Storage location, over the network. Once the PSTs are in the storage location in the cloud, you can use the Office 365 Import service to import them into Exchange Online mailboxes.

Now, while network uploads CAN work for most organizations, there may be times where the bandwidth necessary to upload PSTs simply isn’t there. In these cases, you can perform drive shipping. This means that you can copy your PSTs a hard drive that’s been encrypted with Bitlocker. You then send the drive to Microsoft. Once Microsoft receives drive, their datacenter people will upload the data to a temporary Azure Storage location in the Microsoft cloud – and then, like in the network upload scenario, you use the Office 365 Import service to import the data into your Exchange Online mailboxes.

Now, as far as third-party data goes, you can even import and archive data from things like social media platforms, instant messaging platforms, and document collaboration platforms. This data can be pulled into Exchange Online mailboxes. Once it’s been pulled into Exchange Online mailboxes, you can govern it with Microsoft 365 compliance tools, including retention policies. 

The image on your screen shows many of the third-party data sources that you can import to Microsoft 365. Notice you can import from social media platforms like Facebook business pages, LinkedIn company pages, and even Twitter. You can also import from instant messaging platforms like Yahoo Messenger and Google Talk.

You might also notice here that you can import from document collaboration platforms like Box and DropBox.

You can also import from CRM platforms and even from BlackBerry.

  • Social. Facebook business pages (preview), LinkedIn company pages, Twitter (preview)
  • Instant messaging. Yahoo Messenger and Google Talk
  • Document collaboration. Box and DropBox
  • Vertical industries. Customer Relationship Management (such as Salesforce Chatter) and Financial Services (such as Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters)
  • SMS/text messaging. BlackBerry


To make these imports possible, Microsoft provides data connectors in the Microsoft 365 compliance center. For example, there is a Facebook connector you can use, a Twitter connector, a LinkedIn connector, and a connector for Instant Bloomberg and for HR data. Microsoft partners can also help organizations that need to import data from not only these sources, but others.

About the Author
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.