How To Add An Online Email Archive In Microsoft 365

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A full email mailbox means you won’t be able to send OR receive emails.  This can lead to a massive issue with contacting clients and co-workers, affecting the business’s workflow. This can have substantial knock-on effects such as damaging client relationships, reducing productivity, and even causing issues with meeting deadlines!

Maybe you don’t want to delete any of your emails, or you use the pst files. Either way, Microsoft have a feature for this very dilemma, which is called the Online Archive Feature.

This means you will no longer have to delete emails or use those pesky pst files. 

Email is such an essential part of our lives. Businesses worldwide use them and many people also have their own personal emails. 

We know people who have collected all their emails from the last 10-20 years! You never know when you might need to refer to an email from 5 years ago, so it is always a great idea to keep a hold of them. 

The issue lies with the mailbox size. after an extended period of time, your mailbox will fill up, and you’ll no longer have any storage. In this position, people usually have to make tough decisions like which emails to delete to keep the function of their mailbox. There is also a problem with really big mailboxes, because of their size, they’re massively going to slow down the performance.

Using .pst Files

A .pst File is similar to using an Email archive. I’m discussing this as an option because I know so many people still use this method. Although it might be a little outdated, it is certainly not an option to overlook, and it usually sits on the Hard Drive on your computer.

There are a couple of issues that come with using .pst files. 

The first issue is that because it sits on your Hard drive, there could be massive repercussions if it fails. You’ll have lost your pst files and your email archives.  It would help if you started thinking about backing up your computer regularly to keep your pst files secure.

The second issue also has to do with sitting on your hard drive. If your data is not stored in the cloud, you will not be able to access these emails unless you sit using your hard drive. This means no access during remote work or in the office/at home. Wherever your hard drive is, your pst files are. 

Both of these issues don’t work with the modern ways of email. Backing up manually can be a very long chore, and having it done automatically would be much easier and massively reduce the risk of losing your files. Plus, Working remotely is becoming increasingly popular, and not being able to leave your hard drive will restrict you from working from home or working away.  

Online Archives

The Second option to assist with more storage is setting up an Online Archive, which you can get with Microsoft 365. Each Microsoft 365 user could have their Online Archive if they wanted.  

An online archive is as it says. It’s an Archive of your emails that is stored online! 

It cures all of the issues you may have, as discussed previously. And because these are stored outside of your mailbox, it keeps your mailbox nice and clean as well as outlook being able to perform much better.  

It also cures the .pst issue as you can import your pst files into your archive. Therefore, you can access it anywhere worldwide as long as you have an internet connection! 

Microsoft 365 Packages

So, how much storage do you actually get?

Well, this depends mainly on the Microsoft 365 licence that you have. Each Licence comes with its differences and strengths. You need to choose the best one for you and your business.

With the Business Basic Package and the Business Standard Package, you will receive a 50GB Online Archive. this is in addition to your 50GB mailbox that you already have. 

50GB is a lot. Most people won’t even touch the sides of this amount. However, we always advice our clients to have a Microsoft 365 Business Premium licence. 

With the Microsoft 365 Business Premium package, you get 1.5 Terabytes of Online Archive. This is again, in addition to the 50GB mailbox you already have.  That is a crazy amount of storage that you will have access to. 

Adding The Online Archive

Enabling your Microsoft 365 Online archive couldn’t be simpler, and now I’ll explain how to go about it. 

Firstly, you’ll need to have Admin access. If you don’t have that you need to be granted access or have someone else do it. 

Once you have accessed the Admin portal, you must go to the ‘Compliance’ Centre. It will then open the Compliance portal, and from there, you can access the ‘Data Lifecycle Management’ as shown above. 

After clicking on the Microsoft 365 option, you will then be able to see the menu tab ‘archive’. This is where you need to go to set up the archive for your email. 

You can see here that there are two accounts, one of which is a test account called ‘Boris.’ 

Looking at the details of the two accounts, you’ll notice that under ‘archive mailbox’, one of the accounts has it enabled, and the test has it ‘disabled.’ 

Select the account where it is ‘disabled’ and click ‘ Enable Archive’

The mailbox now has an Online Archive. So where can you access this?

Well, as you can see below, the Online Archive appears under the mailbox menu on your Microsoft 365 mailbox. 

You will notice that you have an archive folder within your mailbox. This is completely different to the online archive. This archive folder is a part of your mailbox. Many people get confused and tripped up by this. 

You can move your emails by very simply selecting the email, choosing the option ‘move’ and then ‘other folder’ and finding your online archive option. 

Many people use a different method which i will go through with you now. 

What you can choose to do instead of manually moving emails is set up an automatic archive for emails over a certain age.

When an online archive gets assigned a policy. 

The policy can be found in the data lifecycle management ‘exchange legacy’ option. Here you can see that the default MRM policy is 2 years automatic archive. 

To change this in a live environment, select a folder and change their policy to however long you’d like until archiving or change it to never archive. This is shown above. 

Having an Online Archive will mean that your storage on your mailbox will massively free up and improve the performance of your outlook. 

It’s an incredible tool when you don’t want to lose any emails but don’t have the storage to keep them all. 

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