Mastering Document and Record Lifecycle Management with Microsoft Purview

Our Work | Tech
June 13, 2024

In today’s digital landscape, effectively managing documents and records is not just a matter of convenience; it’s a strategic imperative. Records management for Microsoft Purview helps you achieve your organization’s legal obligations, enables you to demonstrate compliance with regulations, and increases efficiency with regular disposition of items that no longer need to be retained, are no longer of value, or are no longer required for business purposes. This blog will explore how to leverage Microsoft Purview to streamline document and record management, the cost of not having a records management system, and essential tips and tricks for maximizing its benefits.

The High Price of Poor Records Management

Before diving into the functionalities of Microsoft Purview, it’s crucial to understand the repercussions of lacking a robust records management system. While it may be challenging to assign a precise monetary value to your company’s records, the inefficiencies of poor records management can have significant financial consequences. The average cost of a data breach is estimated to be $4.45 million, or $183 per record.

Beyond the costs associated with data breaches, over-retention of records consumes valuable storage space and resources throughout the organization. Therefore, adopting an attitude of “let’s keep everything just in case” is not a viable strategy.

Let’s look at the main cost drivers and risks:

  • Lost Productivity: Employees spend valuable time sifting through disorganized data, hampering productivity, and hindering innovation.
  • Data Breaches: Poor data management practices can expose sensitive information, leading to breaches that damage both finances and reputation.
  • Regulatory Non-Compliance: Failure to adhere to industry regulations not only invites penalties but also erodes trust and credibility.
  • Audit Failures: Inability to produce necessary records during audits can result in operational disruptions and financial losses.

Harnessing Microsoft Purview’s Power

Now, let’s shift our focus to the solution—Microsoft Purview. This innovative platform provides a suite of tools designed to automate document and record lifecycle management, significantly reducing the need for cumbersome manual reviews. According to a research report, an average of 2 billion documents are created daily. Imagine the overwhelming task of managing, labeling, reviewing, and disposing of each one manually—it’s a massive headache.

Relying on end users to correctly categorize records is impractical, as they need to focus on their core responsibilities. Here’s how you can effectively harness the power of Microsoft Purview to automatically retain, delete, and store documents and records in a compliant manner:

  • Auto Labelling: Microsoft Purview’s auto-labelling features empower administrators to automatically apply sensitivity labels to various data assets, including email messages, OneDrive files, and SharePoint files containing sensitive information. By maintaining consistency, defining sensitivity labels clearly, and setting up label policies based on data patterns, organizations can ensure robust data protection effortlessly.
  • Auto Disposition: With auto disposition, organizations can define clear retention policies for different types of records and monitor disposition actions regularly to ensure alignment with organizational policies. This ensures timely disposal of outdated or irrelevant records, preventing clutter and minimizing compliance risks.

Having a defensible disposition policy will explicitly detail the length of time a company will retain certain data and what happens to the data at the conclusion of the retention period. That said, it is important to invest in training and awareness along with monitoring and auditing, so that piles of unstructured and unclassified information don’t continue to proliferate.

Getting the Best Out of Microsoft Purview

Often, companies recognize the value of records management with Microsoft Purview, but are hesitant to transition due to concerns about potential data loss, misplaced files, or malfunctioning disposition processes. There are also uncertainties regarding which data should be retained and which should be deleted.

No amount of savings from reduced offsite storage costs can compensate for the loss of a client if their records are destroyed without proper due diligence, notifications, or appropriate checks and balances. Conversely, over-retaining information that is unnecessary or unwanted by the client can also be problematic. Therefore, it is crucial to establish clear data policies, governance policies, and disposition rules with defined timelines. To mitigate these risks, having a well-defined data governance framework is essential.

To unlock the full potential of Microsoft Purview, organizations should adopt the following best practices:

  • Comprehensive Data Inventory: Maintain a comprehensive inventory of all data assets within the organization to facilitate effective classification and streamlined management. Understand your data landscape and identify important data across your hybrid environment.
  • Regular Audits: Conduct periodic audits of data management practices to identify and rectify compliance issues, thereby enhancing processes and ensuring ongoing compliance. Apply flexible protection actions including encryption, access restrictions, and visual markings​.
  • Training and Awareness: Provide comprehensive training to employees on utilizing Microsoft Purview effectively, ensuring consistency and adherence to established procedures.

What’s New in Microsoft Purview?

Microsoft Purview continues to evolve, offering cutting-edge features and enhancements to address the ever-changing needs of modern organizations. Here’s a glimpse of the latest developments:

  • AI Hub: The Microsoft Purview AI Hub provides intuitive graphical tools and reports to gain insights into AI usage within the organization, enhancing data governance and compliance efforts.
  • Communication Compliance: With features like message summarization using Microsoft Copilot and advanced policy configurations, Microsoft Purview ensures robust communication compliance, safeguarding sensitive information effectively. There are four new AI regulatory templates to help organizations assess, implement, and strengthen its compliance against AI regulations, including the EU Artificial Intelligence Act, ISO/IEC 23894:2023, ISO/IEC 42001, and NIST AI RMF.
  • Compliance Manager: With new AI regulatory templates and enhancements in data lifecycle management, Microsoft Purview empowers organizations to strengthen compliance against evolving regulatory frameworks.
  • Sensitivity Labels: The Microsoft Purview Information Protection client offers improved sensitivity labeling capabilities, including Double Key Encryption (DKE), extending data protection across platforms.
  • Data lifecycle management and records management: Purview provides adaptive protection for content in SharePoint, OneDrive, and Exchange. An auto-labeling retention policy for these locations is automatically created when you use adaptive protection with insider risk management. This enables you to dynamically mitigate the risk of accidental or malicious file deletion.
  • Information protection scanner: A new scanner version from the Microsoft Purview Information Protection client is available and procedural information is updated to use the new PowerShell module. When you upgrade from the Azure Information Protection client, it’s important to follow the upgrade instructions because service names and other components are renamed.
  • Insider risk management: Adaptive protection in insider risk management has been extended to Microsoft Purview Data Lifecycle Management. The data lifecycle management policy that’s automatically created detects users that are assigned an elevated risk level. When a risky user deletes any content from SharePoint, OneDrive, or Exchange Online, the contents are automatically preserved for 120 days.

With Microsoft Purview organizations can navigate the complexities of data governance with confidence, ensuring compliance, mitigating risks, and driving operational excellence. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, Microsoft Purview remains a steadfast ally in the journey towards efficient and secure document and records management.


If you’re not an E5 customer, use the 90-day Microsoft Purview solutions trial to explore how additional Purview capabilities can help your organization manage data security and compliance needs. Start now at the Microsoft Purview compliance portal trials hub. Learn details about signing up and trial terms.

Want to optimize your Records Management Processes?

Book your call with one of our records management experts by July 15th and get 25% off your records management maturity assessment, including an actionable roadmap for improvement.

Additional Resources

On-demand Webinar:

You can learn more about improving records management with Microsoft Purview in this recent webinar. It provides valuable insights into maintaining effective governance and ensuring compliance within Microsoft 365.

Case Study:

A progressive Canadian municipality was reliant on OpenText eDOCS as their electronic document and records management system (EDRMS), but this outdated system did not provide a modern user experience, making it difficult for staff to find information and time consuming to manage the document lifecycle.

The municipality had over 5 million files stored in OpenText eDocs. While the organization largely embraced the idea of moving to Microsoft as a modern and secure solution, the volume of files and the dependance on the current EDRMS for business-critical information posed a challenge.

Seeking to migrate to Microsoft 365, the municipality turned to Elantis Solutions.


Skyrocket your business with Elantis!

Elantis is your trusted partner in revolutionizing your business operations and taking them to the stratosphere. Our modern solutions support content and collaboration, automation and productivity, governance and compliance, organizational change management, and data analytics—ensuring that your organization stays light-years ahead of the competition.

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