Office 365 Email Management for Federal Government IT Agencies

Many Federal government IT agencies are still focused on achieving the goals of the Data Center Optimization Initiative, which includes moving to more efficient infrastructure, such as cloud services and inter-agency shared services.  In response to the unique and evolving requirements of the United States public sector, Microsoft has created Office 365 US Government plans, which many Federal government IT agencies are adopting rapidly. The Office 365 US Government plans are monthly subscriptions and can be licensed to an unlimited number of users.

  • The Office 365 GCC environment provides compliance with Federal requirements for cloud services, including FedRAMP Moderate, and requirements for criminal justice and federal tax information systems (CJI and FTI data types).
  • The Office 365 GCC High and DoD environments deliver compliance with Department of Defense Security Requirements Guidelines, Defense Federal Acquisition Regulations Supplement (DFARS), and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).

Migrating to Office 365 is definitely more efficient and your Federal agency will save the physical space where you previously had an email server. But you will lack the physical access to the location where your Exchange email data is stored.

Having physical access can help in the event you need to retrieve email to hand off in the event of an investigation or job role change.  However, an often overlooked challenge now is transparency, as email that may now exist in Office 365 needs to be sent to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).  In years past, emails would be printed off and sent and stored by NARA.  But with the Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18) issued back in August 2012, agencies are required to manage both permanent and temporary email records in an accessible electronic format by December 31, 2016. 

Identifying which records should be saved can be subjective, which is also why there are “Capstone officials” designated where those individuals should have ALL of their email records retained.  Other records may be identified and stored as well.

Quest Recovery Manager for Exchange can help in this process.  Recovery Manager for Exchange can connect to Exchange Online (as well as the Office 365 GCC) and extract data of “Capstone officials” on a scheduled basis and store it locally into an Outlook.pst file.  It also enables your agency to perform advanced  keyword searches within the message header, message body, attachment content and subject line.  The results can be stored as a .pst file which then can then be sent to NARA so these communications can be archived.

If you would like to see this tool in action, download a free trial of Recovery Manager for Exchange.

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