When customers embark on a document management process with Office 365, one of the very first initial decisions to be made is whether to take an on-premises or an off-premises approach to managing records. In previous articles on the subject, AvePoint has made no secret of its position that in-place repositories are a more traditional approach, while an in-place strategy is more forward-looking.
However, there are times when adding a move approach as a component of your overall strategy can be useful in certain situations. We’ll take a look.
On-site vs. off-site: a reminder
For those new to the RM space, the concepts of “in place” and “out of place” may be unfamiliar, so let’s quickly recap them:
“Off-site” storage is a legacy approach to digital document management – many readers will be familiar with traditional document repositories of the past, where an external system or storage repository sits outside information location, and items marked as records are sent separately to the repository. This can be seen with legacy dedicated external systems, or even as part of SharePoint’s classic concept of a “records center” which had a completely separate site collection to which records were “pushed”.
While this approach has overcome many of the traditional challenges of legacy document systems (such as file shares), by being able to add additional management and control over file storage and by providing the benefit of “locating or to “centralize” research and management or Records to a single repository, this approach has not adapted well to the evolution of the digital workspace. As our workspaces became more varied and complex, and control and search improved within existing systems, the traditional out-of-place approach began to introduce challenges such as the loss of context of where the document came from, unintended duplication of content across multiple locations, and added complexity in managing user roles/permissions from source to repository.
On the other hand, the “in-place” approach to records management is a more modern approach, using search and controls from the modern technology platform to apply records control policies to the same document in the same place. where the collaboration or work takes place. This has the advantage of keeping security, location and informational context fully intact as well as reducing duplication as policies are applied to the source document in place without the need to move or duplicate it to another location.
Make a Case for Out-of-Place
As mentioned above, AvePoint strongly believes in staying ahead of industry trends and will often recommend customers towards in-place check-in strategies where it makes sense to do so.
That said, while it’s good to have an approach or strategy, that doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptional use cases that pop up from time to time that require adjusting the approach to meet the specific needs of a client.
One such example recently occurred with a customer who was adopting a primarily in-place records strategy for their Microsoft 365 artifacts, but also saw an increase in “disposable” Microsoft Teams workspaces created for ad initiatives. hoc and working from home. This resulted in two major achievements for the client:
- Good lifecycle management rules became imperative to manage the proliferation of teams that were created and not subsequently retired,
- They now had competing goals of wanting to keep records management in place while simultaneously wanting to do “spring cleaning” and delete workspaces that would otherwise hold records in place.
This challenge of wanting to keep their workspace management carved out for continued future growth while recognizing that this was at odds with leaving spaces in place for the long haul led them to AvePoint to revisit their overall approach. records, governance, and lifecycle management in their environment.
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Governance and archives, better together
AvePoint brainstormed a number of alternatives with the customer and offered a relocated component as part of their overall on-premises overall solution, specifically to address the balancing scenario between lifecycle management and records retention for Microsoft Teams. This combined approach would allow the flexibility to maintain an on-premises approach for the majority of their records while accommodating important files within Teams that need to be retained without needing to retain the entire Teams workspace that maintains it. hosts, allowing the Teams workspace to clean up.
This is where governance and archives work hand in hand – one of the main arguments vs a moved policy loses localization context around the original document. Having a strong governance strategy for Microsoft 365 workspaces provides the template for capturing and managing context around workspaces in an organized way, making it easy to leverage in an RM scenario.
For example, the client was able to achieve an outcome that leveraged AvePoint’s suite of cloud offerings for a fully automated end-to-end lifecycle management solution. This included the following aspects:
- Use Cloud Governance to provision and track workspaces like SharePoint and Teams, capturing critical information about ownership, security, and lifecycle policies.
- Use of Cloud Records to manage content on-premises, where applicable
- When a Teams workspace’s renewal period is over, before the team is archived/deleted, all marked recordings are moved to a SharePoint-based long-term recordings repository. This way, they retain critical business information about the workspace they came from, as well as the relevant ownership and context.
As depicted in the example above, while an in-place recordings strategy was appropriate for much of the content in the customer’s environment, they also realized that with the increasing proliferation of Teams workspaces , they didn’t want to keep them all available for decades. ; instead, they preferred to focus on balancing Records’ mandates with the needs of internal use and management. That’s why a hybrid approach of some relocated functionality, coupled with a strong governance-focused initiative to capture and maintain metadata and context around content, is so valuable when creating a strong document management strategy. .
Tim Boettcher is Senior Vice President, Customer Services (US), AvePoint. Originally posted on https://www.avepoint.com/blog/office-365/records-management-2021/