Journal Data in Azure Cloud

If you’re migrating a legacy on premise email archive to Office 365, chances are you also have Exchange journal data you need to migrate as well. Migrating journal data to Office 365 is not as straight forward as migrating standard mailboxes. Office 365 does allow you to migrate journal data into Office 365 active mailboxes, one per custodian, or alternatively, you can create new Office 365 mailboxes (e.g. Journal Mail001, Journal Mail002, Journal Mail003) and store journal data for groups of custodians. Either way, the process is commonly referred to as “Journal Splitting”.

Before you embrace the Journal Splitting technique, it is important to understand two important points with regard to migrating journal data into Office 365. The first point/issue is that Microsoft has stated that you cannot (should not) store journal data in Office 365. Microsoft has stated:

“You can’t designate an Office 365 mailbox as a journaling mailbox. You can deliver journal reports to an on-premises archiving system or a third-party archiving service.”

This comment is clearly referring to new journal data, however, it remains unclear if legacy journal data from an email archive is also prohibited.  Some migration service providers will tell you it’s done all of the time, however we recommend you consult with your Office 365 Account Executive first.

The second important point you should consider is the journal envelope. The journal envelope includes the contents (individual names) for any email distribution lists included in a captured message.  When email is extracted from a journal database, the individual recipient names are moved from the envelope and stored in each message property individually.

The main issue is this: Office 365 has a recipient limit of 500 names per message.  If your company has a distribution list with greater than 500 names (e.g. “All Company” or distribution lists nested inside distribution lists), once split, it will be truncated – losing important (discoverable) data. This results in destruction of data (potential spoliation) – a major problem when responding to an eDiscovery. The bottom line is that if you are under a litigation hold or expect to be (anticipation), journal splitting should be avoided at all costs. As with any data migration, you should consult with your General Counsel before you make a decision to move journal data to Office 365.

Managing journal data with Archive2Azure

The best solution to safely store journal data in the cloud is to utilize Archive360’s Archive2Azure.  Unlike other vendors who “split” journal data and store it in Office 365, Archive2Azure stores the complete journal envelope with all metadata and the full distribution list(s).  Only Archive2Azure gives you the certainty that the full journal envelope for each message is 100% preserved – a critical concern for compliance and legal discovery.

For further information, please read the following blog.


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