ITS has shed 24,000 Office 365 email accounts in a project involving groups across and outside the department and requiring a University policy change. Completed in November, the Email Capstone project also sets the stage to address further data retention and deletion needs within Office 365, such as for OneDrive.

Richard Hill
Richard Hill

“I actually thought the number was going to be even larger,” Richard Hill, who served as project manager and with ITS Global Systems Support, said of the 24,000 accounts.

Capstone accounts archived

Some University departments have deprovisioning processes in place — ITS does — but others don’t. Email accounts of “capstone” individuals, such as the Chancellor and CIO, must be retained.

In 2016, ITS began pursuing a way to delete inactive email accounts while retaining those that need to be archived. If Carolina held onto everything in Office 365, ITS would have to buy more licenses.

Improves records management

The University needed to create a policy to permit a new model of records management for email data and to permit ITS to purge most employee email accounts that were no longer active. Working closely with ITS, University Archives moved this policy change forward, submitting it at the beginning of the summer. Now ITS can purge non-capstone employee email data five years after termination of affiliation on a rolling basis.

“Capstone is a great example of collaboration between units to solve operational problems and use resources efficiently,” said Kim Stahl, IT Policy and Process Lead at ITS. “The Capstone process will help us focus on the most valuable records of the University and make those easier to preserve while reducing a lot of complexity.”

In addition to Hill and Stahl, key contributors included Mark Cross of ITS Global Systems Support, Celeste Copeland, Jan Tax and Shumin Li of Identity Management; Kathleen O’Brien and Kim Crispin of Enterprise Applications; and from central Human Resources, Rich Arnold, Jennifer Bartush and Megan Keefe.

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