Addressing Exchange Online Archive mailbox of terminated user


I'm looking for advice for archiving an Exchange Online Archive mailbox, or at least getting an understanding of what are current best practices for my scenario.  We have on-premises Exchange 2010.  I have 2 Exchange servers, one with the users' primary mailboxes and one with users' archive mailbox.  Up to this point, we've continued to use PSTs (as we are still using Office 2007).  We're finally moving to Office365, so I get to start getting rid of PSTs.  However, I'm concerned about addressing the data of terminated users.  Currently, we simply export all content from the terminated user's mailbox to a PST and then we put all PSTs for that terminated user into a shared drive that the supervisor can access (assuring access to important content).  With Exchange Online Archive mailbox, I'd like to know what people do to keep content available.  I could disable the account, move all data to the Archive mailbox, and then give access permissions to the necessary parties.  That seems like a good way to waste space on the server, but perhaps necessary?  I could export the content to a PST, but then we're still stuck with PSTs.  I could move the content to Exchange in the Cloud, but this seems like a licensing and access mess.  I could move all content to the supervisor's mailbox, but then that could create a very bulky email environment for the supervisor.  

Anyhow, you get the idea.  What is the best way to deal with this scenario?

Oh, one other thing...  Has MS brought back the ability to use Archive (or similar) to easily archive by date?  That works great now, UNTIL you enable Online Archive for a user's mailbox.

I appreciate any assistance.

Thank you,

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timgreen7077Exchange EngineerCommented:
this becomes a issue that best fits you and your org. we currently do the same, when the user is termed we export the user's mailbox to a pst file. if manager needs access to the pst we just give then a copy of the pst file. you can import the pst to a mailbox in o365 but to import to an archive in o365 there also needs to be a mailbox. you can't have an archive without having a mailbox.

There are also archiving solutions like Enterprise Vault but that's expensive and not worth it in my opinion.

There are really no best practice for your scenario, it's just whatever works for you. I agree that pst files can become a headache but I would set a time limit on how long you choose to keep them so that you don't have them indefinitely.

Just export the user archive and mailbox to pst files should be fine.

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I agree with Tim - most of my clients do exactly this, and we keep the PST files (generally, indefinitely, since all the PST files over, say, three years old, taken up less space than all the ones archived in the last 12 months - or something close to that in most cases).

I tend to take the view that since requests for access are rare, it is best to do something quick and easy up front, and spend more time down the track if and when required - the total time cost is therefore minimised.

Todd NelsonSystems EngineerCommented:
Once you move to EXO, for terminated users, we recommend a few of options based on what you are comfortable with.

  1. Convert user mailbox to shared mailbox.  No O365 license is required for a shared mailbox if its size is less than 50 GB.  However, cannot delete associated user but you can disable it.
  2. Set indefinite in-place hold for mailbox of terminated user, remove license, and disable/delete user.
  3. Export to PST.  This is really a last resort option in my opinion.
timgreen7077Exchange EngineerCommented:
We have all offered possible solutions to the author. closing and assigning points.
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