Retention Schedules

Sometimes, for compliance, business continuity, or just good organization, you or your department may need to retain a file or group of files for a set amount of time. For all those same reasons, once that amount of time has expired, you'll want to permanently delete that file.

Box allows us to automate these functions to some degree. Only IT can set retention schedules on folders, but anyone can request that a folder have a retention schedule set by placing a ticket with IT.

 About Retention Policies:

  1. They can only be set on folders, and then any file placed in that folder will have the policy applied.
  2. Policies follow files—if a file is removed from a folder with a policy, the file will continue to obey the policy, unless it's moved to a folder with a longer retention policy, in which case it will adopt that.
  3. When applying a new policy, content already in the folder will be deleted if it meets the retention period selected.
  4. Retention policies cannot be removed or shortened after they have been applied to content.
  5. When a file is moved or copied into a folder with a policy, the clock starts at that moment. Different files can be on different schedules in the same folder. See below to see when a file is due to be deleted.
  6. Once a folder or file has a schedule applied, it cannot be undoneIf a file is moved to a folder with a longer term retention schedule, the file will inherit the new policy.

Today, IT pre-provisions some template retention policy folders per department. They don't have to use these, but it serves as a reminder that these options are available, and departments may find them helpful. Here, we'll see how to view policies in the Box UI using those folders.

My Department Folder


 Departmental Retention Folders


If you open a folder with a retention schedule you'll be able to view more details about the policy applied.


Schedules are applied to all folders in the screenshot above except for External Sharing. The Copier & Scanner folder retains documents for five days. The Permanent Retention folder has an indefinite schedule and should only be used for documents requiring permanent or long-term retention for historical or legal reasons (i.e. NEASC documentation, Bond documentation, Board of Trustee minutes, etc.).

Retention Policy enabled


If you want to see if a policy is applied to a file, simply right click the file and go to Properties > General Info.

General Info


File Policy

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