Integrating Exchange Server 2013 and Skype for Business Server 2015 (Part 4)

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Having the integration in place between Skype for Business and Exchange Server 2013, allows the administrator to configure the archive in Skype for Business. The archive feature enables the Instant Messaging data and Web Conferencing transcripts to be stored in Exchange Server 2013. As a result that stored information can be retrieved through eDiscovery capabilities.

Skype for Business client and archive feature…

Some administrators may confuse the property to save the IM conversations where it is available to the end-uses with the Skype for Business Archive, and that is not the same thing at all!

If the user enables the option Save IM conversations in my email Conversation History folder (Figure 01), then all IM information will be stored in the Conversation History. That is a nice feature to have and the users can go there any time to recover information, no harm in configuring this one.

Figure 01

The administrator also has the ability to use a Client Policy and configure that option to enable on all clients. The following cmdlet can be used and that will apply to all users that do not have a specific Client Policy (if they have, just configure the same attribute on the additional policies). The result after the policy is applied will be similar to Figure 02.

Set-CSClientPolicy Global –EnableIMAutoArchiving

Figure 02

In order to achieve the real Archive feature in Skype for business we need to configure it at the server level and enable legal hold on the Exchange Server side.

The first step is to define what is going to be archived, and then enable the integration. Logged on the Skype for Business Control Panel, click on Monitoring and Archiving, and then click on Archiving Configuration tab.

The Archiving Configuration can be done at Site and Pool level. For the current scenario, we are going to enable only at the Global level, which will make all changes available to all users.

In the Archive Setting, define which type of data will be archived (in our Article we are going to use both IM and web conferencing sessions), and select the option Exchange Server integration, click on Commit (Figure 03).

Figure 03

The second step is to configure/create an Archiving Policy, which can be defined at Global, Site and User level. For this article, the Global one will be enough, select the item from the list and click on Edit. In the new page, make sure to select at least one of the options Archive internal communications and/or Archive external communications (Figure 04)

Figure 04

Configuring Litigation Hold…

In order to have the Skype for Business data archived on Exchange Server 2013, the administrator must configure litigation at the mailbox level.

As you may already know, there are a couple of ways to enable litigation hold on a mailbox using Exchange Server 2013: using litigation hold (old style) and in-place hold.

In order to configure in-place hold, these are steps required using Exchange Admin Center (EAC). That is my preferable method because as soon as the in-place hold is created, the process for additional mailboxes requires only editing the existent one and adding them accordingly.

  1. Open Exchange Admin Center (EAC), click on Compliance management, and then on in-place eDiscovery & hold tab and click on +. In the Name and description page, define a name for the new in-place hold that we are creating, and for this article, we are going to use VIP Archive and click Next.
  2. In the Mailboxes page, select Specify mailboxes to search, and click on + to add the desired mailboxes to the new in-place hold, and then click Next (Figure 05).

Figure 05

  1. In the search query page, just click Next.
  2. In the In-place Hold settings page. Select the option Place content matching the search query in selected mailboxes on hold, and select the second option and define the duration in number of days for the legal hold and click on Finish.

If you prefer the old style, open Exchange Admin Center (EAC), click on Recipients and double click on the desired mailbox. In the new page, click on mailbox features, and scroll down to the Litigation hold section. Click on Enable to configure the litigation hold for that specific account, as shown in Figure 06.

Figure 06

In the new page, the administrator can define the duration of the litigation hold, and define notes and a URL that will be displayed to the end-user using either Outlook or OWA, as shown in Figure 07.

Figure 07

When Exchange and Skype for Business Server are on the same forest, we do not need to configure the Archive at the Skype for Business user level. However, for environments where they are in different forests, then an additional step is required which is the configuration at the user level using Skype for Business Management Shell.

The attribute that controls the archiving on Skype for Business is ExchangeArchivingPolicy. In our current article series, we have a single forest, hence we do not need to configure such property. If we run the cmdlet list below all the Skype for Business Users will have Uninitialized on that property (Figure 08).

Get-CSUser | ft Name,ExchangeArchivingPolicy -AutoSize

Figure 08

Testing the Archive solution…

Now that we configured the litigation hold on the users that will be used for the testing (Number6 and Number2), we can start a simple conversation as shown in Figure 09.

Figure 09

Time to analyze that conversation from the archive perspective. For an end-user that has the history feature enabled on their client, the conversation will be stored on the conversation folder, as shown in Figure 10.

Figure 10

However, the Skype for Business archive is stored in the Purges folder, underneath Recoverable Items, which is not visible to the end-user. We can retrieve that information using either the built-in eDiscovery tools or when we export the content to a PST (Figure 11).

Figure 11


In this article, we went over the process to configure and enable archive when the integration between Skype for Business and Exchange Server 2013 is in place.

If you would like to read the other parts of this article series please go to:

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