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Create a preservation policy

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Small Business
Applies to:


Before you can put backup data on hold, you must define at least one preservation policy. The preservation policy defines which files are included in the legal hold and how long to keep files under legal hold. This article describes how to create a preservation policy that you can apply to different legal matters. (In the Code42 Legal Hold web app, a legal matter is the collection of all the custodians and backup data associated with a litigation.)

Legal hold is a part of the eDiscovery process undertaken in response to actual or prospective litigation. For information on how to leverage the Code42 platform for eDiscovery, see our eDiscovery Integration Guide.


  • You must create a preservation policy before you create a matter.
  • Consult with your legal team before creating a preservation policy. The settings and configuration choices should align with the needs of your legal and compliance teams.
    • For example, to back up files outside the user's home directory, you may decide to include the device's entire main drive.
    • As another example, if the standard backup policy is to purge deleted files after a period of time, you may decide to keep deleted files forever for a legal hold.

Preservation policies and backup sets

The preservation policy for the legal hold creates backup sets that have some features you should take into account:

  • The preservation policy's frequency and version retention settings take precedence over previous retention settings.
  • The preservation policy's filename exclusion policy overrides the filename exclusions of all other backup sets.
  • If there is more than one legal hold placed on a user (and the legal holds have different preservation policies), only the filename exclusions shared by both preservation policies are applied.

Before you begin

The steps in this tutorial require one of the following roles:

  • Legal Admin (preferred role)
  • A custom role with appropriate permissions. Users with the legalhold permission are able to view all legal holds.
    Copy the Legal Admin role to create an appropriate role.

Step 1: Create a preservation policy

  1. Sign in to the administration console.

  2. From the app switcher in the upper right, choose Legal Hold.
    Note: The first time you sign in to the Legal Hold web app, you are prompted to create a preservation policy.
    Legal Hold selected in the app switcher
  3. From All Matters, click the action menu create preservation policy icon , and choose Manage preservation policies.
  4. From All Preservation Policies, click the create preservation policy icon (+) .
  5. Enter the preservation policy's name in the Create Preservation Policy dialog.
    The new preservation policy is created and appears in the list of policies.

All preservation policies

Step 2: Configure general backup schedule

Default general backup schedule is recommended
The default schedule is usually optimal for legal holds. Backups run continually by default. Changes to the default schedule may cause backups to take longer to complete.

To choose the backup schedule for this preservation policy:

  1. From the list of all preservation policies, click the name of the policy.
  2. In the General Backup section, click Edit.
  3. Set backups to run always or between specified times.
  4. Change the schedule for file verification scans if necessary.
  5. Click Save.

Step 3: Configure file selection

Critical setting
The file selection for the policy is a critical setting. Consult with your legal and compliance teams to decide on the optimal settings. If you do not modify this setting, only the file selection of the custodian's organization (or root org) and the custodian's customized file selections (if allowed) will be backed up.
  1. In the File Selection section, click Edit.
  2. Under Included files, click Select file path.
    Choose substitution variables corresponding to the folders and files you wish to include.
  3. (Optional) Under Excluded files, click Select file path.
    Choose substitution variables corresponding to the folders and files you wish to exclude.
  4. Click Save after updating the settings.

Step 4: Configure filename exclusions (optional)

Adding exclusions reduces data collection
By default, no files are excluded from the preservation policy's backup set. Adding exclusions reduces the amount and types of data preserved by the legal hold.
  1. In the Filename Exclusions section, click Edit.
  2. Enter the file extension or regular expression to exclude. A regular expression allows you to search for particular patterns of text. Talk to your system administrator if you require help creating regular expressions.
    • Choose the Regular Expression option to enter a regular expression rather than a file extension.
    • Alternatively, you can import filename exclusions:
      1. Choose the operating system that the exclusion applies to.
      2. Click Import.
        The Import dialog appears.
      3. Insert the filename exclusions from a text file into the dialog.
  3. Click Add.
  4. Repeat steps 1 - 4 for each file exclusion or regular expression.
  5. Click Save after you have added all filename exclusions.

Step 5: Configure frequency and versions

Defining the retention policy
The frequency and version settings are critical for any preservation policy. Consult with your legal and compliance teams to determine the best retention policy for data that is placed on legal hold.
  1. In the Frequency and Versions section, click Edit.
  2. Set the frequency at which versions are saved.
  3. Change the version retention sliders to the desired values:
    • Last week: Indicates which versions to keep from last week (not including today).
    • Last 90 days: Indicates which versions to keep from last 90 days (not including last week).
    • Last year: Indicates which versions to keep from last year (not including the last 90 days).
    • Previous years: Indicates which versions to keep from previous years (not including last year).
    • Remove deleted files: Period after which deleted files are removed from the archive.
  4. Click Save.

Step 6: Configure advanced settings (optional)

Defaults recommended
We recommend that you do not change the advanced settings for a legal hold.
  1. In the Advanced Settings section, click Edit.
  2. Change the advanced settings to the desired values:
    • Data De-duplication: Controls data de-duplication rate.
    • Compression: Controls how your backup is compressed.
    • Encryption enabled: Indicates whether encryption is turned on.
    • Watch file system in real-time: Indicates whether files are constantly monitored for changes.
    • Back up open files: Indicates whether files that are open (in use) at the time of back up will be backed up.
  3. Click Save.

Next steps

After creating a preservation policy, you can apply the policy to a matter. Learn more about creating a matter.

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