Site retention in SharePoint is governed by site policies. In SharePoint 2013, site policies have been improved. There is a new concept within SharePoint 2013 regarding sites: Site Closure. When a site is closed it is essentially ignored by SharePoint in regards to displaying its existence, however, the site may still be accessed via URL.
· Site policies are created at the site collection level but then are applied at the site level (including the site collection root site).
· Closure of a sub-site does not prevent any usage of the site and essentially places it in a deletion countdown state. Closure of a site collection, however, makes the site collection read-only (this includes any sub-sites).
· Deletion of a site (or site collection) automatically removes sub-sites.
· Site owners may postpone deletion for a specified period of time (controlled by the policy)
Close and Delete Sites Automatically
Creating a Site Policy
Site policies are created at the site collection level but then may be applied to underlying sub-sites. To create a new site policy, follow these steps:
1. Navigate to the site collection where you would like to create the site policy.
2. Select Site Settings from the Settings menu (gear icon):
3. Under the Site Collection Administration section, click on Site Policies:
The Site Policies page appears.
4. Click on the Create link at the top of the page. The New Site Policy page appears:
5. Enter a name for the policy and select Close and delete sites automatically. Various options appear.
Close Event: The close event is based on a specified period of time after site creation. It may be in Days, Months, or Years. For testing purposes I chose 1 day.
Deletion Event: The deletion event is based on a specified period of time after site closure. It may be in Days, Months, or Years. For testing purposes I chose 1 day.
Deletion email notification: You may choose to send an email to the site owner within the specified time to warn about future deletion of the site.
Follow-up notifications: You may choose to send follow-up notifications warning of site deletion based on the specified recurrence.
Deletion Postponement: You may elect to allow site owners to postpone deletion for the specified period of time.
6. Optional: Site Collection Closure. You have the option of closing the entire site collection when the policy is applied. Site collection closure places the site collection in read-only mode.
7. Click OK to create the new policy. The new policy is created and appears in the Site Policies listing:
Applying a Site Policy to a Site
Once the site policy is created at the site collection level, it may be applied to sub-sites that exist within that site collection. To apply a site policy to a sub-site, follow these steps:
1. Navigate to the sub-site where you would like to apply the site policy.
2. Select Site Settings from the Settings menu (gear icon).
3. Under Site Administration click on the Site Closure and Deletion link:
The Site Closure and Deletion page appears:
4. Select the site policy to apply from the Site Policy drop-down:
5. Click OK. The policy is applied to the site.
6. If you click on the Site Closure and Deletion link again, you will see the Site Closure and Site Deletion results from the policy:
I clicked the postpone button so the site would not be deleted right away.
Results of the Site Closure
When a subsite is closed, it can still be accessed by users and modifications may occur. If the deletion of the site is coming soon (I believe within 30 days), there will be a message at the top of the screen:
When a site collection is closed, it can still be accessed by users but NO modifications may occur. The site collection becomes read-only. A notification of the read-onlystate and the deletion appear on the top of a site collection page:
Run a Workflow Automatically to Manage Site Closure
Although the automatic closure and deletion looks great, we need more control and functionality. One of the other site policy Site Closure and Deletion options is to “Run a workflow automatically to manage site closure, then delete them automatically”.
When this option is selected, a drop-down to select the workflow appears:
The workflow may run on a recurring schedule if the site is not closed.
For our purposes, we need the workflow to perform the following actions:
1. Send email to the site owner asking whether they are still using the site
2. Process the owner’s answer of yes or no*
3. If yes - do nothing - let policy kick off workflow again next year
4. If no:
a. Remove all permissions from site (except System Account)
b. Mark site as closed - site policy will then manage automatic deletion
This will most likely require either a) custom workflow activities for SPD Workflows or b) Visual Studio workflow. I am currently having issues getting SP Designer 2013 running properly but will update this post once I move forward with additional site retention proof-of-concepts.
*currently not sure how the user will interact with the workflow