Journaling in Exchange Online For Office 365 – All You Need to Know

Ashish Ratan Singh | Modified: January 11, 2017 | Exchange Online | 6 Minutes Reading


The process of recognizing and identifying any new outgoing or incoming message i.e. journaling is done by the communication system. However, it is performed at mail server. After that, it generates a journal message that contains all information extracted from the new outgoing or incoming message. The journal message is then saved properly and at the time of examination, the reviewers can search and analyze the saved journal messages very easily. Moreover, the main reason behind journaling is to maintain the record of the communication done by the employees through electronic messages. In the previous article, we have discussed an introduction to Exchange Online and in this article, we will discuss Journaling in Exchange Online.

What is Journaling in Exchange Online?

The ability to maintain the record of all communication in an organization is commonly known as journaling. However, email communication is a different type of communication mechanism that is needed to be journaled. Hence, journaling is developed to allow message administrator to store messaging data into a larger journaling solution, while using minimum overhead.

? Journaling Versus Archiving

Mailbox journaling is used to capture and extract all information related to communication done through emails in an organization. On the other hand, archiving is done to reduce the difficulty of storing data by backing it up and stores it to some other location. Moreover, journaling is done when an email is in transit and archiving is done in transit state of an email.

? Email Journaling in Exchange Online

It is the process of extracting information related to the electronic message where an electronic message is any type of electronic communication data structure. Moreover, this electronic message may include messages such as audio message, facsimile messages, text messages, etc. Apart from this, email message also includes social media in it such as chats, tweets, podcasting, pins, audio, video files, posts, etc. Therefore, in order to retain all information corresponding to this media is also necessary. Hence, the journaling in Exchange Online is necessary.

? Information Stored in Journal Message

The information stored in the journal message contains the copy of the actual message content, and all its associated metadata such as time, date, and individuals related to the communication. It also involves some more information like the physical location of the originator/ recipient of the message, class/ category of the message or a computer identifier of the message originator/ recipient. Moreover, a journal message should also retain the transport format of the actual message so that this communication infrastructure can also be used in the future. However, email journaling message is also a kind of email message which contains journaling information either as an attachment or in the body of the journal message.

Why to Journal Mailbox in Exchange Online?

There are two main reasons available that completely justifies the journaling in Exchange Online and are mentioned below:

  • Creating journals helps the organization in how to respond to regulatory, legal and organization compliance requirement.
  • In order to record inbound and outbound messages from an organization or to maintain the communication records, it is necessary to perform journaling.

Different Journaling Options in Exchange Online

In Exchange Server, there is a journaling agent which is an inbuilt agent, focused on transport agent and processes the messages on the Mailbox Server. Journaling in Exchange 2013 and all other versions offers two different options to perform journaling:

  • Standard Journaling: It is configured on a mailbox database. It allows journaling agent to journal all messages located on a specific mailbox database and are sent to and from mailboxes. A user must configure journaling on all mailbox databases to journal all messages to and from all recipients and senders. When a user enables standard journaling, all information is stored in Active Directory and read by Journaling agent only.
  • Premium Journaling: In order to perform more granular journaling with the help of journal rules, one must go for premium journaling. To use premium journaling, one must have Exchange Enterprise client access license (CAL). Rather than journaling all mailboxes, one can configure journal rules to match the organization needs of journaling individual recipients. Whenever a journal rule configured with premium journaling, all its information is also stored in the Active Directory. It can only be applied by the Journaling agent.

Key Aspects of Journal Rules in Exchange Online

There are three main aspects of rules for journaling in Exchange Online i.e. journal rule scope, journal recipient, and journaling mailbox. In this segment of the article, we are going to discuss these three aspect in detail.

Journal Rule Scope

Its main purpose to define the messages that are being journaled by the Journaling agent. One can use journal rule to journal either internal messages only or external messages only or both.

  • Internal Message Only: Journal rules are used to set journal internal messages only that are sent by the recipient in the Exchange organization.
  • External Messages Only: Journal rules are used to set journal external messages only that are sent to the recipient or received from senders outside the Exchange organization.
  • All Messages: Journal rules are used to set journal all messages, which are passed by the organization irrespective of origin or destination.

Journal Recipient

One can also use the journal rule to determine the SMTP address of the recipient that a user wants to journal. The recipient can be distribution group, Exchange mailbox, contacts, or mail user. A user can easily configure a journaling environment that is similar to the organization’s process and meet the legal requirement by targeting a specific recipient or group of recipients with the help of journal rules. Moreover, targeting the specific recipient that is to be journaled, minimizes the storage and other costs of storing a large amount of data.

Journaling Mailbox

The journaling mailbox is used to specify the one or more mailboxes to collect the journal reports. The configuration of the journaling mailbox completely depends on the organization’s policies, legal requirement and regulatory requirements. It contains most sensitive information. Therefore, it is necessary to secure journaling mailboxes, as they store all the messages that are sent to and from the recipient in the organization. The user must generate some policies to control the access to the journaling mailboxes.


Many organization in the financial services, healthcare, insurance must maintain the record of communication which is performed by the employee in its daily business task. In order to capture all information regarding each and every communication, one can journal the mailbox in Exchange 2013 and other versions. Therefore, in this post, we have discussed all the important information to regarding journaling in Exchange Online. A user can use this information to have better understanding about journaling to have a safe and secure communication through electronic messages.