Microsoft Exchange rolls out improved Message Recall

As announced in their roadmap as early as October 2022, Microsoft has begun to roll out an improved Message Recall function for Exchange.

Message Recall is an old feature that has been in place for years and has seen heavy attempted use. Microsoft estimated in 2019 that Exchange Online users tried to recall messages 800,000 times daily at a 40% success rate; this implies a high rate of disappointment in the feature. As such, Microsoft has begun to rework the feature, with the new version slowly being pushed to users.

Improvements and limitations of Exchange’s Message Recall function

Microsoft claims twice the efficiency of the old Message Recall, with several different options available for making use of the feature. Recipients are also no longer required to be using Outlook for Windows, though the sender attempting a recall is still required to do so.

At the same time, there is a number of limitations still in place; first and foremost among these is that the new 90% success rate touted by Microsoft is still largely limited to internal messages within a network or organization. If the majority of your email traffic is external, your success rate will be lower. This might be a factor in tenants where Teams is the preferred choice for internal communications and email is largely reserved for external communications.

Email Archives increase in importance

The ability of individuals to recall messages with increased rates of success is an important step towards increasing employee quality of life. The feature, going by Microsoft’s old usage numbers, was in demand and dire need of improvement.

At the same time, the ability to recall emails raises potential concerns regarding business continuity and retention of information. The sender being able to recall their messages can potentially lead to situations where individuals or organizations lose access to information they need for continued operations.

The obvious solution to this concern is for companies to institute an email archive which captures emails for future reference if and when access to an email is lost for any reason. Ensuring you use the best archive available to you is a critical first step towards data security and potential data recovery.

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by Matúš Koronthály