Data retention controls added to Admin Console!

November 16, 2023

Our latest version of ESS (23.11) adds data retention and also includes a responsive mobile view, auditability and more UX polish!

Element Server Suite (ESS) is Element’s flagship offering: a truly enterprise-grade Matrix distribution that lets you run your own secure, interoperable real-time communication, at scale, on your own terms. Think of ESS as the ‘special sauce’ which binds together all the component Matrix projects into a single coherent, supported, scalable deployment - complete with beautiful admin and installation interfaces, unifying all of Element’s enterprise products!

The new 23.11 version of ESS brings a raft of improvements to our Admin Console: the portal through which administrators configure their users, rooms and enterprise capabilities. Today we’re adding data retention controls, full mobile support for administrators, improvements to our audit capabilities and overall improvements to our installation process.

Retention periods for compliance

One of the most popular requests we get from our customers is the ability to set their own retention period within Element. Data retention rules and regulations are impacted by multiple factors such as country of processing, categories of personal data, industry-specific regulatory obligations and all the rest of it.

Element Server Suite enables you to define your organization's data processing behavior to comply with the likes of GDPR. Perhaps best of all, we’ve made it super easy!

Just head to the configure tab, select your server and enable the data retention toggle. From there you can select how long you want to keep your data for, in days.

Responsive mobile admin view

Most of our customers rely on Element as their mission-critical, incident response or out of band, secure communications platform. Crises pay little attention to office hours, so our new mobile view for Admin Console makes it easy for you to admin on the fly from your mobile device.

This is the mobile view for an administrator in the process of managing users on their server.

Audit capability enhancements

ESS gives administrators the ability to audit the conversations on their homeserver for the purpose of meeting compliance requirements (similar to corporate email, for instance). In this ESS release, we are shipping some serious improvements to our audit experience. Admin Console now directly presents the administrator with a list of rooms on your server. Previously admins had to log in as a special ‘audit’ user via Element Web but that is no longer necessary.

You can browse messages in rooms, search for a room, or export the contents of a room. This is useful for many reasons including finding further details on any reported events, legal holds, and e-discovery.

Here’s what it looks like to browse into the room:

A list of auditable rooms on your server. Selecting a room from the list allows users to view the message history.

And here’s how to export conversations from a room.

Once logged in, an administrator can browse messages in specific rooms.

Simplified installation process

We want to make sure that you are able to get up and running with Element Server Suite as quickly as possible. This release contains several enhancements to improve the overall usability of our installer. Here we’d like to show you the new start and end screens for installation, which help give you an idea of what you need to do at both of those stages in your journey:

Before heading straight into the Installer flow, there’s some tips and tricks that will help get you through.
On finishing the installation process you’re brought to your new Admin Console. From here, you can change your config, add integrations, or access your admin controls.

Our tagline is ‘Be in your element’. It reflects that Element Server Suite allows you to customize your setup around your organizational requirements. IT administrators can configure absolutely everything: from where you host your data to rebranding the actual end-user app itself. And today we’ve taken it a step further by introducing data retention, a responsive Admin Console view, auditing enhancements and simpler installation.

Check out Admin Console and get in touch if you want to learn more about the benefits of decentralized, real time communication.

Karl Abbott
Karl Abbott is the Product Manager for Element On-Premise and is passionate about private and secure communications.

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