Email Retention Policy: Best Practices

Instructor: Brianna Whiting

Brianna has a masters of education in educational leadership, a DBA business management, and a BS in animal science.

With email prevalent in so much of our working environment, companies have needed to implement policies in regards to all of those emails. In this lesson we will learn about such policies and some of the best practices to use when implementing them.

Thinking about Email

Email has become so popular that some of us rarely go one day without sending at least one. Even more, most of us are guilty of checking our emails numerous times a day and often as frequently as once every hour. We send and receive pictures, documents, homework, and pretty much anything work, school, or personal related can go through email. While email is convenient, easy to use, and fast, it is not without its dangers or drawbacks. You see, once we send an email, we have no control over it. Recipients can virtually do anything they want with the contents. So what should we do with all of our emails? Do we need to save them? In this lesson we will learn about some policies that can help us to answer these questions.

Basic Considerations

Many of us have an overflowing inbox of emails. Maybe we have saved them because they are important to us. Or maybe we have saved them in case we might need the contents sometime in the future. When it comes to a company, oftentimes business documents, correspondence between customers, and orders are sent via email. Therefore, it makes sense to hold onto those emails so that we can refer back to them whenever we need to. But, instead of just guessing how long an email should be saved, companies have outlined the length of time that emails should and will be saved.

Email retention policies are those policies that basically explain the length of time an email will be archived before automatically being deleted. These polices are overseen by the company and must be in compliance with any government or industry regulations. All emails that are received or sent through the company are covered and automatically deleted after a certain amount of time in a manner that the company sees fit. In other words, the company lays out a policy that dictates when and how all emails will be removed. Implementing an email retention policy helps companies make sure they follow regulations mandated by the government. This in turn helps a company to be better prepared should any legal issues arise or they are ever audited. Such policies also protect the company from unauthorized users breaking into emails and getting a hold of confidential material and information.

Email Retention Policies

So what makes a good email retention policy? What should a company consider when implementing their own? In this section we will look at some of the best practices where email retention is concerned.

Understand the Regulations

Before a company can even begin to use an email retention policy, it must first fully understand the laws and rules of both the government and the industry. Each industry has different regulations particularly where privacy and liability is concerned. Thus, each company needs to fully understand to what regulations they must comply.

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