6 Tips For Building an Effective Email Retention Policy

email retentionEmail plays a vital role in modern business. It’s used to share ideas, discuss decisions and communicate changes. Without it most modern businesses couldn’t function. All that means is that email retention is another vital business function. Because emails are vital documents, they need to be retained just like every other important document.

Email archive solutions can help you to ensure that your emails are retained in line with legal and regulatory requirements. But there are other measures that can aid in keeping your email records in compliance. Key among those is an email retention policy.

 1.     Create a Policy

The first step is the biggest one; you need to create an actual email retention policy. Many companies make the mistake of assuming everything will be fine. They leave it up to their employees to manage their own email and assume that the important emails will still be there if required.

 2.     Manage Deletes

Unsurprisingly, the biggest email retention problem is the potential for important emails to be deleted. Your policy needs to create strict guidelines for the deletion of business email. The simple rule of thumb is ‘if in doubt, don’t delete.’

 3.     Set Retention Periods

Each department, and each document type needs to have it’s own set retention period. There are existing legal guidelines that you can follow here. It’s advisable to add a little extra time on top of the legal requirement, to ensure there are no mistakes.

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 4.     Be Consistent

It’s important that these rules are applied across all departments and at every level of the business. Email retention policy only works if it’s applied to the whole business. The biggest mistake you can make is assuming some departments don’t need to retain email or that others don’t need to be required to do so.

 5.     Communicate the Policy

Once you have an email retention policy in place, you need to make sure all of your staff are aware of it. You also need to ensure they all sign up to follow it. That means direct contact with existing staff and inclusion in a staff handbook for new hires.

 6.     Enforce it

When you have a policy and an informed workforce, you need to ensure that policy is followed. That means email retention needs to be monitored at all levels, with responsibility placed upon individuals to manage sections of the company.

Having an email retention policy can be a lot of work and it doesn’t always workout as planned. However implementing an effective email archive solution takes care of all of that and can guarantee your business’ ability to deal with eDiscovery and regulatory requests. Without one, you might still be able to manage those requests. But then again, you might not.

Using an email archiving appliance has many benefits over traditional storage units. We have put together a white paper of 10 benefits that email archiving can offer you and your business. Download it Now!

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