Email Data Retention Policies for Businesses – Best Practices

Home»Blogs»Vaultastic»Email Data Retention Policies for Businesses – Best Practices

Email Data Retention Policies for Businesses - Best Practices

Emails hold legal importance since they are the primary form of communication and data transfer in the business world.

And emails are electronic evidence in court disputes. 

Some governing and regulatory bodies also require your business to retain emails for long periods. 

Therefore, creating an email retention policy has become essential for all businesses, irrespective of their size. 

In the following, you’ll find seven email data retention best practices for compliance readiness and cost optimization that you can use to create your business’s email retention policies. 

What is an Email Retention Policy?

An email retention policy is not about retaining every email that has ever been sent or received by your business emails. 

Preserving every email is the function of archiving.

An email retention policy governs archiving practices.

Some users may need lifetime retention of email, some may need seven years, or some may need just a few months.

It is about classifying users/mailboxes according to the criticality of information they carry to determine the retention period for specific sets of users/vaults.

Related: Why Archive Email

Why is a Company Email Retention Policy Important?

Email communication is an integral part of operating a company. And 60% of emails carry business-critical information (IDC). 

Hence, while data is the new currency, it is also vulnerable.

Therefore, by having a company email retention policy, you safeguard your company’s key asset, information. 

And you reduce data-related risks and can leverage the knowledge and information in your emails for business gain.

Any company can run into legal trouble. It is not always necessary for them to be on the wrong side of the law. Other people may have malicious intent to disrupt your business. But a firm email retention policy will protect you during litigations. 

By simply having email retention policies in place, you are already on the right side of the law because many legal regulations require you to have email retention policies for the same reason, to safeguard against legal trouble. 

IP protection, communication supervision, and compliance, amongst others, are vital uses for preserving business-critical email information.

Seven Email Retention Policy Best Practices for Private Companies/Businesses

The following are the seven best email retention practices you can implement when formulating your email retention policies. 

1. Research on All Industry and Government Regulations

Industry regulations and compliances are the foremost reason why email retention policies for private companies exist

Therefore, you must research based on the country and industry your company operates. 

Delve into the details of what emails and documents you must retain, for how long, in what form, and more. 

Multiple regulatory authorities govern private companies, so research separately for each before you start working on defining your email retention policies. 

2. Create User Sets

How vital is a specific employee’s email is an important question. 

Many organizations get stuck as there is no clear definition or outline for classifying users and their emails. 

Going through every email could be an arduous task, but it will become much easier if you create user sets and assign importance to their emails. 

For example, an email from senior management is more important than an email from the clerical department. 

You can add more classifications in the user sets like the information in the email, structure, language, attachments, etc.  

3. Assess Retention Timelines 

Industry regulations and compliances require you to retain your emails for a specific time frame. Learn more about data protection and privacy regulations worldwide.

Since multiple authorities regulate private companies, each may have a different time frame. 

These can change whenever the authority decides to change its policy. Stay on top of this information and assess the retention timelines of each head. 

Seven years seems to be the number most experts suggest, so use this figure as a benchmark for email retention. 

4. Create Email Retention Policies

Now that you have all the research and detailed information to get started and have created user sets, you can begin creating your company email retention policy. 

Every industry and every company are different, so you must consider your company’s operations and their peculiarities. Some key things you may need to address are: 

  • Access the coverage of company email usage across employees. This information helps you determine the scope and budget for the email retention solution.
  • The strategy is to map your user sets and the email retention policy for each group. 
  • Differentiating between user sets that can work with periodic manual archiving and user sets where ALL emails need to be captured automatically at the source. This decision typically links to the criticality of the user set.
  • Defining retention exceptions
  • Email archiving residency and retrieval processes. 

5. Train Staff in Implementing Policies

Where your email retention is automatic, you need not worry. 

However, where you need the support of your employees (specific user sets), expecting them to do it ideally would be a mistake. 

You must spend time and money to train users and IT Teams regularly to implement your email retention policies. And follow this up with regular reviews.

6. Deploy Email Archiving Tools & Software

Today, many commercially available email archiving tools and software can implement email retention policies quickly and flawlessly. 

Vaultastic offers best-in-class email archival services that your organization can use for archiving emails. 

Many built-in automation and safety features will make email archiving easy and bulletproof. 

And Vaultastic can be configured to meet the compliance needs of your specific industry

Get a free trial to experience how Vaultastic’s cloud data management platform can implement email retention policies hassle-free and cost-effectively.

7. Practice & Review Regularly

Industry regulations and compliances can completely change or get updated. 

To maintain your compliance postures, you must regularly review and practice your company’s email retention policies. 

This consistent review will help you stay ahead of the curve and facilitate changes as and when they happen.  

When is a good time to have an Email Retention Policy?

With increasing digitization and stringent regulations, “now” is an excellent time to get started if you haven’t already.

The investment in a cloud-based email retention solution has a high ROI.

ROI of a Corporate Email Retention Policy

Though email retention policies are now (nearly) mandatory and need additional investment, the payoff is very high in the long run.

For example, if your company is held legally liable, the retained emails can work as electronic evidence in a court of law and protect your organization. 

You could also consider counter suing using the evidence and recoup expenses caused by frivolous lawsuits. 

Besides risk protection, a well-implemented email retention policy can help you leverage reusable IP and gain a competitive edge in your markets.

You can utilize retained emails when you need access to company knowledge.

Email retention policies can also reduce your company’s carbon footprint, which is a big issue. 

A firm policy gives you the freedom to delete unrequired emails and reduce the load on live servers. 

Wrap Up

Implementing our suggested email retention policy best practices can help your company be compliance-ready and reduce operational costs. 

Emails are an essential form of communication in the corporate world, and email retention policies will only make them better and safer.

Want an in-depth discussion?
Our archival experts are ready to talk to you, one on one to suggest archival best practices, to help you manage email storage better, learn how to make use of all the archived business email for business intelligence and stay ready for regulation compliance.
Ready to evaluate Vaultastic?
Want to experience Vaultastic? Get a first hand feel of how Vaultastic works, sign up for a free trial.
Get all the latest news, tips and articles delivered right to your Inbox.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap
Free Trial