The importance of email retention policies

The importance of email retention policies

Why do organizations need email retention policies?

Given the complexity and variations present when considering whether or not an email should be retained and, if so, where to store it and how to do that, an email retention policy ensures all employees approach and handle emails with a consistent set of procedures and responsibilities.

The regulatory and legal portions of the retention policy will apply to the entire organization and requirements originate outside the organization’s four walls. Policies on email retained to facilitate collaboration or business continuity would need to be created and guided by the leader of each business unit.

Organizational consistency

A process will not work reliably unless everyone involved does things the same way all the time. By laying out all the expectations and procedures clearly—as well as the consequences for not following those procedures—policies are a key communication vehicle (and often legal or regulatory requirements themselves) to ensure processes are consistent company-wide).

Specific retention requirements

Emails retained for collaboration and continuity purposes don’t have external requirements. Instead, each organization—and often each department within each organization—must set its own email retention expectations and procedures. Sometimes, these expectations are codified into formal policies, particularly if there are HR repercussions for not adhering to the expectations; other times expectations are simply memorialized in procedure documentation.

Organizations providing users with a repeatable and consistent tool for email retention—regardless of the reason—are more likely to see higher compliance than those with different tools and procedures for different retention reasons.

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