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For how long should you keep your emails stored?

An email is very critical in the business world. Many companies are considering how long the emails should be retained, what should be done with it and when it should be deleted.  But these decisions depends on many issues. Companies must develop an effective retention policy and automating solutions for retaining emails. Here are some of the best practices of email retention.

  • The email archiving policy must be part of the overall records management program, that has its own record retention policies.
  • All employees who create, send or receive email messages and attachments must be included in the policy.
  • Data privacy issues should be considered. Employees should not expect any privacy when using company resources for email.
  • The policy must clearly mention how and where email records will be managed, protected and retained.
  • The policy should explain how IT handles exceptions to the retention settings. For example, some countries will require significantly longer retention periods for certain types of records.
  • Users and managers must be trained and technical support must be given when necessary.
  • Compliance with the policy is a must for all employees. It must be part of the internal audit review.
  • It is necessary to review the policy every year to ensure compliance with any changes or new regulations.


There are incidents when business needs to request for past emails. Failure to recover the email can have serious impact on businesses. A number of internal policies and external regulations call for long-term retention and preservation of email. Many business situations can demand recovery of historic messages also.  In order to make sure that organizations can meet both these demands, all organizations from the smallest private companies to the largest government agencies should have a policy for long-term storage of emails. By considering the best practices just mentioned and including any organization-specific element, an email archiving policy can be created.

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