What is an email retention policy?
An Email Retention Policy (ERP) is a defined procedure that outlines how long an organization should retain both inbound and outbound email communications within an archive before being removed from a system entirely. Retention and removal actions are automated to reduce the risk of human error and maintain regulatory compliance.
ERPs vary between organizations and industries.
Why do businesses need an email retention policy?
Email retention policies help organizations maintain regulatory compliance and can act as an added layer of data protection. ERPs may include some or all of the following factors:
1. Regulatory Compliance: Helps companies adhere to federal and state data policy regulations.
2. e-Discovery: Enables legal teams to access company records that may be relevant to legal proceedings.
3. Legal Holds: Automatically retains documents and data for a specified period to ensure they are accessible for legal discovery in the event of litigation.
4. Knowledge Management: Allows for the retention of employee documents, including, but not limited to: payroll records, performance reviews, audits, and personal information.
5. Retention Timespan: Optimizes document and data retention length to diminish security vulnerabilities while maintaining regulatory compliance. Retention periods will vary between organizations and can be between one and seven years.
Managing email retention policy is easy with Mimecast
Configuring email retention policy is not a simple feat these days. Email retention requirements evolve quickly, with new and updated regulations issued frequently, and GDPR has added a whole new layer of retention and archiving compliance.
While complying with regulation is critical, email retention policy must also be informed by the needs of legal teams for fast e-discovery and granular litigation hold, as well as the need for IT administrators to monitor mailbox size to optimize storage requirements.
When dealing with email retention policy threatens to overwhelm IT teams already managing multiple priorities, Mimecast can help to simplify email retention management.
Mimecast solutions for email retention policy
Mimecast provides a powerful solution for managing email retention policy in Mimecast Cloud Archive. As a secure and scalable cloud-based service for email and data archiving, Mimecast Cloud Archive creates a centralized repository of email and other corporate data, aggregating information from multiple platforms to preserve digital corporate memory and accelerate development of long-term business insight. Mimecast archives all inbound, outbound and internal email for instance search by users and administrators.
Mimecast Cloud Archive centralizes control of email retention policy, which can be quickly and easily configured from a single web-based console. Granular management of email retention policy enables administrators to set, maintain and enforce policies globally, by group or by individuals, with all changes tracked and fully auditable to guarantee full transparency. Administrators and users alike can use industry-leading search tools to access any archived email within seconds.
Mimecast also simplifies e-discovery and litigation support, providing tools for granular litigation hold, reporting and e-discovery. Mimecast saves three encrypted copies of each email in geographically diverse data centers, along with copies of emails changed by content policy enforcement.
Email retention policy 4 best practices
1. Determine regulatory minimum retention periods for your organization.
2. Organize and segment documentation based on regulatory periods. For example, you can separate based on content (i.e., invoices, sales reports) or by type of use (i.e., financial communication, administrative communication, spam).
3. Draft a policy based on your findings and consult with legal and executive teams to ensure alignment and accuracy. Once completed, send the policy to every employee and make it accessible on a central network for ease of reference.
4. Find an ERP service provider that aligns with your policy and price point.
Benefits of Mimecast's centralized email retention policy management
With Mimecast's solution for email retention policy, you can:
- Simplify management and enforcement of email retention policy.
- Support data security and governance with encrypted copies of emails stored in separate locations.
- Streamline e-discovery and case management with tools to reply to queries and challenges more quickly and efficiently.
- Automate management of mailbox size to reduce storage overhead and minimize the cost of managing infrastructure.
- Give administrators and users fast access to email archives, improving productivity and eliminating calls to IT and the help desk.
- Protect email data with optional Sync & Recovered tools for cloud backup and recovery.
Learn more about email retention and managing email retention policy with Mimecast.
FAQs: Email retention policy
What are some things to know about email retention laws?
Email retention laws vary by industry but generally require organizations to retain documentation for a specific period in the event of litigation.
Failure to adhere and comply with retention policies can result in audits, penalties, and a damaged reputation.
What is the importance of an email retention policy?
Simply put, an email retention policy affords a company legal protection if proof of documentation – whether it be email or internal reports – is required to satisfy legal or regulatory requirements.