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What is the Importance of Email Retention?

Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 November 2016
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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Email retention is a process that involves qualifying and archiving emails in a manner that makes it easy to search and retrieve those electronic documents when and as necessary. While some businesses do not consider the process of email retention important, there are a number of reasons to maintain more than one copy of any business-related email. Those include the compiling of histories of transactions, the management of date and time specific attachments distributed to employees or customers, and in order to comply with governmental regulations that apply to the maintenance of crucial business records for a minimum number of years.

One of the most obvious reasons to engage in email retention is the ability to reconstruct a series of events connected with an employee or a customer through means of any electronic correspondence that occurred. Doing so makes it possible to evaluate the events and determine if something regarding the process could have been improved, or even to verify that a certain document was in fact prepared and sent. When the email archive can be retrieved within a matter of seconds, this can save a lot of time and money in comparison to searching for hard copies that are tucked away in a file cabinet or some storage facility away from the business office.

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As the use of email to provide business documents like contracts or policy changes to interested parties has increased, the need to document when and in what format those documents were transmitted has become increasingly important. This is especially true when proof of those activities must be presented in a court of law. Assuming the email retention strategy does preserve information regarding a confirmation receipt as well as proof that a given document was sent on a specific date and time of day, the business is in a better position to support its claims about what did and did not take place.

Email retention is also helpful when an employee needs to retrieve some obscure data for a client. The ability to access all electronic correspondence connected with that client, and search the data using a reliable software program, can make it possible to find whatever is needed in a fraction of the time it takes to go through hard copies of the letters. This in turn means less inconvenience for the customer and results in a more positive working relationship with that client.

Email retention also makes sense in terms of maintaining key records without taking up a great deal of space. By archiving the emails on some type of data storage device, it is possible to make better use of available office space. While small businesses will find this particularly useful, even larger companies can benefit from devoting less space to housing important documents. In addition, a good email retention program always backs up the main storage with another option. For example, the emails may be located in-house on a main server, but also archived on a remote data storage facility. When this is the case, even some type of disaster at the place of business does not mean the loss of valuable documents, since they can always be retrieved from the remote storage facility.

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