There is no single answer to the question of how long emails should be kept, but the specialists at Cryoserver can help you to work out exactly how long is right for your business.
Deciding the correct retention period
The type of information your business deals with day-to-day will be the deciding factor. For example, your company is obliged to keep all information relevant for VAT purposes for as long as 6 years. That means that any emails dealing with VAT must be kept for that period as a minimum. Of course financial records aren’t the only pieces of information subject to these kinds of law. Even emails that contain information about such regular matters as sickness records or maternity pay are required to be kept for 3 years.
Many of our customers find that because of these legal provisions, which can often include matters as routine as information on pension schemes, it is safest to keep emails for around 7 years. This gives your company a year on top of the common 6 year minimum retention period, just in case.
However, in some cases 7 years is still not long enough. For example, emails relating to shareholder’s meetings and the decisions, resolutions and members require a 10 year retention period thanks to the Companies Act of 2006.
But what about data protection?
The legislation doesn’t simply deal with periods of time, it also has other important aspects. If your organisation collects personal information, then you are expected to keep it secure and accessible. For example, new EU GDPR regulations state that “Information that does not need to be accessed regularly, but which still needs to be retained, should be safely archived or put offline.”
Cryoserver have over 15 years of experience in email compliance and not only understand a range of GDPR issues, but have a tool set to help you address them and make sure your organisation is keeping the emails it should. We can help you to manage your information securely and demonstrate ‘privacy by design’ to fit perfectly with your company’s needs.
Problems with high volume email archiving
When you begin to save emails for longer periods of time, folders can become clogged, mail servers can become slow and in the event that you actually need to track back a few years for a relevant email, it can be almost impossible. These problems will only become more serious as the quantity of email continues to grow.
A common technique that we found have users attempting was the creation of PST files. Apart from being famously unreliable, PST files cause a whole range of problems for staff. PST files will typically be saved on hard drives within an employee’s laptop, which means sensitive information is stored locally, and is likely to leave your control causing a potential data leak that could cost your organisation either in reputation or finances. (Read more about why PST files are unreliable here.)
Access to emails and the sensitive information that builds up in your email archive poses a few problems. Not only will your business have to protect against attacks from outside the company, but it will also have to ensure that the people within the company who have access to the store are properly authorised to do so. Security issues come thick and fast with many email archiving systems, but not Cryoserver.
The solution to email archiving problems
Cryoserver stands alone amongst its competitors in neutralising all of these problems. The lightning fast, intuitive search system allows for easy navigation of your backed up emails, regardless of how many you might have. Employees in all departments find it easy to use the search system with no training at all and can put together extremely specific searches with a great deal of ease. As for crammed mail servers and slow backup processes, Cryoserver can tackle them with ease thanks to its impressive compression and excellent encryption levels.
So rather than asking yourself: “How long should I keep my emails?” it might be more sensible to ask “How should I keep my emails?” and of course the only sensible answer is Cryoserver.