4 min read

Everything You Wanted to Know About Email... But Were Afraid to Ask

Emails have become a part of everyday life, at work and at home. With 293 billion emails sent a day, they are a vital communication tool. Users on average have 1.75 email accounts with separate accounts of personal and home. While you may use emails all the time, you’ll likely have questions about the medium that you may be afraid to ask. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! 

Is opening someone’s email illegal?

This entirely depends on the intent of the person reading the email. If a person was to accidentally read an email addressed to someone else, without knowing it wasn’t their inbox, it isn’t illegal. However, if someone has malicious intentions for reading another person’s email, they are breaking the law.

The Computer Misuse Act deals with crimes of accessing or modifying data stored on computers a person isn’t authorised to be on. Accessing a person’s email without their consent can lead to a fine and even a prison sentence if information is then distributed without the right permissions. If a person causes serious damage to a business via someone’s email, this is also illegal.

What happens if you lose your email data?

Missing emails can damage a business but they’re not uncommon. With sensitive information that businesses need access to, it’s important that emails aren’t lost. However, an email is usually lost by someone accidentally deleting it. 

However, all is not lost as emails will end up in other folders before being permanently removed. If an email has been deleted, it will first go to the deleted items folder. Emails usually stay there for 30 days before being deleted forever.

It’s also possible for emails to be accidentally marked as spam or junk. There are folders for these as well which are kept for a period before deletion. 

If you’ve set up an archive, Outlook for example will send older emails to that. Here you can still access that email and retain its data.

Every email service has a search function which will highlight where an email has been stored, if you cannot find it in your inbox.Can you recall an email?</h2>

It is possible to recall an email if you’ve made a mistake in one you’ve sent, but only to emails using the same Office 365 or Exchange in the same organisation that are unread. You can also substitute a replacement message. 


  1. Go to the Sent Items folder.
  2. Open the message you wish to recall. Double-click the message so it appears in a message pane.
  3. In the Message tab, select Actions then Recall This Message.
  4. Select Delete unread copies of this message or Delete unread copies and replace with a new message, and then click ok.
  5. If you’re sending a replacement message, compose it, and then click Send.


Gmail doesn’t have a recall feature like Outlook, but you can set up an Undo Send timer. Go to Settings and scroll down to Undo Send. You can choose a cancellation period of 5, 10, 20 or 30 seconds to stop an email in transit.

How long should you keep an email?

A typical business email should be kept for three to five years. However, this will depend on the industry you’re working in and the email retention policy in place. For example, emails in relation to finance must be retained for ten years while special requirements will be expected with HR and legal issues.

Why do I get Spam?

A spam email applies to any unsolicited bulk email, sent to people for malicious means. Unsolicited means that each Recipient hasn’t granted permission for the message to be sent to their account. 

Spammers can get access to email accounts in various ways to send you malicious communications. Big companies such as Adobe, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Sony have all been compromised in recent years, with leaked emails getting into the hands of spammers. 

If you’ve clicked a link or loaded an image in a spam email, this will lead to spammers realising your account is active and send you more mail. 

How can I tell if an email is a scam?

There are various ways to spot if an email isn’t genuine:

  1. The message is sent from a public email domain – not an address that ends in @gmail.com for example.
  2. The domain name is spelt incorrectly.
  3. The email has been poorly written.
  4. It includes suspicious attachments or links
  5. The message gives you an urgent action to complete

What is the CC and BCC etiquette?

Most are familiar by a CC and BCC is in regards to email. A Carbon Copy is usually created for people to get a copy of an email that they aren’t necessarily expected to action, but all recipients can see this. A Blind Carbon Copy hides the recipients of the copy from others. A CC is a way of keeping people in the loop about something while a BCC is used to protect the identity of recipients, if they wish not to be seen.

A BCC should not be used maliciously, such as making the main recipient believe they’re the only person getting the email, when secretly they aren’t.

What is the purpose of Email Archiving?

Email archiving is the process of preserving and making searchable all emails to and from a business or individual. This process is completed via the email application itself or during transport. Messages can be stored in the cloud, on servers or physical storage.


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