In today’s business landscape where regulations are getting tighter, proper email archiving is no longer a choice, it’s a necessity. While most companies already have an email archiving solution, not every company has good email archiving practices put in place.
Here are 7 tips to improve your email archiving and help you get on track.
Always have enough storage
Storage space is one of the biggest challenges of email archiving. For big companies with a high number of email users, archived emails can quickly add up and potentially require even terabytes of storage space.
If you still haven’t purchased an archiving solution or simply want to replace the existing one, storage capacity is one of the key features to keep in mind. Make sure to choose the one that can grow with your business so you don’t have to worry about running out of storage space further down the line.
Double-Check Laws and Regulations
When choosing an email archiving solution and creating a retention policy, there are certain laws and regulations you should keep in mind. Depending on the industry your company operates in, these regulations can be more or less strict.
If you fail to comply with these regulations, you risk facing not only reputational damage but also serious legal and financial consequences. That’s why you should carefully examine all applicable laws and regulations to make sure that your email archiving system and retention policy are compliant.
Consult Your Legal Team
Depending on the industry, your company can be subjected to multiple different laws and regulations, and making sure you’re following all of them can be a challenge. That’s why your legal team should play a crucial role in creating a retention policy. They’re already familiar with all the relevant regulations, email retention requirements, and the specific legal jargon used in those laws. Their job is to make sure that your company is legally protected, so use them as a resource when creating your retention policy.
However, your legal team shouldn’t be the only tool in your arsenal when creating retention policies. Make sure to also have other teams on board in order to ensure that every department is well-represented and on the same page when it comes to document archiving and retention periods. Having at least one person from each department in your retention policy A-team who can weigh in on this important matter will prevent anything from slipping through the cracks.
Aim for the Highest Retention Period Requirement
With multiple laws and regulations requiring different retention periods even within the same industry, it can be challenging to create comprehensive email retention policies that will cover all of them.
Unfortunately, many employees can struggle to follow one email retention policy, let alone keep up with multiple different retention periods. That’s why it’s best practice to create policies aiming for the highest retention period required — that way, you’ll ensure that your retention policy meets as many regulations as possible.
For example, your company can be subject to three different regulations, requiring you to keep your email records for one, three, and seven years. In that case, it’s best to cover for all of them at the same time by opting for a seven-year retention period across the board.
Use Automation to Make it Easy for Employees
Once you have a solid email retention policy, you can automate your email archiving process. With modern email archiving solutions, you can eliminate all the stress and risks of manually archiving emails, by automatically capturing all outgoing and incoming emails into a secure, tamper-proof archive.
One of the most crucial features of any good archiving solution is the ability to automatically remove emails from the archiving repository after the retention period has expired. This allows you to save valuable time and resources, leaving your employees with more time to focus on other critical tasks. Automation can help you simplify retention for your employees, minimize the risk of mistakes, and ensure compliance.
Regularly Update Your Retention Policies
The retention policy isn’t something you can just set and forget. Laws and regulations regarding retention can change on a yearly basis, and if your email retention policies aren’t up to date with the latest updates, you could be facing serious consequences.
Make sure to review and update your existing policies annually with the help of your legal team in order to avoid any negative surprises and ensure that you’re remaining compliant. If you fail to do so, all of your hard work put into creating retention policies in the first place could go to waste.
Don’t Forget to Notify Your Employees About Policy Changes
An updated email retention policy only makes sense if those who are supposed to follow it are aware of the changes that were made, so don’t forget to notify your employees about the updates after overhauling your retention policies.
Also, don’t forget to make changes within your email archiving solutions and schedule new deleting dates for your archived email so you don’t keep them for longer or shorter than necessary.
Over to you
Whether you’re looking to improve your retention policy, buy an email archiving solution for the first time, or simply want to make a switch, before making a decision, evaluate your current situation and think of the challenges you might be facing in the future.
These tips are a great starting point but don’t forget to take the industry your business operates in, your location and local laws, the size of your company, as well as any other specific circumstances into account. Once you’ve considered all of that, you’ll be able to make these best practices work even better for your business.
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