Exchange/E-Mail Policy

Question:
We have implemented a technology resource policy that includes the following:

“5.5 Automatic Deletion of Stored E-mail. All e-mail stored on (Company Name) servers will be automatically deleted after ninety (90) days. This includes messages that may have been accessed during the ninety (90) day time limit. If a critical e-mail must be saved beyond the ninety (90) day time limit, a hardcopy of the message should be printed out and stored in paper files or it may be transferred electronically as a text document to a user file on the network. Users may not store e-mail on the individual hard disks of their workstations.”

This is counter-productive to Exchange and Outlook’s abilities and purposes. What is your philosophy for storage of e-mail with reference to legal issues?

Answer:
Well, I’m not a lawyer, but in many cases there is good reason to store active messages longer than 90 days. Messages on dead issues you might want to purge, but I’d leave that up to the individual users to some extent.

To resolve your problem, I think you’d have more success simply setting mailbox size limits. Let your users keep whatever messages they want as long as it doesn’t exceed an arbitrarily chosen total mailbox size.

I happen to favor using AutoArchive and also allowing users to maintain manual .PST archives of messages they want to keep, but that’s a tricky subject and depends a lot upon the discretion of the users.

Obviously, that plan breaks down if the users start saving every message in their archives. It works best with users who understand what the really important messages are and just save those. It’s also best if they periodically clean them out, but realistically most users won’t do that.

So, I’d go with mailbox size restrictions and, if you can implement it without too much pain, limited autoarchives to disk-based .PST files for older messages.

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