Email Retention Project

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​Hello Everyone,

The utility company is currently looking to perform a 3 year phased approach of taking the email retention that is currently in place of 7 years down to 5 years by 2020, 3 years by 2021 and 15 months by 2022.
I am curious to see how other companies have approached this same type of solution along with keeping the in house business areas happy.

Any insight is greatly appreciated.

Thank you for your time.

Aricka Vesterdal
Tucson Electric Power

I feel compelled to ask: why take so long?



Aria Business Card-0۸
Aria Business Card-۱۰


We are in midst of a similar project and going from 10 year to 5 year retention as we move to Outlook 365.  We are doing a multi-phased approach as well with the plan to get down to 90 days (though I suspect we will be stalled at 1 year).  For the first several months of our initiative we are doing general training on good email stewardship to prevent future backlog.  We are also teaching people how to recognize email Records and to move them to the proper repository.  After we migrate to 365 we will be doing a massive purge project.  This involves a lot of in-person customer service including office hours and visits to our other sites.  The key for us is giving people an understanding of the risk of data hoarding, the knowledge to prevent future hoarding, and the tools and support for the heavy lift of searching backlog for Records and other information they want to keep.  I’d be happy to discuss this offline and share some of our communications if that will be helpful.



Elana Fate

Analyst II Standards and Assurance



Hello Aricka,

Before purging any emails the following needs to be considered:

a. Does your organization have a documented Data retention and disposition policy?  If no, that is the first step. You need to involve HR, business and Legal team to understand the local, state and federal laws on privacy and data retention requirements. This is necessary to safeguard the organization in case of litigation, wherein you can state that emails were disposed (yes correct legal word for deletion) according to organizations data retention and disposition policy.
b. Identify if there are any legal holds. Legal holds are very important to consider because if you delete an email for on going legal case involving a customer or an employee, this can considered as deliberate intent by destroy evidence and your organization may be liable for legal action and hefty fines.
c. Are your emails stored in WORM compliance storage (Write Once, Read Many Times): If yes, then you need to legally dispose the data and obtain Certificate of Destruction (COD).

Hope this helps.


Vijay Chander


Aricka, we too allowed sufficient time for such a change to be absorbed by users as a new normal. We implemented our retention rules as part of a migration from one email platform to another. The rules were created in the new platform. Our process occurred in phases and had about a 2-1/2-year duration overall if I recall correctly. This duration, the process design within and the new retention rule design distributed the amount of time users spent managing their older email before and after migration. I’d estimate from what I recall less than one percent of users were not happy, either with the process or the fact that we were implementing retention rules.

Ritch Tolbert
Texas: Southwest Chapter
Director, ECRM Program, at an upstream and midstream oil and gas company

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