To establish a retention and backup policy and procedure related to electronic mail.
2.1 Electronic Mail Retention
Electronic mail is subject to the same records retention rules that apply to other documents and must be retained in accordance with departmental records retention schedules. The following guidelines apply:
- The retention requirement associated with any document is determined by its content, not the method of delivery. Each GHSU department has a records retention schedule that specifies the retention period to be applied to various documents.
- The responsibility of retaining an internally created and distributed document (or message) most often falls on the author – not the recipients. Recipients may delete such received messages when their use has been fulfilled.
- Employees who receive messages from outside GHSU are responsible for proper records retention of those messages.
- Most casual email messages are “transitory records” and can be discarded as their purpose is served.
- For records retention purposes, electronic mail that is digitally signed must be filed electronically rather than on paper if the signature is of importance to the legal status or business usefulness of the document.
- Email that has been requested in a subpoena or public information request must be retained until the request has been addressed, even if the retention period has expired.
2.2 Electronic Mail Backup and Recovery
Information Technology Support and Services (ITSS) will backup electronic mail for the purpose of restoring the entire electronic mail system in the event of disaster. Backup tapes are retained for a period of one week and cannot be used as a convenience to retrieve “deleted” messages.
Backup tapes do not serve a records retention function. Email archived to the individual workstation should not be considered part of the institutional backup – but a part of the individual’s filing system. Each department must make provisions to retain documents and messages in accordance with their departmental records retention policy.