I agree that aggressively deleting all email without consideration to their 
content is a dangerous thing to do.

When I speak to legal types and other higher-up people, though, they have 
issues with the traditional model that Larry describes, and their issues aren't 
without merit.  They boil down to, basically, a) there's just way, way too 
much email to process without end users managing their own messages, and 
b) the company takes big chances by putting its trust in end users, especially 
in highly-regulated industries; end users typically suffer from ignorance, self-
motivated interests, or indifference.

In my opinion, as Larry alludes to, that should lead to very long retention 
periods for email (i.e. keep all email for decades).  IT doesn't like that much 
because it creates massive email repositories (do some math... if most 
employees get 100 emails a day, and the average size of an email is about 
100K - how much storage space would your company need for that after 10 
years?)... maybe that's why there's a drive for aggressive retention.

A lot of RIM is finding a balance between cost/risk and beneft, usually specific 
to each organization, and I think that's what's necessary in this case.  But I 
would say that deleting all email after a set number of days, while decreasing 
costs, creates extremely high and disproportionally high risk.  To answer your 
question, Thom, about operational concerns and legal risk:

- Your employees are going to find a workaround.  You will have emails stored 
in PST's, on shared drives, in Dropbox, in SharePoint, on C: drives, on thumb 
drives, and in Gmail.  People need email to do their jobs, and if you take it 
away they will find ways to hang onto it.  Instead of creating a cleaner 
environment, instead you create a messier environment, and one where the 
mess is hidden from view.  Imagine dealing with that after getting hit with a 
massive litigation or audit.

- The legal risk should be apparent... how do you conduct an audit or a legal 
matter (whether as plaintiff or defendent) without the communication that 
went on around it?  Email content is often critical to court cases.

Hope that helps.

Wayne Hoff, CRM
Calgary, AB

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