Friday, March 20, 2009

Arbitrary and Stupid Reason to Delete Emails

Would you burn the contents of your gray filing cabinets simply because of the cabinets were gray in color and without regarding to what's inside? No, that would be arbitrary and stupid.

So why would a company's policy require the deletion of all emails based on a time frame (e.g. 90 days) with no regard to the content of the e-mail? The decision to delete (or retain) should be based on the stuff (i.e. the content) that is written within the email.

Are you kidding me?


Patrick Cunningham, CRM said...

My analogy has always been that email is a medium of storage of information. You should no more retain "email" for a set period of time than you would retain "paper" for a period of time.

That said, I think it is safe to say that the current economic climate is going to cause companies to do stupid things like delete electronic records after arbitrary periods of time, regardless of content or retention period for that content. The cost of storage is seen as low hanging fruit to IT types, regardless of the fact that you can buy 1TB disks for under $100 (yes, I realize that enterprise storage isn't that cheap). What will happen is that companies will declare arbitrary limits on storage and employees will be out buying those 1TB disks.

Are you kidding me, indeed.

pakurilecz said...

The analogy I use is this. Imagine that you collect all your physical mail (magazine, flyers, whatever) and you place it into a large barrel. You have a barrel for each day. Now, individuals have to come down each day and search through each barrel looking for relevant mail. But at the end of 30, 60, 90 days (or whatever period has been selected) you shred the entire contents of a barrel. Gone is the contract, invoice payment, whatever because of an arbitrary choice.