October 17, 2007
EMAIL & IM RETENTION POLICY
SUBJECT: Email & Instant Messaging (IM) Retention Policy
RESPONSIBLE UNIT: Information Technology Service (ITS)
REFER QUESTIONS TO: Information Security Office
ISSUE DATE: TBD
APPROVED BY: Chief Information Officer
DISTRIBUTED TO: Users of CSUEB Staff and Faculty Email & IM Systems
Electronic mail (email) has become a ubiquitous service which greatly enhances
communication, both internally within the CSUEB community and externally to clients,
including prospective students, alumni and the public at large. Additionally, the use of instant
messaging (IM) technologies at CSUEB is expected to significantly increase our reliance on
electronic messaging as a primary method of communication.
This Email & IM Retention Policy is intended to help staff and faculty determine what
information sent or received by electronic messaging systems should be retained, and for
This retention policy applies to:
1. All email and IM systems provided or funded (in part or in whole) by CSUEB;
2. All users and account holders of CSUEB email and IM accounts; and
3. All email and instant messages sent or received using CSUEB email and IM systems.
Most email and usually all instant messaging records are created primarily for the informal
communication of information. These messages should be considered transitory messages
that do not have lasting value and should be:
Retained until read; then
Email and instant messages that have working-file value should be considered as having
temporary value and should be:
Downloaded (or saved) to removable media (such as a CD or memory stick), or to a
desktop computer, laptop, etc.; or
Printed; and then
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Deleted (or destroyed) when no longer needed.
Temporary value email and instant messages should not be retained within email or instant
messaging account folders located on CSUEB email or IM servers.
When the contents of an email or instant message exhibits one or more of the following
characteristics, it should be classified as having lasting value:
Documents administrative actions taken or planned;
Establishes policy or guidelines;
Has legal or evidential value; or
Has historical significance.
Since email and instant messaging systems are not designed to be records retention or
document management systems, email and instant messages that have lasting value:
Should be downloaded (or saved) to departmental or office files within a office file
server or document management system, such as CSUEB’s SharePoint system; or
Printed for storage within departmental or office-based filing cabinets.
Should not be stored within an individual user’s email or instant messaging account
files located on CSUEB email or IM servers.
Questions about the proper classification (as transitory, temporary value, or lasting value)
of a specific piece of information should be addressed to the unit head, manager, or
department chair. Questions about this policy should be addressed to the Information
CSUEB email systems will be configured to automatically delete messages retained for more
than 90 days on the servers. This auto-delete policy applies to messages within all folders
(inbox folders, sent file folders, draft file folders, etc.) stored on the servers.
CSUEB IM systems will be configured to prevent the storage of instant messages on the
servers – eliminating the need for IM users to delete their messages.
All CSUEB email and IM system users are expected to:
Regularly check for new messages;
Routinely download (or save) messages with temporary or lasting value; and
Delete transitory messages as quickly as possible.
CSUEB email systems will also be configured to automatically delete messages on the
servers that have been marked for deletion by users but are still sitting in their “deleted
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Backup copies of CSUEB email and IM system files will be kept for no more than 5 weeks.
These backups are for system restoration and disaster recovery purposes, and are not
designed to facilitate retrieval of deleted messages.
When litigation against the University or its employees is filed or threatened, the law
imposes a duty upon the University to preserve all documents and records that pertain to the
issues. When the University Counsel is made aware of pending or threatened litigation, a
litigation hold directive will be issued to the legal custodians.
A litigation hold directive overrides this email and IM retention policy, as well as any records
retention schedule that may have otherwise called for the transfer, disposal or destruction of
relevant documents, until the hold has been cleared by University Counsel.
Email and accounts of separated employees that have been placed on litigation hold status by
University Counsel will be maintained by ITS until the hold is released.
No employee who has been notified by University Counsel of a litigation hold may alter or
delete an electronic record that falls within the scope of that hold. An employee notified by
University Counsel of a litigation hold will be required to provide copies of the referenced
electronic records that the employee has downloaded and saved or moved to some other
storage account or device.
ITS will establish and publish standards for email and instant messaging account
administration and storage allocations, as well as provide configuration instructions for
downloading (or saving) messages from CSUEB email and instant messaging servers, end
user training, and helpdesk support.
Department heads and unit managers are responsible for providing message retention
guidance to users of CSUEB email and IM systems within their respective units. The
guidance provided must be in accordance with this policy.
Senders and recipients of electronic messages are responsible for identifying and
retaining email messages that have lasting value – seeking assistance from unit managers or
department heads when unsure about how to categorize specific messages.
V. RELATED INFORMATION
For information about configuring CSUEB’s Outlook email client software for AutoArchive,
visit http://www.csueastbay.edu/its/exchange .
For information about CSUEB’s SharePoint document management system, visit
VI. REVISION HISTORY
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October 17, 2007
This policy is subject to revision in response to changes in technology or CSUEB operational
Issue/Revision Date Approving Committee/Official
Issue date of draft: May 12, 2007 University Information Technology (UIT) Advisory
Legal Review: October 13, 2007 University Counsel (Eunice Chan)
Administrative Reviews: October 29, 2007 Cabinet & Provost Council
Shared Governance Reviews: ExComm & Academic Senate
Approved: <TBD> CIO (John Charles)
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