ISU Changes Email Retention Standard

As announced by the Provost to Faculty Senate in October, ISU is changing our email retention standard. Specifically, we are eliminating the setting that causes mails to be deleted once they are six-months old by default. This change will take effect on Tuesday, December 1, 2020. Nothing should really change, except that email in your Inbox will stop being deleted automatically once it is six months old. Any retention tags that you have previously set on folders or individual emails will remain in place and active.

Important Note: Eliminating this standard does not mean that it is suddenly a good idea to keep all email forever! That is far from the case. Emails that you retain past the point of real usefulness create risks for data security. Active management of email (including its timely disposal) is an important part of our institutional document retention strategy. “Less is more” when it comes to retaining emails in your Outlook account.

Therefore, all ISU faculty and staff are asked to replace the current institutional standard with their own, individualized “email retention/elimination” standards and practices.

Here is how that can work:
1. The default setting for deleting mail at six months will be eliminated, as stated above.
2. However, the ability to use retention tags for managing your mail will remain in place, as will any tags you currently have set.
3. As an employee, you should still set retention tags for individual emails and/or folders, so that your email stays “cleaned up” automatically.
4. You can also still copy emails from Outlook out to OneDrive or other more permanent storage.
• This is required if an email represents an “official record” of the institution, or if it contains sensitive data that must be retained

For example:
1. You might set a one-year retention tag on your main Inbox, with the assumption that you should deal with most mail coming in to you within one year, or else . . . it can just go away
2. You could then set longer (or shorter) retention tags on folders where you store email for specific topics/project/departments/etc.
3. Using the “use parent folder tags” default setting, you can set up one folder with a retention period that works for almost everything you do, and set up most/all your folders as sub-folders under that one folder. If you don’t otherwise set a retention tag for a folder, it will inherit the retention period for the folder it resides in. You set your retention tags once, and you are done!

That’s it! This should be easy to set up as you create new folders, and easy to maintain, and your email will stay cleaned-up automatically.