How long should emails be kept in Google Vault?
- Utah Code 46-4-501(5) requires that all electronic records created or received by a government agency must be managed according to retention schedules established with the Division of Archives and Records Service and approved by the State Records Committee.
- Email communications play an essential role in government processes and need to be retained as long as the other records that document that process. Examples include attorney correspondence with clients (Litigated claims case files, record series #274), investigations of utility companies (Investigation and suspension docket, record series #698), getting environmental clearances for construction projects (Construction project files, record series #28626), etc. These types of emails may need to be kept for decades or even transferred to the State Archives for preservation.
- Emails not managed by a more specific schedule, as in the above examples, should be managed according to the state’s general retention schedules for correspondence which were approved by the State Records Committee, per Utah Code 63G-2-604(1) and Utah Code 63G-2-502(1)(b). Below are the general retention schedules for correspondence:
- Transitory Correspondence (SG 4-11)
Incoming and outgoing correspondence, regardless of format or mode of transmission, related to matters of short term interest. Transmittal correspondence between individuals, departments or external parties containing no final contractual, financial or policy information. This correspondence does not impact agency functions. When resolved, there is no further use or purpose.
Retain until administrative need ends and then destroy.
- Administrative Correspondence (SG 4-12)
Incoming and outgoing business-related correspondence, regardless of format or mode of transmission, created in the course of administering agency functions and programs. Administrative correspondence documents work accomplished, transactions made, or actions taken. This correspondence documents the implementation of agency functions rather than the creation of functions or policies. Business-related correspondence that is related to a core function with an associated retention schedule should follow the associated schedule.
Retain for 7 years and then destroy.
- Executive Correspondence (SG 4-10)
Incoming and outgoing business-related correspondence, regardless of format or mode of transmission, that provides unique information relating to the functions, policies, procedures or programs of an agency. These records document executive decisions made regarding agency interests. Executive decision makers may include the Director, Chief Administrative Officer, Public Information Officer or other internal administrators as identified by the executive office.
Permanent. May be transferred to the State Archives.
- The Division of Archives and Records Service recommends that Google Vault retention rules be adjusted to comply with legally mandated retention schedules.
- Emails of department and division directors should be transferred to the State Archives after 7 years for permanent preservation.
- Departments and Divisions should identify groups of records that need to be kept longer than 7 years, assign them labels, use retention schedules to record how long the group of records needs to be kept, and contact their DTS Vault Administrator to set up retention rules for the records contained in these record series.
- Transitory emails should be deleted from Gmail and may be purged from Google Vault. Agencies may also choose to leave transitory emails in Google Vault to be deleted after 7 years.
- Emails not identified as transitory that also do not need to be kept with a specific group of records should be deleted after 7 years. Once retention rules to accommodate the previously stated points are in place, 7 years should be the default setting in Google Vault.