Email Archive Compliance Laws

Email archiving compliance laws typically stipulate the minimum amount of time that electronically stored information (ESI) must be kept and how it ought to be kept in order to safeguard the integrity of email data.

The needs could vary because of a selection of factors like the industry sector a company operates in, federal and state laws, and if the company relies on a closed system of email interaction or even an open one.

This particular article looks at a number of legislative Acts to illustrate just how tough it can be for businesses to comply with the legal requirements for email archiving. Along with this we will look at a solution that matches the archiving demands of these Acts. Remember that the information in this post should not be interpreted as authorized advice. Organizations should consult with an expert to ensure compliance with the email archiving authorized requirements that is relevant to their sector.

Why Do You Need to Archive Emails?

In 2006, an amendment to the Federal Rules of Civil Disclosure (Title V, Rule twenty six) made it an offence to not produce a copy of any ESI within 30 days if requested to do this by a court order. Though not strictly a necessity for businesses to archive emails, it can be seen that companies must keep email data in this state for as long as their State’s Statute of Limitations applies, or as long as business regulations require, this may be indefinitely.

Maintaining email details on a mail server for extended time periods isn’t useful. Mailbox quotas are filled – which means that users may not get emails – as well as the functionality of the mail server is impacted due to the amount of information it’s to handle. The amount of materials utilized by the mail server can place a lot of stress on your organization’s network, and there may also be a requirement to produce ESI inside a 30-day limit which is even more difficult with a poorly performing network.

Email archiving cuts down on impact placed on the company email server by duplicating the email information and storing it somewhere else. Emails remaining on the mail server could be deleted to free up space and enhance the functionality of the mail server and network. When users wish to recover an email removed from the mail server, they access it through the archive and will export it to a file, print it, or perhaps restore it to the mail server. The procedure is compliant and simple and in line with the Federal Rules of Civil Disclosure.

GDPR Email Archiving Legal Obligations

If a company records, processes, shares or stores private information linked with an EU citizen, it is governed by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), whether or not the company is based in the EU. This regulation stipulates EU citizens must be given access to their personal data of theirs and to be allowed correct mistakes. Additionally, they have the right to find out what their private data is being utilized for and who else has been given access to it.

With regard to the email archiving authorized requirements for GDPR, organizations need to protect the private information of EU citizens against intended or accidental disclosure, damage or unauthorized alteration. This particular stipulation is akin to the information security measures required by HIPAA, Sarbanes Oxley as well as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and consequently the information security measures organizations put in place to guard the integrity of email data must comply with the same high standards of those rules.

One additional authorized requirement of GDPR associated with information held in emails is the fact that citizens’ requests to access and correct private details must be produced within 30 days. An email archiving solution allows businesses to access information kept in emails much faster compared to information kept in email backups, provided the email messages are listed as they pass through the mail server. Similarly, it is critical that the copy of every email is created while it passes through the mail server so there can be no dispute that the retrieved email is not genuine.

Disaster Recovery & Email Archiving Legal Requirements

There’s a school of thought which says email archiving legal requirements for disaster recovery just pertain to businesses in industries that are regulated since it is just in regulated industries where there are rules stipulating that a disaster recovery program needs to be applied. Nevertheless, to be fully compliant with the Federal Rules of Civil Disclosure, it is recommended that each company creates a plan to recuperate emails in the event of any kind of disaster.

Moreover, to have a secure and impenetrable archive of emails, it is crucial that the mechanism implemented to comply with the legal requirements for email archiving makes a copy of each email leaving and entering a mail server in time that is real. Regular backups and archiving provide the chance for a contact to be changed or even deleted prior to a copy of the original may be created and kept in a protected location.

One additional argument for email archiving as it happens is mitigating the danger of any cyberattack. Hackers have been already infiltrating and stealing removing data from mail servers before encrypting information was possible. In most cases now, if they can successfully encrypt a mail server. The next demand issued will be a ransom for the key to uncover the encrypted data. When email messages are encrypted, the information is going to be of no value to the hackers, though the loss of an organization’s emails can have a huge impact on your ability to do business. However, with real time email archiving the stolen email information will be restored with the click of a computer mouse.

Cloud-based email archiving solutions move information from your systems and free up more room compared to software solutions. Information stored in external data centers cannot be lost, damaged or even stolen like hardware solutions can be. They also have advanced systems available to stop unauthorized access and malware attacks. Information is also immediately replicated across cloud servers and backed up.


Why do I need an email archive if I backup email?

A backup and an email archive are needed, as each performs a different purpose. A backup is for short-term storage for disaster recovery, which can be used to restore mailboxes to a certain point in time. An archive is a long-term secure email store. In contrast to a backup, an archive can be quickly searched when individual emails need to be found. Searches of backups are difficult and time-consuming.

Is email archiving necessary for HIPAA compliance?

HIPAA requires safeguards to be implemented to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of protected health information. An email archive can help in this regard by creating a tamper-proof repository for email, ensuring the information is always available, and the archives are encrypted to prevent unauthorized access. An email archive also makes it easy to comply with the data retention requirements of HIPAA.

What are the minimum email retention periods in healthcare?

CFR §164.316(b)(2)(i) states that policies and procedures related to HIPAA compliance must be retained for a minimum of 6 years, from the date of creation or the date when the policy was last in effect. There is no retention period for medical records, but many states have legislation covering record retention.

What is the best email archiving policy?

It is important to have a formal email archiving policy that establishes how long certain types of emails should be retained. To eliminate the potential for human error, the policy should be automated with emails automatically sent to the archive, rather than requiring employees to determine which emails they should archive.

Is Microsoft’s email archiver for Office 365 suitable for use in healthcare?

While the Office 365 archiver can be used in healthcare, the solution lacks some important features for ensuring the integrity of email data and some important features are not active by default, such as audit signing, and audit log retention is absent in some plans and too short in others. Care must be taken to ensure this archiving solution is fully compliant.