Recent news about New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s controversial data retention policy, which mandates that state workers’ emails be deleted after 90 days, caused a considerable media stir. Many pundits questioned whether the new policy was consistent with the broader ideal of government transparency. The news, of course, comes on the heels of the State Department “Emailgate” news concerning emails sent from personal accounts -- and a subsequent lack of records to prove otherwise.

These are just two recent instances of a much broader issue that has plagued the public sector from day one of the digital age: Proper data retention. At its most basic level, data retention is a fairly simple concept—most organizations need to retain the data they generate, including, but not limited to email for both business and legal purposes for a pre-determined period of time. Email is just one piece of the puzzle, albeit an important one. A comprehensive data retention strategy covers a wide spectrum for managing disparate digital information that flows in and out of an organization. This includes backup data, which is also subject to legal discovery. 

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