How does your organisation deal with retention periods of e-mails and documents?

The AVG states as one of its principles that you may not retain personal data any longer than is necessary for the purpose for which it is used. For example, letters of application and correspondence relating to the application (certificates and certificates of good conduct) must be completely deleted from all systems 4 weeks after the end of the application procedure. A health declaration for life insurance may only be kept for 24 hours. How does your organisation deal with retention periods?

Retention strategy and retention settings

With the help of 'retention tags', you can set up a retention strategy. The strategy is based on assigning metadata (such as a retention period) to e-mails and documents by linking the metadata to the document type.

Retention tags are used to apply retention settings to folders and individual items such as e-mail messages and documents. These settings indicate how long a message should be kept in a mailbox or in a SharePoint site and what action should be taken when the message reaches the specified retention age. When a message reaches its retention age, it is moved to the user's in-place archive or deleted.

Document type tag (Content type)

By specifying the document type, metadata, such as a storage tag, are automatically added to e-mails and documents. The document type is defined in the metadata policy and included in SharePoint. Examples of document types are:

  • Application letter or e-mail
  • Life insurance application
  • Health statement
  • Complaint letter or email
  • Sickness claims

In fact, all document types that contain personal data.

Based on the document type, document tags are automatically added to e-mails and documents. Messages and documents to which a document tag has been applied are always processed based on the settings of the document tag.

Retention actions

When creating or configuring a Retention Tag, one of the following Retention Actions can be selected to be performed when an item reaches the Retention Age:

  • To Archive
  • Delete and allow recovery
  • Permanent removal
  • Mark as past retention limit

When you plan to create retention policies, you should consider whether they contain both archive and delete tags.

Adding retention periods via document type tags with Docubird

Docubird makes it easy to add document type (content type) Tags to e-mails and documents.

The document type specified in SharePoint is simply offered via Docubird and selected by the user. Docubird then automatically adds all metadata linked to this document type, such as the retention period, to the e-mail or to the document.


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