1 Archiving/Retention Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 1. Why do we use archiving? The County s need to search has risen dramatically over the last few years, driven by public disclosure requests, e-discovery, and internal investigation needs. Searching our system has been cumbersome and labor-intensive, negatively impacting multiple departments. Meanwhile, allowing employees to delete s has raised issues whether some items should have been retained. Many employees are unsure which s they create and/or receive have retention and/or archival value. Indeed, the standards governing retention are not always clear. Important changes to the Washington Administrative Code effective January 1, 2010 require us to keep records, including records, in an electronic, searchable format with all their metadata. This change alone calls for the implementation of an archiving system. 2. Is there a related policy governing archiving? Yes. There is an Retention Policy adopted in October What is kept in the archive? Copies of all you send and receive and all Word documents, videos or other files sent and received as attachments in Outlook are kept in the archive. Items will be stored in the archive in the same folder location you used for each item in Outlook. 4. Are there any types of explicitly excluded from the archive? Yes. The archiving system does not keep copies of draft s not yet sent, message recall responses, quarantined as spam or virus by our spam filtering service, s letting a sender know a recipient is out of the office, s regarding whether appointment requests were accepted, declined or tentatively accepted, and system operational messages (ie: Dolfin and myit notices, monitoring system alerts). 5. What about my calendar, contacts and tasks I store in Outlook? Not all information in Outlook is kept in the archive. For example, your contact list, calendar information and self-assigned tasks are never copied into the archive. Aspects of Outlook not supported in the County, such as journaling, should not be used and are not copied into the archive. 6. Are other electronic messaging systems included in this archive? Page 1
2 No. Instant messaging, for example, is not centrally logged or archived. 7. What about GroupWise migrated to the new Microsoft Exchange system? GroupWise sent date information was copied into the new system. Because of this, some is already over six years old in the system and beyond the proposed retention period. All these s must be dealt with before we turn on auto deletion of Why aren t just selected s retained in the archive? By archiving all , it is true we will save many s that have no retention value. However, we actually will operate more efficiently as a County with this chosen methodology. Here s why: Our statistics show that each County employee receives on average 40 s a day. If each employee took just six seconds to analyze and decide whether each should be kept and to process it accordingly, that would require 206 hours of County staff time each day. That translates to a productivity allocation equivalent to $2.7 million dollars of staff time a year for retention. In addition, one kept, instead of deleted, might save the County from losing a lawsuit. Our archiving system retains deleted s without clogging each user s Inbox. Lastly, most County employees have not received training on records retention and upcoming changes to retention schedules making it problematic to ask employees to categorize their records according to records retention requirements. 9. How long are items retained in the archive? Six years from the Sent date as shown in the Why is retained for six years? Pierce County is committed to open government, and keeping all for a minimum of six years will help to assure this important resource is available for any public record requests, litigation or other needs that arise. If a longer period is necessary, a hold may be placed on (see below). Under applicable retention schedules, shorter periods than six years do govern many messages (there is no specific retention period as it takes on the retention period of its subject matter), but applying those categories would involve substantial employee education and time, and errors would inevitably occur. By keeping more longer, the County honors its commitment to open government and keeps its employees more productive. 11. Won t it be expensive to keep for six years? It is affordable to keep for six years because we have an archiving system already in place necessary to run our Exchange system with adequate performance. Based on current projections, each additional year of storage costs an average of $50,000 a year. In comparison, a purchased IT system can cost $50,000 to $150,000 a year in software maintenance alone. Many County departments have one or more purchased IT systems they pay vendors hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to maintain. This approximate $50,000 a year provides archiving for the entire County. Page 2
3 12. Are you going to ask me before you permanently delete when its six years has passed? No. older than six years will be automatically deleted every day from the archive using system settings. No human interaction will occur as part of the deletion process. At this time, the system does not allow any notification to the archive holder of the impending deletion. 13. What if I need to keep longer than six years? Some records retention standards require records to be kept longer than six years, for example s relating to felony criminal cases. In these cases, the sender (or recipient if received from an outside party) is responsible for identifying this record and ensuring it is retained in an electronic, searchable format that includes all the metadata. One choice might be to copy the record into a separate document management system such as Assessor-Treasurer s Docman system or the Executive s edocs system. IT has no easy way to keep only certain s within the archiving system beyond six years, but there is potential to classify specific s for further retention or wait for future releases of our archiving software to enable new functionality in this area. If you want to keep an for other reasons beyond six years, please make sure there is a valid reason to do so for County business purposes, and then follow instructions to be published in the future. Keeping unnecessary longer than six years is a wasteful practice in both staff time and hardware storage costs. The County will be working on developing options for departments that are required to keep certain records longer than six years. 14. When is an archived? s are recorded immediately and posted to the archive within one day. 15. When did archiving begin? archiving was initiated on April 30, All in Exchange at that time was copied to the archive and all sent and received since April 30th is being archived. 16. How much of my is kept in the live Exchange system vs. the archive system? To improve system performance, we plan to only keep the most recent 365 days (1 year) worth of in the live Exchange system. In contrast, all your sent and received over the past six years will be stored in the archive. s in the live system can be moved into different folders which will be preserved in the archive. 17. Can I search my archive? Yes. There is a powerful tool that allows you to search all the in the archive that you have received and sent. Training guides will be available. Page 3
4 18. Will spam be kept in the archive? Quarantined spam (items not delivered to your in box), will not be archived because it is not considered received . If you release an from quarantine and it enters your Outlook Inbox, then it will be archived. 19. Can I delete ? You can delete from Outlook, but the will remain in the archive system, within the folder structure you held it in, with information on when you deleted it until six years from its sent date. After six years from its sent date it will be permanently deleted from the archive. You can access your deleted in your archive until it is permanently deleted. 20. Can I empty my trash? You can empty your trash from Outlook, but the s in the trash folder will remain in the archive system until six years from its sent date. After six years it will be permanently deleted from the archive. You can access your deleted in your archive until it is permanently deleted. 21. Can the County search my and/or attachments? Yes. The same tool that you can use to search your archived can be used by an authorized, designated individual to search all you send and receive and all Word documents, videos or other files sent and received as attachments in Outlook. 22. Who has access to view my archive? Authorized searchers will have access to your archive. Examples include Human Resources, Prosecuting Attorney, your department leadership or Public Records Request Responders in the County. A policy is in place (Data Investigation Policy) for authorizing and granting access for searches. Release of any data will follow standard agency policies pertaining to public records requests, litigation and investigations. Searches in the archive are auditable as well. 23. Can I mark an as a record to be retained? Currently, can only be kept within the archiving system longer than six years if an approved hold is applied to the . Approved holds include litigation hold, public records request hold and investigative hold. Holds can only be applied following an approved data investigation where an authorized searcher uses a special search tool to apply the hold to appropriate records that need to be kept until a situation is resolved. See the Data Investigation Policy for more information. The County will be working on developing options for departments that are required to keep other records longer than six years. 24. How can I learn more about records retention policies? Every department has identified a records specialist. If you have questions about what records you Page 4
5 should keep or where and how you should keep them, contact your department records specialist. More questions? your questions to the IT Service Desk. Glossary: Metadata: As related to archiving, metadata is information about an that is stored within the such as recipients, sent date and time, mime heading (routing information), etc. Quarantined spam: s stopped by a filtering service that looks for known patterns or suspected patterns of that might be unsolicited and unwanted. Over 98% of the incoming to Pierce County from the Internet is caught and quarantined by our spam filter. Users can release an from the quarantine which puts the in the user s Inbox. Instant messaging: The County uses a product called Microsoft Office Communicator to offer instant messaging to authorized County users. It allows users to send quick text messages to each other to conduct an on-line conversation. Outlook: Our system software that users use to access their Exchange . live Exchange System: Our Exchange system that is used to send and deliver for County users. Only a portion of a user s is kept on the live Exchange System. Older and deleted s are kept in the archiving system. GroupWise: The County s previous system used from Page 5
2-07-2007 1 Storage of E-mail Messages Using Microsoft Outlook Electronic mail (e-mail), created or maintained by public agencies, meets the statutory definition of a public record in Kentucky (see KRS
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