“There is no harm in keeping tiny emails”

Just a quick post –  came across this article when trying to fix a configuration issue with Apple Mail and Gmail, and I thought it nicely summed up the attitude I encounter from IT and others in our information governance engagements. Ask an attorney sometime if there really is “no harm in keeping tiny emails around in this age of ever-expanding storage space.” The drug dealers of the IG world have really done an incredible job convincing the addicts that the drug has no downside.

One of Gmail’s perks is a ridiculous amount of storage space, so Google has set it up to highly encourage archiving your email instead of having to make the decision to delete just some of it. After all, you never know if that rainy day will come next month or four years from now, and there’s no harm in keeping tiny emails around in this age of ever-expanding storage space.


More often that not, here’s what happens on that “rainy day,” in a depressing office park somewhere in the suburbs:

The company spent $900,000 to produce an amount of data that would consume less than one-quarter of the available capacity of an ordinary DVD.

RAND study on e-discovery, 2012

Now, folks outside of the IG and e-discovery bubble might reasonably think that, hey if there is ever a problem, I can just start deleting emails then, right?

Here’s a couple more quotes to consider.

Court Orders Mirror-Imaging of Personal Computers for Purpose of Preservation

Court Orders Production of Five Years of Content from Facebook, MySpace for Opposing Counsel’s Review

And, my favorite

Plaintiff Sanctioned for Burning Personal Computer


  1. Tod Chernikoff, CRM, IGP, CIP

    Reminds me of something I read yesterday, namely NARA’s Automated Electronic Records Management: Managing Government Records Directive, Goal A3.1, Report/Plan. There was a part that talked about the risk of not capturing/preserving appropriate content/records, but the same section did not address the litigation risk or cost of over retaining. That did not come until much later in the report/plan.

  2. Pingback: Gmail’s beginnings and consequences | Terry Madeley
  3. Ross Nepean

    Excellent post Barclay, thank you. In organizations fortunate and far-sighted enough to have records management professionals on staff who assure that records, documents, emails and the like are purged once no longer required, the humble records manager will become, on that rainy day, a hero to those “folks outside of the IG and e-discovery bubble.”

    Records management best practices, including most importantly understanding and adhering to retention schedules, minimize both the risk of exposure in litigation and the costs of complying with discovery.

    Also, congratulations on your blog being named one of the Top Legal, Technology and E-Discovery Blogs – nice! http://recordsmanagement.tab.com/records-management-2/top-records-and-information-management-blogs-part-2/

  4. Pingback: Gmail's beginnings and consequences | Terry Madeley™

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