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Should You Archive That Email or Delete It?

Should You Archive That Email or Delete It?

What do you do with your old email messages? Do they just sit around in your inbox and collect dust? If so, this is certainly a wasteful practice, as those emails can accrue over time and take up a sizable chunk of space. The question then becomes, what do you do with the emails to keep them from taking up so much space, especially when you might be paying for the space?

When it comes to your old email messages, you can do one of two things: archive your emails for later access or delete them from existence entirely.

The Benefits of Archiving

It’s easy to see the benefits of archiving emails, especially in the business environment where there are often messages that require attention months or even years down the road. There are several benefits to archiving emails, but they mostly boil down to convenience. You free up your inbox by storing your emails elsewhere, usually in a protected storage environment that can be accessed at a later date. Email archival systems generally have features that allow you to search the database for keywords, allowing you to fish out old messages whenever you think they will be needed.

Keep in mind, a single email doesn’t take up a lot of space. It’s when you eventually have hundreds of thousands of emails sitting in your inbox, that it starts to add up.

The downside here is that archiving does still take up space, and there is a chance that you are paying for that space whether you realize it or not. To free up that space, you will need to delete the mail.

The Benefits of Deleting

Let’s be real here for a moment; there are some messages that simply have no business being archived. For example, how many marketing emails do you receive for products that you have no interest in buying? What about newsletters that you don’t even open? When you delete an email, it is sent to your Trash folder, where it will remain for a set period of time until its eventual deletion. If it’s deleted, then it no longer takes up space, so take advantage of this when you can.

Remember, the last thing you want is to archive everything

UNLESS! If your industry requires you to keep records of everything, then you really shouldn’t be deleting emails unless you know it is okay to do so.

Where Do You Start?

We recommend that you begin with your inbox. Stop the flow of new messages entering your archival system by first addressing which emails get archived. We recommend that you only archive those that have some use in the future or those of importance, like business communications, receipts, account notifications, anything that might have ramifications later on if you fail to hold onto them.

What you don’t want to archive are messages that have little-to-no value. Messages about sales, newsletters, or regular communications from vendors trying to sell you products are prime candidates for email deletion, as they often do not hold their value. In essence, ask yourself, “Will this email still be important one year from now?” If the answer is no, delete it.

Pacific NorthWest Managed IT Services can help your business manage its email management system and make the hard calls about which messages to archive and which to simply wipe from existence. To learn more, reach out to us at 1-208-449-1133.

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