email is forever

The Houston Chronicle’s TechBlog has a post entitled “E-mail is forever” that covers on how long, and when, email is saved.

Let’s say you send an e-mail from your PC at work to a friend’s PC at her office. The message is saved:

  • Depending on how your company configures e-mail, possibly on your desktop machine.
  • On the corporate outgoing e-mail server.
  • On a backup or archival server, depending on the company.
  • On the incoming e-mail server of the recipient.
  • On any backup servers that company may use.
  • On the PC of the recipient.

There may be other copies made in the chain as well. And if you or the recipient forwards the e-mail, the number of stored copies grows that much more.

There’s a saying smart human resources directors share with employees when warning them about less-than-judicious use of a company’s e-mail system: Never put anything in an e-mail that you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of your hometown newspaper.

That last part bears repeating: don’t put something in an email you wouldn’t want to see on the front page of a newspaper.

Author: Paloma Cruz

Find out more about Paloma Cruz through the About page. Connect with her on Twitter ( and (Facebook).

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