The result is a real tension between deciding how long to keep things and what to get rid of, he said. Keeping everything indefinitely "is not necessarily a great strategy" because of concerns such as storage, but "if you keep everything forever, you are covered from a regulation standpoint, he said.
"There are real challenges there because if someone files a motion of discovery ... you are going to have to discover that, and if the litigation can prove that you have spoiled information or withheld documentation, that is contempt," he said.
In terms of best practices, what IT managers should keep in mind is the length of time they are forced to archive messages, said Dave Pearson, senior research analyst at . "I think it's safer to assume that you should always have these e-mails," he said. "You should be looking at a solution where you can keep an indefinite paperless trail of your e-mails and just assume that you should stay ahead of regulations."