“Miguel,” asked an administrator colleague at a school district, “How do I save my emails in GoogleApps forever? I was told they disappear forever after 30 days or something. Is that true?”
The question is one that will occur to any administrator who has had to deal with discovery or open records request on short notice. While many school districts take advantage of email archiving solutions like Google Vault (available at no cost for GoogleApps for Education districts) or DataCove-type options, individual admins may be a little nervous about what’s archived. “Did the email archiving system get it all?”
Without what often involves superintendent approval–if not Human Resources Superintendent prior review–how do you safeguard your darlings?
Here are a few tips on how to archive your own email, most of which will certainly raise an eyebrow in light of email server hacking news stories:
1) Mozilla Thunderbird Offline Option or, if you have a Mac, use Apple’s Mail
Want to maintain an “offline” email archive, no matter what the archiving policy is for your district? Then consider installing a free copy of Mozilla Thunderbird, an email program that is available at no cost for Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can set it up to save a copy of your email to your own home computer. Read these instructions to backup your Mozilla Thunderbird email now saved on your computer. Of course, be aware that any confidential or sensitive data you receive via email will also be archived. Are you taking precautions to safeguard (i.e. encrypt) that data? Before you save it to your computer, you may want to encrypt it and then delete the original, decrypted version.
2) Auto-forward Critical Emails (use GoogleApps filters) to Evernote Premium
While you’ll need an Evernote Premium account (approx $50 per year) for this, you can get a “secret” Evernote email address that you can auto-forward messages to from your Gmail account.
There are some other solutions…