Central Email Retention Services


Email Retention Service: Google Vault

NC State’s Office of Information Technology uses Google Vault email retention and eDiscovery service for all Google Workspace accounts at NC State.

  • Employees can easily retain copies of all their work-related email of a non-transient nature as required by state law.
    See Legal requirements for archiving (all state employees) below.
  • Students can choose to keep their Gmail messages for as long as they have their accounts. There is storage in Gmail and Google Drive.

Email Management Recommendations

  • Keep
    Avoid deleting any message that you might need again. With your email storage in Google Workspace you may never have to delete anything and can keep it as long as you your account is active.
  • Archive
    Use the Gmail “Archive” button to remove messages from your Inbox and help to keep it tidy; all your messages will be stored in “All Mail.” To retrieve a message, you can search for it from your Inbox or select “All Mail” and search for it. See:

  • Organize
    Consider using labels and filters to keep your Inbox clutter-free and find your mail more easily!

Email Retention

  • Vault retains undeleted email indefinitely in your Inbox.
  • Vault retains deleted email for seven years from its send or receive date, even after it was auto-removed from your Trash or you chose to “Delete forever.”

Email Retrieval

  • You can retrieve an email from Trash for about 25 days after it has been labeled as Trash, as long as you have not chosen to “Delete forever.”
  • End user interface for Vault is not available yet. When available, with Vault’s end-user interface you will be able to retrieve from Vault:
    • any undeleted message indefinitely and
    • any deleted message for up to seven years after its send date, including one that you chose to “Delete forever” or that was auto-removed from your Trash after about 25 days.
  • As OIT receives more information on options for Vault, we will share it here.

Helpful Email Tips

  • Accessing Gmail
    We recommend using the native Gmail client across all your devices.

    • On Mac/PC/Linux:
      Use Chrome to visit the Gmail website.
    • On your mobile device:
      Use the Gmail app for a consistent email experience.

  • IMAP users
  • Ensure message delivery
  • Handle unwanted email appropriately
    • Some messages are really spam. To remove them from your Inbox, use the Report Spam button. This will train Gmail to identify them as such.
    • Some messages may appear to you to be spam, but others at NC State may want to receive them.
      To keep such messages out of your Inbox without blocking them from other users at NC State, see some unwanted email is NOT spam.


Legal requirements for archiving (all state employees)

The North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. 132-1) requires that you, as a state employee, maintain copies of all work-related electronic records, including work-related email of a non-transient nature, that:

  • You send through any email system to recipients inside and outside the university.
  • You automatically forward to another address.
  • You receive from external sources.

These work-related email messages:

  • Are public records.
  • Are the property of the people of North Carolina.
  • Must be presented upon request (e.g., subpoena or court order but not a request from the general public).
  • May not be deleted, altered, or disposed of except in accordance with the university’s  Campus-Specific Records Retention and Disposition Schedule (PDF).

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Other archiving requirements

Certain external, grant-funded projects or similar work may require archiving longer than seven years. If this applies to you, then you will need to archive your email yourself. Some possibilities are:

  • Keep all your mail in All Mail, since it can be kept indefinitely.
  • Use a generic account (see Web Registry – Google Generic Account for details).
  • Use an IMAP email client and back up to another source.
  • Consider using another backup solution. Some people on campus are using Gmvault (gmvault.org).

For guidance about the additional email archiving strategy that would work best for you, contact your departmental IT personnel.

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Access  to your archive

The only persons who can access your archived email are:

  • You
  • Office of General Counsel or Human Resources personnel (only if copies of your emails were requested for e-discovery or in connection with an HR action). In this case, none of your personal (non-work-related) email would be copied.
  • Those allowed by REG 08.00.02 – Computer Use Regulation.

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Privacy of your archive

  • NC State computer use regulations do allow limited personal use of campus computing resources, including email.
  • Personal email, even that handled and archived by the campus email systems, is not a public record and cannot be searched by the public.
  • Privacy laws prohibit access to your personal (non-work-related) email. It will not be included in any request for your work-related email.
  • To ensure your privacy and avoid archiving personal correspondence, do not send or receive any personal email through the campus email systems.

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Additional Information

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