Email Archiving Laws Can Put You in Prison

Email archiving is important for compliance and eDiscovery purposes. This is fairly discreet language and makes the whole concept of archiving sound fairly unimportant. What we are actually saying is that email archiving stops you inadvertently breaking the law. The main email archiving law that is used in cases regarding email evidence is the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX) and breaking this could land you up to 20 years in prison.

In order to be in breach of SOX, a punishment will be handed out to ‘….whoever knowingly alters, destroys, mutilates, conceals, covers up, falsifies, or makes a false entry in any record, document, or tangible object with the intent to impede, obstruct, or influence the investigation or proper administration of any matter within the jurisdiction of any department or agency of the United States.’

The best way to protect yourself from this is to use an email archiving solution.

Altering or making false entries in documents or records is classed as a crime according to SOX. Emails are considered to be important documents, so it’s necessary to ensure that no messages are changed in any way. Email archiving prevents editing of any documentation within the archive. This means that an email will stay in its original form indefinitely.

Falsifying documents is also listed as a crime within the Act and email archiving can help you prove a document’s validity. By using a good email archiving solution, all documents will automatically time-stamp an archived email with a complex algorithm that cannot be faked. This proves that any email you pull from the archive is 100% genuine, which could prove valuable in a legal matter.

Finally, destroying email evidence is also considered very serious. Using an email archive guarantees that no emails ever get deleted. Once an email is archived, it is saved for good and the archive can’t be tampered with.


Compliance doesn’t sound that serious in the grand scheme of things and makes following email archiving laws more palatable. However, should you actually suffer a compliance breach, the consequences can be very serious indeed. In order to keep yourself protected at all times, invest in an email archiving solution to ensure you are always prepared for any legal activities or eDiscovery requests asked of your business.

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