I plucked this particular headline out of many as an excellent real-world illustration of the downside of failing to properly retain and archive data. In this particular instance, Piper Jaffray paid FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc.) a $700,000 fine because they were unable to produce an electronic copy of a single email message for an investigation.
Unfortunately, that's when Piper "informed" FINRA about the other 4.3 million emails they failed to retain over a period of six years. Obviously, I don't have the inside scoop as to why this occurred, but based on experience, I can tell you that $700,000 buys a lot of data protection.
As I've pontificated on many occasions, what if this involved a lawsuit or a tax issue; or a host of other issues? Does it really matter? Proper data retention and management may involve a large capital outlay, but pays for itself over and over in the long run.
If you're the person tasked with getting this done, forward this story to your bosses – or present copies at the next meeting. Eventually, someone will realize that avoiding the issue is simply penny-wise and pound-foolish.