Set Up a Data Retention Policy

A data retention policy, or records retention policy, is an organization's established protocol for retaining information for operational or regulatory compliance needs. 

Within SurveyGizmo, the Data Retention Policy (DRP) Settings allow Account Administrators to specify how long you wish to retain survey responses. You can:

1. Automatically enroll surveys in your DRP.

And/Or

2. Set up Compliance Administrators who can manually apply your DRP settings to surveys, questions, and question library elements. 

Once set up, responses that are older than the data retention period you specify will be automatically and permanently deleted from SurveyGizmo.

Set up an account-level DRP

Account Administrators can set up an account-wide DRP and/or appoint Compliance Administrators who can manually apply a DRP on a survey or question basis. To do so, go to Account > Summary > Security and Compliance. Under the Data Retention Policy section you'll see three options:

Never automatically delete old survey responses

This is the default setting. All responses will be stored until they are manually deleted by one of your users. 

DRP Default: Never automatically delete old survey responses

Automatically delete all responses in this account which are older than the data retention period

This setting allows you to specify how long responses will be available – in days, months, or years – until they are automatically and permanently deleted.

To set this up, select the corresponding option and specify your Data Retention Period.

This will then automatically enroll all new surveys (surveys created after August 29, 2018) in the data retention period you specified. (If you wish to apply your DRP to existing surveys users set up as compliance administrators can manually apply the DRP settings to existing surveys, questions, and questions in question library elements.)

DRP Setting: Automatically delete responses older than the data retention period

Automatically delete all responses on specified surveys or questions which are older than the data retention period

This setting allows you to enroll all surveys created by specific user teams and/or enable specific teams and/or users to manually set up a DRP either at the survey or question level. 

This setting presents you with a number of different data retention possibilities.  

  1. You can specify a Data Retention Period and enter teams in the Automatic Survey Enrollment field. This will then automatically enroll all new surveys (surveys created after August 29, 2018) in the data retention period you specified. (If you wish to apply your DRP to existing surveys users set up as compliance administrators can manually apply the DRP settings to existing surveys, questions, and questions in question library elements.)

    For example, response data in all new surveys (surveys created after August 29, 2018) assigned to Team 2 would be deleted 3 months after the Date Submitted stamp on the response.
    DRP Setting: Automatically delete responses on specified surveys
  2. You can specify Compliance Administrators – teams and/or specific users – who will then be allowed to manually apply the DRP you've defined at the survey and/or question level. In this case, you would leave the Data Retention Period blank.

    For example, the below DRP settings allow any users on Team 1, as well as, Dave and Wendy to manually apply the DRP at the survey or question level. Learn more about manually customizing DRP settings at survey or question level.
    DRP Setting: Set up Compliance Administrators who can manually apply our DRP to surveys and questions
  3. Finally, you can use all of these settings in combination. For example, the below settings would work like so: 
    • Response data in all new surveys (surveys created after August 29, 2018) assigned to Team 2 would be deleted 3 months after the Date Submitted stamp on the response.
    • In addition to these automatic deletion settings, users on Team 2, as well as, Dave and Wendy will be able to manually apply your DRP settings at the survey or question level in any survey they have access to; this includes existing surveys (surveys created prior to August 29, 2018).
      DRP Setting: Set up automatic enrollment and Compliance Administrators

Compliance Administrators: Manually set up a survey-level and/or question-level DRP

Users that have been added as Compliance Administrators can manually apply your DRP to surveys or questions.

Apply DRP to Surveys

To apply the DRP to a survey go to Tools > Response Settings and check the option next to Data Retention Policy. The option will show the data retention period length in parentheses for confirmation. This setting is not reversible once you click the Save Settings button on this page.

Compliance Administrators: Manually apply DRP to a survey

Apply DRP to Survey Questions or Questions in Question Library Elements

To apply the DRP to a question, edit the question from a survey's Build tab and select the option to Apply data retention policy to this question's responses.

This setting is available in the same location for questions in Question Library Elements. In the case of the Question Library questions, this would apply your DRP in all surveys where the library question is used. Learn more about the Question Library

Compliance Administrators: Manually apply DRP to a question

Reviewing your Schedule for Permanent Deletion

Each time you apply a DRP at any level – account, survey, question, or question library element – you will need to confirm your Schedule for Permanent Deletion. Please review the content here as there is no recovery method. Enter your password to confirm that you understand that the action is irreversible. Keep in mind, once DRP settings are applied to a survey, question, or question library element, they cannot be reversed. Learn more below about what DRP settings can be edited/changed.

Review Schedule for Permanent Deletion

Editing Your DRP

All DRP settings at the account level can be changed. Depending on your changes these will be applied differently:

  • A change to the data retention period will be applied to an existing enrolled survey, as well as, any new eligible surveys. 
  • A change to the teams in the Automatic Survey Enrollment will only make changes to new surveys. That is, removing teams from the Automatic Survey Enrollment field will not un-enroll existing surveys from the DRP. Once a survey is enrolled in DRP it will remain enrolled. 
  • The only way to un-enroll a survey, question, or question library from being enrolled in DRP is to turn off your account-wide DRP. To do so an account administrator must go to Account > Summary > Security and Compliance and select Never automatically delete old survey responses.

Identify surveys, questions, responses, and library elements that are enrolled in DRP

There are several places within the application that allow users to identify surveys, questions, and question library elements enrolled in the DRP.

  • Compliance Administrators will be able to identify questions, surveys, library elements, and survey responses that are subject to the DRP.
  • Non-Compliance Admins will be able to identify survey responses only.

Surveys

Surveys enrolled in your DRP will display the following alert under Tools > Response Settings. This alert is visible to Compliance Administrators only.

In-survey DRP Alert

Questions

Questions enrolled in your DRP, either at the question or survey level, will display the following alert when editing the question. This alert is visible to Compliance Administrators only.

In-question DRP Alert

Question Library Elements

Similar to survey questions, questions within the Question Library will display the following alert when editing the question. This alert is visible to Compliance Administrators only.

Question Library: In-question DRP Alert

Individual Responses

In individual responses, you will see two warnings about DRP. These alerts are visible to all users with access to the survey.

The first warning is on the main response grid. 

Response grid DRP Alert

The second warning displays within each of the responses. Note that it tells you exactly when the response will be deleted.

Response DRP Alert

Compatibility: Data Retention Policies and Quotas

If you plan to use quotas in your surveys it is important to note how a DRP will interact with the quota feature. As data is deleted according to your DRP the slots for these deleted responses will be freed up in your quota. 

We recommend closing your survey before your DRP will begin deleting responses. You can use our schedule your survey to close automatically before your DRP will begin deleting responses. You might also consider using a Send Email Action to send a notification around the date that your DRP will begin deleting responses. 

FAQ

When will responses be deleted? 

At midnight ET, responses with a Date Submitted older than your data retention period will be deleted.

What date is used to determine that responses will be deleted?

The Last Update field on the Details tab of an Individual Response is used to evaluate whether responses should be deleted according to your DRP.

Does my DRP apply to all responses – test, live, disqualified, and deleted responses?

It does! All response statuses – test*, live, disqualified, and deleted responses – will be permanently deleted according to your DRP.

*Test responses that were created using the option to generate random Date-Submitted values will not be deleted based on these random values. Instead, they will be deleted based on the date and time the response was generated.

What if I want to apply my DRP to existing surveys (those created prior to the release of the DRP feature on August 29, 2018)?

Users set up as compliance administrators can manually apply the DRP settings to existing surveys, questions, and questions in question library elements.

What happens if I copy a survey or question that has DRP settings applied?

Copying either a survey or question with DRP settings will also copy the DRP settings.

Can I recover responses deleted by my DRP?

No, there is no recovery method. 

Can I un-enroll a survey, question, or question library element?

Currently the only method for un-enrolling a survey, question, or question library element from your DRP is to turn off the account-level DRP setting. To do so, an account administrator must go to Account > Summary > Security and Compliance and select Never automatically delete old survey responses.

Are Email Campaign contacts deleted as part of my DRP?

The Data Retention Policy applies to survey responses. It does not apply to contacts (and associated details) that have been uploaded to Email Campaigns. If you need your contacts removed, please contact our Support team.

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