It’s a fact- email is growing at a rapid pace and its left many organisations scratching their heads.
“What should we do with all this mail? Should we keep it or delete it? And who should make this decision- our organisation or the individual who receives the email? “
There are difficult decisions to be made when it comes to managing your masses of emails. It comes down to three main issues: intellectual property, expanding storage requirements and legal compliance. Lets have a further look at these.
The vast majority of an organisation’s intellectual property is stored in individual mailboxes and cessation, continuity and knowledge retention relies on it. Deleting emails – and therefore the source of a company’s intellectual property – must be done carefully and deliberately.
But does this mean we should keep all of our mail forever?
Expanding storage requirements
This ever-expanding mass of email must be stored somewhere.
“Storage is cheap”, I hear you say. Yes, it can be. But it isn’t all cheap. In fact, the storage needed for a mission-critical email server is actually very expensive.
Deleting unimportant emails and retaining the important ones might seem like a good solution but this can also be very expensive. It is far too time consuming and error-prone for an individual employee to troll through their email to decide which messages are important and which can be deleted.
It’s bound to make your head spin thinking about the time it would take to search for one deleted email and then deciding whether you should make the effort to retrieve it, if that is even possible.
The third challenge with managing mail is compliance. To be legally compliant, your organisation should be able to provide email evidence on demand or, if you don’t hand over a requested email, prove that the said email is covered by a policy allowing for its deletion.
Proof of whether or not your organisation is compliant comes into play when a legal challenge is made by you or against you. If or when this happens, the integrity of your email archive will come under the spotlight.
Would your archiving system stand up to the challenge?
The Sword and the Shield
Email can and will be used against you in a court of law. Having less of it available to be discovered has one obvious advantage. But on the flipside, it could be used against you if a deleted email could have been used as evidence in your favour or make a rightful claim.
Deletion of email must be performed strictly in accordance with a policy. This policy must state exactly what categories of email should be retained, for how long and how email should be deleted. Your email policy should be communicated with employees and there should be clear consequences for any infringement.
The challenges with protecting intellectual property, expanding storage requirements and legal compliance can be lessened by implementing an email archiving and policy grooming software.
The benefits of email archiving software are:
- It transfers the storage burden to an archiving database, which will likely have lower storage costs
- It allows for single instance storage of emails and attachments, reducing the storage space taken up by duplication
- It allows corporate intellectual property to be accessible more widely via proxy assignment of access rights and
- It includes a policy grooming tool to ensure that email is deleted or retained according to a strict policy and then left to run unsupervised