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A recent legal tech conference emphasised how the eruption of big data has created new challenges for organisations. According to IDC, the digital universe is expected to grow 50 fold from 2009 to 2020, essentially doubling every two years. What is truly scary for businesses is that one third of that information will need to be managed by businesses for compliance purposes. (IDC’s 2012 Digital Universe Study)

Many information governance panels are highlighting the direct relationship between large volumes of electronically stored information (ESI) and the amount it costs to conduct a discovery process.

Though this should not be a shock to anyone who is familiar with the process of email discovery and what it entails, businesses must decide how they will preserve documents, as they could be needed for litigation at any time in the case of a dispute. Crucially organisations must figure out how they will store electronic documents as the risks incurred by destroying them are becoming progressively harsher.

Don’t “Spring Clean” Your Emails

There is always a temptation to completely wipe your emails when you feel they are irrelevant (gossip about the christmas party) or you really just need the space (because your inbox is full).

While a regular clearance of your inbox makes it easier to find things, it is much easier to use an archiving system that allows you quick access to your emails through an accurate search process.

An enterprise email archive allows you to comply with Australian regulations and policies. Failure to do this may result in trying to filter your emails by date or keyword, vainly trying to find what you need.

For example, trying to find an email based on a vague keyword such as “hello” or “meeting”. It is possible to put in place a system that helps you avoid this situation. You could create a business-wide etiquette guide for how to create an email, including rules such as starting a new thread when an important document or new subject comes up. Unfortunately, creating a company policy like that is only half the battle. The job of enforcing this new policy is much harder. Every company needs to make sure they have employees that understand and comply with the rules at all times.

In the event of email discovery requests or disputes, accidental deletion can create a massive waste of resources as the IT department scrambles to find what they need. They then discover what they were looking for isn’t there and your company now faces very steep fines and repercussions.

Don’t let the emails out of your sight

Without an email archiving system it is very easy for emails to slip through the cracks allowing a simple understandable human error to have serious repercussions for the entire company.

GFI conducted some research that showed employees are most likely to use IT resources when there is an issue finding specific data. Of all the businesses surveyed 69% of them claimed that employees asked for help recovering deleted and lost emails. This had a flow on effect in that it reduced the amount of time the IT department had to deal with other technical issues and their ability to instigate new programs or policies that increase the performance of the business.

As we can see from the above study recovering lost, deleted or corrupted emails costs time, energy and money. These three factors mean most businesses are doing more to try and secure this information so that it can’t be easily removed from their servers.

The deletion of emails poses a large challenge for organisations because it can cost the business in IT resources and more severely in money if the business fails to comply. Showing the court that your business has made a concerted effort to comply with email retention laws can help your case immensely.

If you would like to read more about compliance email archiving please download our whitepaper on the topic by clicking on the link below.