Should Your Company Be Archiving Your E-Mail?

For companies under the jurisdiction of HIPAA, SEC, SOX, or any of the other alphabet soup regulations, email is considered “work product” and must be retained and protected from misuse or theft.

Even if you’re not under the government’s microscope via one of these regulations, you should still be concerned about e-mail archiving.

E-mail archiving is now mandatory
FRCP – The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are a set of recently revised rules for managing civil suits in all US District courts and in thirty-five state courts that require you to archive your e-mail (with no exceptions for company size, organizational structure or nonprofit status).

The rules are specific, non-negotiable, and apply to e-mail generated and received by the business, its customers and vendors.

If you sue or get sued in civil court, you may win or lose your case based on compliance with the procedures regarding e-mail archiving.

HIPPA – Safeguarding the privacy and security of patient information is not limited to clinics and healthcare providers anymore.

Any organization that sends, receives or stores paper and electronic personal health information (PHI) must comply with this legislation. A recent survey revealed that compliance failure is around 50%.

SOX – The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 states that all public companies and their accounting firms must sercurely retain all business records, including electronic records and messages, for not less than five years. Failure results in fines and imprisonment.

E-mail archiving keeps you up and running
Just a few years ago, the average size of a user’s mail box was 10MB. Today the average size is 50x larger (500MB)! This causes many servers in small businesses to overload, slowing down speed and performance dramatically. While a third of this bloat are messages that should be deleted, the rest need to be retained, searchable and available on demand. Most mail server software has built-in features that move “old” e-mail off the server, but doesn’t allow for easy access to the information.

You can also buy bigger server hard drives every year to prevent a bog-down, but this can be cost prohibitive. More often than not, email archiving is the most effective and economical choice for retaining messages and staying compliant with regulations.