Email Management Policies and Why Businesses Need One

Email management could be a company’s saving grace in today’s world of litigation and information overload. Email is now one of the most used communication systems around, over which important business decisions are often made, therefore an adequate email management system is vital to any business.
Managing one’s emails effectively could result in a much more productive work environment in terms of organization and timeliness, as well as helping with audit purposes. Furthermore, recent legislation has made it mandatory that all businesses and organizations need to be able to produce any documentation requested by the courts if legal issues arise.
Email Archiving as part of email management
Email archiving is one of the first steps to a successful email management program. Administrators can maintain an archive of all the company’s email correspondence which will be easily searchable and recoverable, and therefore reduce the dependence on PST files that can easily get corrupted and are not secure backups of email data.
Moreover, in order to comply with eDiscovery requests, email archiving is a must, whilst being able to access archived emails and corporate data in a matter of seconds can help realize a return on investment and therefore boost the company’s productivity.
Legislation and Regulations
Apart from the legal benefits that an email management policy presents, it is also important when dealing with inter-company issues such as harassment or dismissal charges, where critical information may have been recorded via email.
If an employee used his work email account for illicit purposes, verifying such a fact could prove to be a difficult task without an adequate email archiving system.
Email management from a legal perspective requires organizations to keep records of email documentation for a minimum period of up to five years. Such legislation includes the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) which affects all industries and imposes severe penalties on anyone who deliberately alters or deletes documents with the intent to defraud third parties.
Even though it is a US law, SOX act is also applicable to European companies with US listings as well as to companies that do business with the US. There are other legislations that also require companies and organizations to archive emails, as well as government bodies that comply with the regulations set by the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the Patriot Act, National Archive Records Administration (NARA) and other legislative entities.
Storage & Knowledge Issues with Email Management
Managing one’s emails is not only a legal and compliance issue but also delves into the fields of storage and knowledge management. There has been a dramatic increase in storage size due to the increase in email usage over the years as well as the upsurge in attachments sent with original emails.
This increase has affected the efficiency, reliability and speed of message servers. An efficient email archiving solution stores emails in a compressed format, resulting in considerable disk space savings and centralizes your email records.
Furthermore, emails are automatically archived as soon as they pass through the message store, thus users can clean up their mailboxes without the worry of losing important emails. Additionally, an email archiving solution that allows authorized users to view emails from a central repository will encourage them to do so without having bulky PST files stored locally.
Large volumes of email correspondence, increased storage limitations, government regulations and potential legal implications have made the need for an email management policy a critical issue for any company. Managing emails through archiving allows organizations to have control over employees’ email accounts whilst ensuring regulatory and corporate compliance.

Jesmond Darmanin is a freelance writer who is passionate about business IT issues and recommends the use of email archiving software as part of a reliable email management policy.