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Messaging Architects Series on Email Risk Management, Part 3

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Messaging Architects

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Posted: 26 Sep 2006

Messaging Architects Presents: Email Risk Management and Business Driven Email Retention Policies - Part 3

As messaging and collaboration systems become more complex and regulatory requirements grow in scope, there is frustration over the lack of clear guidance around the topic of Risk Management for Enterprise Email. To respond to this pressing need, Messaging Architects is offering a series of articles to crucial issues of email risk management and policy-based email retention. We hope to provide guidance in your goal towards legal and regulatory compliance and corporate IT governance. To review the first part, Email Record Retention 101, click here. To review Part II, Best Practices for Email Record Retention, click here.

HR Perspective on Email Retention and Destruction

A key asset for an enterprise is its email records: they are the vast repository of corporate memory, serving the enterprise even as employees come and go or shift from one position to another within the organization. Thus, as a repository for corporate memory, email record retention is an imperative for the entire enterprise, not just a responsibility tied to individual employees. The records do not belong to the employees. The needs of the enterprise dictate centralized management of email records.

Email records contain evidence that protects the legal interests of the enterprise, helping it to avoid liability and establish rights to assets. Email records show commitments employees made or didn't make, and resolve many contract investigations and disputes. Today, email records store more contractual terms and conditions than paper does. Even when a contract is memorialized on paper, the parties will informally amend it through their email.

Email records document intellectual property development by employees, and they detail when and under what conditions trade secrets are shared with business partners. Due to the vastness of information they contain, email records can in effect serve as legal records the enterprise didn't even know it was required to keep. Although responsible enterprises will endeavor to know the applicable employment laws and keep all the records those laws expect, mistakes will happen. People will forget to set records aside.

Again, email can come to the rescue. Employment laws are just one example of a larger category of law where good e-records can help to show compliance. Included within that category are corporate governance laws, such as Sarbanes-Oxley and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. To expect employees to read all their email and selectively decide what to keep and what to destroy is dangerous and wasteful of employee time.

Need More Information?
For in-depth knowledge on the legal aspects on Electronic Mail Records Management and illustrations with some high-profile legal cases, consult the 4-part video series produced by Messaging Architects Media and narrated by leading technology expert Ben Wright. To order the Email Compliance Video Series:

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