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The Regulatory, Legal And Operations Benefits Of Email Archiving Compliance

By Expert Author: robert fogartys

Because of their potentially immediate retrieval, email archiving compliance by law or regulation, let alone business transaction convenience, is a necessary business activity that cannot be avoided. Providing necessary resources and time to acquire an effective email archiving solution has become a critical path item in the development and operation of today’s enterprise.

There are regulated industries that absolutely require email archiving compliance of communications between employees, affiliates, customers and suppliers to be archived for storage, and retrieval, accessible within a reasonable period of time, and assured of security against intentional corruption or inadvertent modification.

Each industry may have separate regulatory statutes affecting all enterprises in that industry. Regulatory concerns may affect the initial composition, archiving, retrieval and manipulation of email communications. In the event of modification of documents, it may be required to maintain retrievable archives of the original and all modifications to documents. This may also extend to the composition, archiving, retrieval and manipulation of any documents created outside of the email system and attached to or otherwise filed with emails. It is critical that operating enterprises in each regulated industry know their compliance requirements in order to fulfill them properly.

An effective system for email archiving compliance for regulated industries will also have benefit to prepare the enterprise for audits or requests for evidence. The event of loss or corruption of email communications in a regulated industry is simply unacceptable to regulators, even if the regulating agency is the industry itself and not a government agency.

However, even in unregulated industries, the necessity to assure adequate email archiving compliance has potential legal ramifications in the event of a lawsuit either against or initiated by the enterprise. Legal action brought against or on behalf of an enterprise against another entity will depend on the clarity (legibility), accuracy and availability of an emails stored in an archiving solution in order to assure that those documents can be retrieved for perusal by all litigants on a timely basis. As with regulatory concerns, documents in an email archive must be accessible in a reasonable period of time and secure against intentional corruption or mistaken modification so that their legal standing as evidence is assured.

Finally, every enterprise, even if in an unregulated industry, or not ever involved in a court proceeding, will benefit profitably by email archiving compliance, even if just compliance to enterprise policy. An email archiving solution has been proven to be profitable by providing increased productivity of employees by rapid access to archival data, adequate protection of intellectual property, reduced operating costs of handling electronic archival data instead of hard copies, and decreased organizational risk due to poor or lack of archiving critical data or affect by natural or man-made disaster.

Email archiving compliance is not a concern affecting only large enterprises. Small business can benefit, and the benefits may actually provide a greater percentage of profitability than enjoyed by large corporations, if they employ an email archiving solution for their critical and even non-critical email documents.

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