E-Mails Are Major Legal Discovery Risk
Back Published 2009-05-12Silver Spring, Md. — May 12
ECM industry researcher AIIM has found that a third of organizations have no policy to deal with legal discovery, and 40 percent might need to search backup tapes to find e-mails that could be relevant to litigation. This new 2009 AIIM survey, which was supported by EMC Corp. and ASG, found that 84 percent would have no way to justify why e-mails of a certain age or type had been deleted.
In AIIM’s view, most organizations are only just waking up to the fact that among the deluge of day-to-day e-mails are some that constitute important business records. These e-mails need to be recorded and retained as such.
More than half of respondents lack confidence that e-mails related to documenting commitments and obligations made by staff are recorded, complete and recoverable. This number has not improved during the past three AIIM surveys. Perhaps this finding is not surprising given that 45 percent of respondents are still filing important e-mails in personal Outlook folders. A resolute 18 percent print important e-mails and file them as paper. Only 19 percent have the facility to move important e-mails into a document or records management system, or a dedicated e-mail management system.
Doug Miles, director of market intelligence at AIIM, commented, “This is not just a legal discovery issue. Finding and recovering past e-mails is cited as the No. 2 problem with e-mail as a business tool, after ‘sheer overload’ at No. 1. Given that most people spend more than one and a half hours per day processing e-mails, this is a major efficiency issue. The good news is that a third of organizations plan fresh investment in e-mail management initiatives over the next two years.”
The new AIIM research also found that two-thirds of respondents access e-mails on the move, and a startling 28 percent normally process work-related e-mails on weekends and while on vacation.
The full report,“Email Management, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” can be downloaded for free at http://www.aiim.org/emailmanagement2009.
Email Management is also addressed in the AIIM Certificate Training Program, which is available on the Web or as classroom courses at http://www.aiim.org/training.