12 May Emails are major legal discovery risk
MADISON – The electronic content management association and researcher AIIM has released a report that found that a third of organizations have no policy to deal with legal discovery and 40% might need to search back-up tapes to find emails that could be relevant to litigation. This new 2009 AIIM survey, which was supported by EMC Corporation and ASG, found that 84% would have no way to justify why emails 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 emails, are some that constitute important business records. These emails need to be recorded and retained as such.
Over half of respondents lack confidence that emails related to documenting commitments and obligations made by staff are recorded, complete and recoverable. This number has not improved over the last three AIIM surveys. Perhaps this finding is not surprising given that 45% of respondents are still filing important emails in personal Outlook folders. A resolute 18% print important emails and file them as paper. Only 19% have the facility to move important emails into a document or records management system, or a dedicated email management system.
Doug Miles, Director of Market Intelligence at AIIM, says, “This is not just a legal discovery issue. Finding and recovering past emails is cited as the number two problem with email as a business tool – after `sheer overload’ at number one. Given that most people spend more than 1 ½ hours per day processing emails this is a major efficiency issue. The good news is that a third of organizations plan fresh investment in email management initiatives over the next two years.”
The new AIIM research also found that two-thirds of respondent’s access emails on the move, and a startling 28% normally process work-related emails on weekends and while on vacation.
The full report in the AIIM Industry Watch series, “Email Management, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly”, can be downloaded for free at http://www.aiim.org/emailmanagement2009.