The importance of email compliance
Protect your company through effective email retention
Posted on: 08 January 2017
By: Cindy Phillips, Marketing Manager
Email has long been considered the primary business communication tool in the UK, and across the developed world. Indeed, we’re all well aware of the benefits against the traditional postal service – high speed, 24/7 availability, low cost, multiple recipient sending and accessible to anyone with an internet connection. Most businesses would acknowledge that email is critical to their success, as is following the relevant email retention laws in the UK.
Email in business
As the prevalence of email exploded in the 2000s businesses began using email for ever more official business. Contracts, proposals, policy decisions, pricing, presentations and other business records began to circulate on the world wide web. Today, it is estimated that the average worker receives 10,000 emails a year.
Businesses must understand that retaining email and attachments, and having a solid and reliable system of backup and recovery, is very important. We very much recommend that email compliance is shuffled up the priority list for business owners and IT managers.
Much of the law surrounding data retention pre-dates email, this means that, by default, email correspondence is subject to the same requirements as paper documents. For example, seven years is the requirement for financial records and employee records should be kept for at least five years.
Benefits of email retention and compliance
There are numerous benefits to having solid email compliance processes and data retention policies in place. Having robust email retention and backup in place can be key in legal situations or employee disputes. We know few people like the word compliance but even less people like the word litigation! The repercussions of accidentally deleting inboxes full of data that should, by law, be kept on record could be significant.
Email compliance is particularly pertinent for business operating within the legal or financial service industry. It is also essential for estate agencies, charities and schools who are almost certainly dealing with sensitive information via email.
Top tips for email compliance
- Don’t burden your users with the decision-making process of selecting which email is important and which one is not, simply automate the whole process. We recommend that copies of all emails that have been sent or received are backed up in their original format for as long as you need – even if that length of time equates to “forever”. The decreasing cost of storage makes this an affordable option if needed.
- Ensure that backed-up emails cannot be changed or deleted. We can use encryption and compression to ensure that no alterations can be made and a forensically sound copy can be produced, in the email’s original format, when retrieved from the compliance archive. This is particularly important in legal situations, because you must be able to produce the original email and not one that could have, or had been, edited in any way.
- Advanced search and find functionality will be imperative. Your archive will be vast, likely hundreds of thousands of emails over time. Ensure you recover exactly what you need easily. It’s pointless having an email compliance archive if you cannot get to the emails you want to view quickly and easily.
- Ensure that your backed-up compliance archive is located away from the primary storage location. If a disaster strikes onsite you want to be sure that your compliance archive is unaffected.
How to improve your email compliance processes
OGL has helped hundreds of companies to put in place an email compliance strategy. Allowing us to advise on the best methods takes the worry away from you.
Our backup services and data recovery options create no disruption from your day-to-day working but give you peace of mind that you are working within data protection and retention laws and have a record of all sent and received emails that would be permissible in court if you ever faced a situation of that kind.