Procedure is one of the most common words in the business vernacular. Every business has it’s own procedures; even the ones that use phrases like policy, process or method instead of procedure. Procedure is important in making sure that a business operates correctly. It’s particularly important in legal matters like eDiscovery and regulatory compliance.
Email management procedures are in place in most organizations to cover regulatory compliance and ediscovery. These procedures cover the usage of the email system and they’re normally contained within a procedural document handed out to staff before they start using email.
Email Management Procedures are Vital
The most important procedures relate to the people who actively manage the email systems. These procedures will cover the backup schedule and methodology, and the retention periods for each email. They will also cover procedures for the recovery of email in the case of an ediscovery or regulatory request.
As long as these procedures are followed, the organization remains in compliance. The problem with procedures though, is that they’re not always followed. People don’t ignore procedure entirely, but its human nature to cut corners. If you’re in a hurry or have a heavy workload, a tape backup may be missed, or you might delete documents a week early to save time.
Minor Mistakes could mean Major Consequences
In isolation, these may seem like minor indiscretions that would have little consequences. But regulatory compliance requires the absolute integrity of records. Even minor corner cutting could cause major problems.
Imagine your organization receives an ediscovery or regulatory request that covers a period in which emails weren’t properly backed up. If you’re unaware at the time of the request, you could end up wasting valuable man-hours looking for records that no longer exist. Then you have the potential costs of returning an incomplete response.
The real problem with procedure is that it’s built on trust and relies on a lack of human error. The only way to guarantee regulatory compliance is to find a system that removes that potential for human error. Automated systems, like email archiving, can remove that human error but still need to be used correctly.
The key is to partner those systems with strong procedure. That way you can ensure that procedure remains an important word in your business. And that regulatory compliance and eDiscovery become words you don’t have to worry about.