Not having an email archive doesn’t exactly strike the same fear as driving without airbags or being on a plane with no oxygen masks. If it did, it would be easier to express its importance to people. But the fact remains they are all things that you don’t want to be without in a serious situation. It’s true no one will die or even sustain any injuries if they do business without an email archive, but it could potentially kill a company.
For companies in the United States, being found to be operating without sufficient attention paid to legislation such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 is potentially fatal. Non-compliance with these regulations can include failing to keep secure records of company activities or being seen to tamper with important information and it can carry substantial penalties.
If found to be in breach of this legislation a business can incur large, debilitating fines that could potentially force them to stop trading. Furthermore, directors of a non-complying company can face up to 20 years in prison. If that strike you as a real danger, little else will.
In cases of litigation, the absence of an email archive could be detrimental. An important aspect of email archiving is eDisovery – the ability to recover a document from an archive efficiently and in tact. It is crucial that these documents are seen to have been kept secure so they could not have been altered or deleted.
Failure to recover a document in time or a file being corrupted during recovery could delay a lawsuit by an unnecessary amount of time. Delaying a lawsuit can incur large legal fees or fines in some cases. Failure to recover the data at all could cause a company to loose a lawsuit completely.
While email archiving may not seem glaringly obvious as a necessary precaution, the dangers of not having one are very real, and potentially just as devastating. As with many safety precautions, it’s better to have it in place before it’s too late.