In 2015, a fine of $2.6 million was placed on a company called Scottrade by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) for failing to keep emails. Scottrade, along with other companies who have received a similar fine, could have easily avoided such a fine by making it straightforward to access the company’s archived emails. Fines as big as these should be avoided at all costs by businesses and shouldn’t be suffered over something as simple as failing to keep emails.
Every organization exposes itself to risk by its very existence, regardless of whether it is a profit, non-profit or government entity. There always remains the chance that a natural disaster, regulatory audit, lawsuit or cybercrime could strike the organisation. A responsible manager makes every effort to identify the threats to the business and takes all the necessary precautions to minimize the likelihood of these events, as well as to prepare for them should they occur. This planning all goes hand-in-hand with the broader business continuity and disaster strategy, which every successful operation should have in place.
One component of minimising risk that is often overlooked is the archiving of emails. Several laws and regulations specify how long an organization must maintain records, including emails. Most of the rules covering retention state that emails and other records should be stored for several years. A lawsuit is a practical example of how emails may be needed several years after having been sent or received, as a court may order production of all records associated with a case. The request for these records is defined as eDiscovery and, if required, the company must be able to provide the documents in question.
Organizations’ Electronic Information Requirements
During a lawsuit or investigation, an organization may be required to identify, collect and deliver all electronically stored information (ESI) that are relevant to the matter-at-hand. This information includes, but is not limited to
- Social media
Complying with an eDiscovery Order Without a Managed System
This can quite easily run into thousands of emails. If the area of interest spans over several years and includes dispatches to and from 100’s of employees in multiple departments, it can prove extremely difficult to locate what you are looking for. An organization that’s lacking an automated and well-managed system would find it near to impossible to comply with the order to produce all relevant emails in a timely manner.
Severe Consequences to Lack of Compliance
Almost every regulation covering records retention stipulates a fine or, in some cases, criminal charges if an organization is unable to produce emails/records that they are required to by law. As mentioned previously, these fines can be substantial. In 2015, when FINRA fined Scottrarde $2.6 million USD, they had failed to retain more than 168 million outgoing emails and record email communications in the proper format. Another example can be seen in 2005, when a Florida jury awarded financier Ronald Perelman $1.45 billion USD in damages after the trial judge issued a default judgment against Morgan Stanley as a sanction for failing to comply with eDiscovery.
Preparing for an eDiscovery Request
It is crucial for any business to have an eDiscovery solution. Because inefficient storage is expensive and makes data difficult to access, companies need to be addressing the storage demands of their ever-growing data. However, every company also needs to be aware of what it needs to do to make sure its data is stored in a manner that’s going to make it legally compliant if it’s involved in a lawsuit.
The majority of an organization’s corporate knowledge is found in its email. Email represents a lot of time and effort on the part of many employees. Therefore, it’s an investment that every business should protect. Archiving not only protects the intellectual property represented by email, it makes email management in general easier. This, in turn, improves productivity and performance.
ArcTitan is a cloud-based archive system designed by TitanHQ. ArcTitan provides cloud-based archiving and retrieval of emails compliant with Sarbanes–Oxley, HIPPA, and other regulations for eDiscovery, retention and audit. Users may search, view and retrieve archived emails from Outlook or any web browser in a matter of seconds. eDiscovery requests can instantly be produced, with search options covering entire organization, departments or groups for content of headers, emails and attachments. Archived emails include an audit trail, documenting any modifications to messages which ensures compliance to regulations.
To learn more about benefits of ArcTitan, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.