It maybe a cliché to state yet again that over the last decade the volume of email used in business has grown exponentially, but if you happen to be one of the workers in the knowledge sector who has to deal with upwards of 25,000 emails a year, then you will know that doing so is no longer a joke. One of the most challenging tasks when confronted with such huge volumes of data and information is finding what it is you need. In fact it is harder than finding a needle in a haystack as there are significant differences between needles and hay; it is more like finding a single needle in a huge stack of very similar needles.
The cloud-based SaaS provider Mimecast has carried out a study on the “Shape of Email” and came to the conclusion that only around 14 percent of business email messages are critically important to the receiver. It has also been shown that many workers spend up to a quarter of their working day dealing with email. Yet the importance of email to businesses should not be underestimated: almost three quarters of data that is critical to business exists within email, however this can lie hidden among up to around seven times as much non-critical email.
And sometimes it is just a single email that is crucial to a business. It might be crucial to a large contract; it might contain information that is potentially important as legal evidence; it might have sensitive content which should be kept confidential and secure; and it might contain information of a personal nature that should not be retained.
Yet fewer than 20 percent of organisations use an email management system to capture crucial email, and almost 40 percent use personal email folders in Outlook. According to Mimecast, around 30 percent of organizations consider that their email management is chaotic. Dangerously, in around 33 percent of organizations there is a complete lack of policy that deals with legal discovery, and in around 25 percent the estimated time to locate and produce an email document is a month. Given that new rules regarding discovery have recently come into effect there could well be a whole raft of penalties issued to organizations for non-compliance.
So how can the problem be addressed? The only solution is to develop an email management system that is standardised and includes procedures and policies which ensure that all relevant email is stored securely and in a manner that is compliant with laws and regulations, and for many organizations cloud email management is the only viable solution.