Almost 10 years after the Dec 2006 passing of the amended Federal Rules of Civil Procedures (FRCP) bill, business operators are still discovering that they are responsible for the protection and storage of their digital business communications. Whether you are a small or large organization, since the passing of this bill, businesses will no longer be able to use unawareness as an acceptable excuse for not complying with eDiscovery regulations. If your business still does not have an email retention policy in place to archive your communications, then you may be at a heightened risk for legal penalties.
As of May 2015, more than one quarter of all businesses have no email retention policy in place that hold-up to the standards of the FRCP. With close to 90% of all business communication transpiring through email or instant messaging programs, archiving has become an essential part of an IT department’s duties. While some businesses rely solely on data back-ups, they do not realize that this only protects current data in the event of a system failure or loss. Archiving, however, protects both current and historical email data so it’s preserved securely and is readily accessible.
In the eyes of the FRCP, data back-ups are just not enough. Executing an email archiving procedure allows all email data to be readily indexed and searchable. The potential penalties for not having this data straightforwardly available at a court’s request could include the following: sanctions, heavy fines, contempt of court or even in some cases, a guilty verdict. While businesses are often subject to different tax, liability, and privacy regulations depending on their location, all must still comply with the FRCP.
The overall responsibility continues to fall upon the corporation to discern where business data is stored and retrieved. Companies must be capable of meeting data requests and deciphering what data won’t be subject to search. While there are different standards for various types of information, the IRS recommends archiving for a minimum of 7-10 years in order to be protected. These regulatory compliance procedures cannot be left to a legal team or untouched at all. Keeping your IT department and key Executives intimately involved with the process of storage is key to a successful email archiving program. To learn more about email archiving, read more on CRTG’s Managed Services.