Facebook… Instant messages… Twitter…LinkedIn…Email… wiki’s….blogs…daily electronic newsletters…instant update….Instagram…..YouTube. Aids to productivity, or workplace distractions?
SmartPhones….Tablets…..USB drives….Cloud storage. Aids to productivity, or security leaks?
Of all the workflow-enabling technology available today, email has been around the longest and yet companies are still struggling with managing email.
According to industry analysts, email volume in organizations is growing by more than 30% annually, and the average user receives 7MB of data per day via email.
As a result of this growth, the handling of email has become a critical business, IT and regulatory issue – driving the need for intelligent management. Most organizations looking for an email solution are motivated by five reasons:
- Security breaches
- Mailbox/server management
- Compliance/records retention
- eDiscovery/litigation support
- Knowledge management/intellectual property protection
Technical management overrides business management
Unfortunately, technical management of mailbox or server size often overrides the other business management concerns, resulting in non-compliance, adverse inference in litigation or loss of corporate knowledge because a critical email was automatically deleted without regard for its content.
Or, in the situation where email archiving is used, everything is accorded equal value and preserved indefinitely, adding to the mass of data that needs to be searched for responsive information, and increasing the likelihood of a “smoking gun” in a poorly written communication.
In addition to email, and with similar challenges, are newer communication vehicles, such as instant messaging, which may be officially banned from use in the workplace but are used by employees anyway because of ease of use and accessibility.
An auditor would then find the business in non-compliance with the stated policy.
Costs of information overload
In 2010, Basex, a leading knowledge economy research firm, estimated that information overload costs the U.S. economy a minimum of $900 billion per year in lowered employee productivity and reduced innovation.
Further, Basex estimates that 25% of the knowledge worker’s day is lost to information overload. It’s only gotten worse in the intervening 9 years.
Too often business units go their own way in trying to manage this flood of information by managing records in a manner that suits how they use them day to day without understanding the implications to the rest of the company.
Records may be stored for convenience in hard copy in a common area, in pdf on a shared drive, and, may also be on a laptop or on a USB drive, devices meant to be portable.
Questions arise about the authenticity of the business’ records where multiple copies exist if there are no guidelines and if resources don’t exist to effectively manage records.
Even worse, if the information is “mobile” and the individual becomes incapacitated, there is the makings of a disaster because the information is now inaccessible.
How to protect your organization
An enterprise wide information governance program addresses all records, regardless of format, and provides the rules and the tools by which a company can capture and manage its records, from creation or receipt, efficiently, effectively and compliantly.
Electronic content management applications are available which will allow the ascension of records to a repository in non-editable form with metadata, including audio and photographic formats.
These programs are not inexpensive to implement or maintain. However, they pay for themselves when litigation can be avoided because authentic, responsive documents that support a company’s position are provided in a timely manner, through a standard business process.