Monday, December 7, 2009

Is it ok to blow away email?

I was reading the Wall Street Journal this morning, and came across a story in which the journalist explores the continued reality that IT storage limitations continue to dictate what happens to business content. Email system mailbox size limitations still mandate that certain email (often at the discretion of employees) be purged to make room for new stuff. After well over a decade of pontificating about such ill-advised practices the question remains. Why does the need to limit cost associated with the email system mean that employees blow away potentially valuable content so they will be allowed to receive new email messages.

But I don’t get why it’s still common practice. What if it’s an email record which the law requires get retained? What if the email is needed for a lawsuit or audit? Maybe CIOs understand exactly what they are doing and don’t care. Maybe it’s a calculated risk to save storage, save on discovery expense and they deem it a rather innocuous type of “destruction”? Maybe they have come to conclude employees will never actually take the time to code email and therefore are taking cost matters into their own hands? Maybe they are saying to records managers “are you kidding me—employees will never do it or get it right and I am tired of waiting for something to change”.

Are we kidding ourselves?