E-mail: Powerful Tool or Time Waster
While spam is a problem, uncheck e-mail usage can turn a power communication tool into a major distraction for a small business.
Bright Hub: Are there common mistakes in e-mail management?
David Kelleher: A very common mistake is not having an e-mail management policy or strategy in place. E-mail today is a huge repository of information... in many organizations e-mail content comprises up to 75% of the material employees need to do their job. Therefore it is extremely important that companies pay greater attention to e-mail management than they did in the past. E-mail management goes beyond using e-mail as a business tool; today e-mail is an organization's data. It is precious. Therefore it needs to be safeguarded.
Another common mistake is to allow employees to manage their own e-mail archive. If employees decide on what e-mails to keep or delete, important information may be lost. An e-mail from an angry client may be something an employee may want to get rid off. On the other hand, a client may argue that the company failed to provide a service when an e-mail sent to the client proves otherwise. If that e-mail had been deleted, the company does not have the means to defend itself!
Bright Hub: What are basics to set up an e-mail management policy?
David Kelleher: The first step is to know where all data is. Many organizations still use .PST files to store e-mails. These are more often than not stored on individual workstations making it much harder to control where all the data is and how it is being handled. A company needs to know that orders received by e-mail are accessible and not dispersed in .PST files or copied to multiple machines.
The second step is to use an e-mail archiving solution that allows the administrator to collect a copy of all corporate e-mails in a central location, for example, an SQL Server. Archiving ensures that a copy of every e-mail inbound and outbound is retained and easy to access if the need arises.
The third step is to create an e-mail policy that is applied company-wide. This policy will inform employees how corporate e-mail should be use within the organization; to be aware of security issues in relation to spam or phishing e-mails; to question and ask for advice if an e-mail looks suspicious; and that e-mails may be monitored if abuse of the organization's e-mail system is suspected.
The fourth step is to check the laws and regulations in the country of operation that specially mention e-mail management and e-mail retention policies.