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Email Looms as IT Threat

Email is growing by leaps and bounds, both in importance and volume. So it's not good news that nobody's in the wheelhouse.

Yet that's what turned up in a survey of 1,043 email users conducted by a the Association for Information and Image Management, which calls itself the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) association (an example of what happens when you seek to modernize your name but still own a longstanding brand and URL).

Results of the industry group's online survey taken in August and September 2006 reveal that most organizations aren't managing email at all. Aside from storing it for a given time period, most respondents reported relying on end users to decide what to keep and what to throw out. (See AIIM Posts Results.)

Further, what passes for email management could raise a regulator's hackles. Forget automated policies tied to full text searches. (See Stop That Email!.) For respondents in companies of all sizes, formal policies govern things like acceptable employee use of email systems, acceptable content of messages, mailbox size, and a company's ownership of the email. When it comes to setting rules for using email to transact business, discuss human resources issues, exchange confidential information, respond to requests from regulators or lawyers, the majority of respondents reported no policies in place.

Table 1: Does your organization have any policies restricting or limiting the use of e-mail for any of the following purposes? (Percentage of 1,043 respondents)

Yes No
Negotiating contracts and agreements 13% 68%
Discussing HR issues 19% 65%
Discussing operational or product strategies 14% 71%
Exchanging confidential or sensitive information 42% 47%
Responding to regulators 17% 59%
Answering inquiries from customers 21% 67%
Exchanging invoices, statements, and payment information 19% 65%
Filing documents with official bodies 17% 61%
Responding to litigation 22% 51%
Source: AIIM - The ECM Association
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