Email Regulation Issues Leaving Businesses Confused

    New research finds that IT departments are struggling to cope with complex and conflicting regulations around email retention and archiving

    Waltham MA – Corporate email archiving and retention policies are muddled and unclear, with many businesses leaving themselves exposed to potential litigation or compliance issues, according to new research launched today by Mimecast®, the leading supplier of cloud-based email archiving, security and continuity for Microsoft Exchange and Office 365.

    The research, which surveyed IT managers on their organizations’ email policies and archiving practices, found that just 20 percent of businesses (23 percent globally) retain archived email for three years or more, with one in four businesses (25 percent US; 26 percent globally) admitting that they do not have a clear policy on retaining email at all.

    Key findings:

    • Email retention policies are often ad hoc or based on guesswork
      – Just one in four IT departments (30 percent; 26 percent globally) have an email retention policy designed to comply with industry regulations
      • 41 percent of businesses surveyed (43 percent globally) say their archiving policies are based on ‘internal best practice’ with no consideration given to industry or country specific regulations
      • Six percent of US and global businesses admit to deciding their email retention policy around a ‘random future date’ with ‘no basis’ 
    • eDiscovery for email is a major area of concern – Many businesses are not confident that they would be able to identify all emails relating to a specific customer in a timely manner:
      • On average, it would take a US business 15 working days to identify all emails relating to a potential litigation
      • Eighteen percent of US businesses do not think they would be able to comply with this kind of email eDiscovery request within a month
    • Concern around email compliance – IT departments are concerned that they are leaving their businesses exposed:
      • Just one in four (24 percent; 27 percent globally) IT teams are ‘completely confident’ that their email policies comply with all relevant regulations
      • 48 percent (46 percent globally) are ‘mostly confident’ with 34 percent (23 percent globally) ‘minimally confident’ or ‘not at all confident’

    “Taking fifteen days to identify all relevant emails sent and received by a client is a massive and unnecessary resource drain,” said Jim Darsigny, CIO, Brown Rudnick LLP. “For IT departments, managing and enforcing email policies can no longer be an ad-hoc approach as the risk potential and time wasted is too high to ignore. In our organization, the cloud enables our business to significantly reduce the pain, costs and resources normally dedicated to sourcing archived email data. With a solid email eDiscovery strategy in place, we are not only able to better serve our clients, but we can also more accurately assess their level of risk.”

     “IT departments can and should be doing more to protect their organizations by adopting a more rigorous approach to email archiving,” Eliza Hedegaard, Director, Legal IT, Mimecast. “However, the businesses I speak to are not being helped by a regulatory system that is incredibly confusing and difficult to navigate. Regulators should be helping businesses by simplifying the regulatory framework and putting greater emphasis on clearly communicating what organizations need to do to in order to comply instead of adopting scare tactics that focus on what will happen if organizations fall foul of the rules.” 

    About the research

    In summer 2012, 500 interviews were conducted online with IT decision-makers (specifically about email hardware, software and services) across a range of company sizes and industry sectors and regions. 

    The sample consisted of 200 US respondents, 200 from the UK and 100 from South Africa. The research was conducted by Loudhouse Research, an independent consultancy based in the UK. 


    About Mimecast

    Mimecast ( delivers cloud-based email management for Microsoft Exchange, including archiving, continuity and security. By unifying disparate and fragmented email environments into one holistic solution that is always available from the cloud, Mimecast minimizes risk and reduces cost and complexity, while providing total end-to-end control of email. Founded in the United Kingdom in 2003, Mimecast serves more than 6,000 customers worldwide and has offices in Europe, North America, Africa and the Channel Islands.

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