Email is one of the most convenient and prolific means of business communication. For many, it is just a transient business commodity, but for others, it can be mined to produce powerful business intelligence.
Whichever camp your business falls into, the majority of organisations (and their employees) perform little email housekeeping and as a result, emails are kept for unspecified timeframes.
Most individuals prefer to retain all but the most trivial business emails for those future, ‘just in case’ moments. From a management perspective, however, the IT department would prefer they didn’t as large data volumes become harder to maintain and manage. From a compliance perspective, business managers and owners develop a headache as centralised control of a key corporate asset is lost.
PST files (or personal archives) were created by users as a local repository for older emails which they moved out of their main mailboxes when space became tight. These files, which can often grow significantly in size, may be stored locally on an individual’s workstation or laptop or centrally on the company’s servers.
Although PST files provide a workaround for individuals wanting to store more email than their standard mailbox would allow, in all other respects, PST files are considered dangerous.
One topical, tidal wave of a reason for this is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into force on 25th May. Aimed at strengthening the handling and protection of personal information, the GDPR places responsibility firmly and squarely on the business for compliance. With substantial penalties for non-compliance, organisations cannot simply bury their head in the sand and ignore.
For an organisation to work towards compliance with the GDPR, it needs to ‘understand the data’ it stores and that can pose an issue with email and with PST files in particular. How can an organisation claim to protect personal information if it doesn’t in the first instance control what data it is storing?
With PST files frequently distributed across an organisation on desktops and laptops, getting to grips with them can be a challenge. The good news is that help is at hand. What used to be a complex, near impossible task to ‘discover’ PST files and take control of their contents can now be simplified.
Whether taking control of PST files or searching for content across the wider email estate, action is certainly required as businesses come to terms with GDPR compliance.
|Kris Jones, CEO, TrueSwift Limited|