How significant are business emails today? What information and data can they contain and how should they be dealt with? In this blog, you’ll learn how to meet the daily flood of business emails and how to process and archive the information relevant to your company in a legally-compliant way. Here are 6 reasons for email archiving.
More and more emails at work
Every day, employees receive more and more emails in their day-to-day work. According to the 2020 Bitkom Digital Office Index, 86% of the German companies surveyed are replacing their conventional mail with digital communication. Although some companies are trying to stem the flow of emails and are pursuing a zero email policy, emails won’t die so easily: in 2018, employees received an average of 21 emails per day – and the trend is growing. The estimate for 2020 is a total of 306 million sent emails. The coronavirus crisis has seen email communication increase quite a bit – by 40%, in fact.
Business emails in numbers
21 emails received by employees each day
306 million emails sent throughout the world in 2020
40% increase in communicating by email due to the coronavirus crisis
Of course, some of these business emails contain information that is relevant for the entire company. This information must be made available and archived as it can influence corporate decisions. In addition, the legal situation is clear in Germany: in order to meet the statutory requirements, it isn’t enough to secure business emails on an external hard drive or to set up email forwarding.
So, what reasons should you consider when it comes to email archiving?
- Legal security and compliance
- Use of information for business processes
- Controlling data
- Increase in productivity
- Reduction of internal IT costs
- Easing the burden on the email servers
1. Legal security through audit-proof filing
The main reason for archiving emails is to maintain compliance and to adhere with legal provisions. Nowadays, the overwhelming majority of business correspondence is by email. To put it another way, the overwhelming majority of emails have business relevance – e.g. when an invoice arrives by email. The logical consequence of this is that emails must be managed in a similar way to business-relevant paper documents, such as invoices, orders, delivery notes, etc. In accordance with the GoBD, all these documents – and emails – are subject to the retention obligation and must be archived accordingly.
GoBD is a German acronym that stands for the principles for properly maintaining, keeping and storing books, records and documents in electronic form and for data access, as stipulated by the German tax authorities. Here, the requirements according to which the books and records of business transactions are to be properly maintained are extended to the IT systems which are used for this purpose. That also includes emails. In short: the management of business-relevant emails must ensure that the required retention period – in most cases, 10 years – is complied with.
It should be noted that this is a mix of software usage (keyword archiving) and procedure documentation. It should also be mentioned that employers need to issue clear instructions regarding the use of private emails in the business mailbox.
2. Use of information in business processes
The documents, data and information received in emails may be valuable beyond legal reasons, e.g. for data-based decisions in the company. The advantage is that this information is already available in a digital format and can be read and analyzed using digital processes. This can yield valuable insights for companies. You can also automate decisions on a complete basis within processes with the use of artificial intelligence. An example of this would be a complaint email; AI recognizes its content and not only categorizes it, but also triggers an automated follow-up.
3. Controlling all data
In addition to the aspects related to finance law, controlling data is also about protecting against data loss and immutability. It’s easy to quickly lose track with high volumes of emails, and it’s difficult to manually ensure the consistency of the data contained in them. Causes for the loss of relevant data in emails may include defective PST files, intentional or unintentional deletion or changing systems and the associated restructuring and overwriting of data. It’s also about guaranteeing only authorized people can access certain information.
The following points are important when processing emails:
- Protection against data loss
- Immutability and verifiability
- Access management
The benefit of email archiving with supporting software is that all these points can be performed automatically. EASY for Exchange is certified in accordance with IDW ps880, the testing standard for auditors, and is also coupled to EASY Archive, which is GDPR-ready. That means it is no longer possible to erase important emails. With the help of workflows, users can add permissions for types of email, and, thanks to the intelligent full-text search function, all emails can be retrieved at any time. Responsibility for the information and data is fully and completely with the company and not Microsoft.
4. Increase in productivity
Once the email archiving software is set up, the archiving process starts automatically. Employees no longer need to organize or maintain inboxes. Thanks to the full-text search function, employees can retrieve business-related emails quickly and easily. You can keep on top of your emails and have more time for ongoing projects or new ideas.
5. Reducing internal IT costs, easing the burden on IT systems
Companies sometimes shy away from introducing email archiving software as they bemoan unavailable IT resources due to the effort of managing various IT systems. Several heterogeneous IT systems tie up valuable resources during the daily operations. And now you want to add email archiving too?
When selecting email archiving software, you should make sure that it can be implemented quickly. The solution EASY for Exchange can be implemented within a short period of time and is based on Microsoft standard technology, which reduces the operational workload for running the solution to a minimum. The integration into the email client means that no additional training for the users is necessary.
Another benefit of email archiving is that storing emails and attachments in different places has become obsolete. This reduces your company’s storage requirements and thus the costs of backing up data externally. This also reduces the complexity of the backup as the volume of data is also reduced. A smaller dataset can also be reproduced more quickly in the event of a loss of data.
6. Easing the burden on the email servers
Predefined workflows automatically archive your emails. That means your emails no longer need to be stored on the server. This significantly reduces the data load on the server and makes mailbox limitations designed to reduce the data on the server obsolete.
EASY for Exchange is the only email archiving solution on the market that not only archives your email, but also provides you with the option for referencing it. This unique referencing of your emails results in a huge reduction in the volume of your Exchange database. That means you no longer need to think about the timing of lengthy backups.