Will out of context emails make your company look “scandalous”

The news of more leaked emails is making their way around the blogosphere, including one of our favorites over at Yahoo Finance.

Henry Blodget of the Daily Ticker brings up an intriguing point, no matter how many policies you put in place or how much you hope that your employees have common sense – ‘knucklehead emails’ still get sent out.

I call them ‘knucklehead emails’ because the ones I refer to have no malice associated with them, they’re just not well thought out, like joking about a gambling spree with the petty cash. Sure, to the writer it’s funny because there’s only $10 available and the recipient knows it, but to the outside reader one year later, not so funny. It’s completely harmless until taken out of context. (The ones with malice and cover-up attempt, that’s a difference topic for another day.)

Every company has at least a handful of “knucklehead emails” somewhere in their database whether it’s football pools (Gambling), the sending of a credit card number (PII violation), or the forwarding of a joke (Sexual harassment).

In today’s hyper-sensitive and over-regulated world, if those emails got out, yours could be the next company sharing a headline with the word ‘scandalous.’

The key to preventing these situations is being aware of what information exists and making decisions on it. After all, does your information governance policy really exist if there’s no one there to enforce it?

Understanding what exists by adding a data profiling policy to your information governance plan is a start. Parameters can also be set to start a defensible deletion policy for information that has no business value. The only thing a forwarded chain mail from an ex-employee that hasn’t been viewed in seven years can do is come back to hurt you. The harsh truth is, your email servers are filled with valueless emails waiting to find their way out in to the open.

Organizations need to be proactive to protect their consumers and themselves. The ‘keep everything’ policy does more than just inflate your storage costs, it puts you in line to be the next “scandalous” company.

For more information on protecting your company from “knucklehead emails” contact info@indexengines.com