I’ve heard it all and I still say every business should remove e-mail from their processes where they can. Here’sthree good reasons:1. Security IssuesI cannot stress this one enough. Any information you send in the content or as an attachment to an e-mail can beintercepted, reviewed and altered by the owner of the electronic equipment it touches – you know the wires, routers and switches that physically make up the Web?! (Everyone forgets that the Web has a physical component.)Is it LIKELY that someone is intercepting your communications? No. Is it possible? Absolutely! That’s why you don’t use e-mail to transmit things like credit card information, let alone company work product.For many, it’s not just that confidential information can be intercepted. There are other hazards as noted by legal blogger Brian Ritchey, Esq. of MorePartnerIncome. On February 1st he published: Unencrypted E-mails Between Attorneys and Clients May Not Be Privileged. Along with the comments thereto, this is the best discussion I have seen amongst attorneys on the subject of security and e-mail.2. Administration WoesBusiness owners are required to save and store their business e-mails in the same manner as they do other business records. Over time, the data storage needs increase and the larger the business, the larger that cost in terms of actual server space plus the time that one pays (or puts in) to verify that the data is being saved, backed up, archived, etc.Along with the storage aspect of e-mail, it is also difficult to keep an accurate client file. Although most companies wish to be paperless, the reality is, our lives are very paper intensive and this will likely continue for many years to come (if not indefinitely).Typically, e-mails are stored on a different network/PC drive/folder than document or specific client folders which store other records for that client/project. For instance, if you use Outlook, e-mails to/from are stored in Outlook’s .pst file.So how do you get a copy of e-mail messages into a client’s electronic and paper files? I run across the same solution all the time in law firms — employees are required to print out each incoming and outgoing e-mail message to be placed within the physical file. Old fashioned? Certainly – but it works! The best configuration is to have employees print each incoming or outgoing e-mail to .pdf and save that .pdf to the client’s electronic folder. Remove the paper from the process. If still necessary, they can then print out a copy of the .pdf for the physical file. This way the client’s electronic file and physical file are always in sync.3. The Ooops! FactorSecurity does not just mean that the e-mail messages your business creates are only read by the intended recipient. A recent Law.com article (http://tinyurl.com/3w48kt) reported on how a law firm inadvertently sent an e-mail to a reporter instead of to their client. That e-mail, of course, contained sensitive and confidential information.This is what I call the built in Ooops! Factor for e-mail. It is really just too easy to dash off an e-mail and hit send. How many times do you check and recheck the e-mail address before hitting “send”? I check once when I’m drafting and it’s the last thing I do before clicking on the send button. I don’t just “look” at the address the second time. I literally read it out loud then click Send (a good practice to get into, IHMO).Even doing this, I have done other stupid e-mail faux pas – like using the “Reply All” button to send a privatecommunication to a whole list, instead of one member on that list. Thank goodness that’s only embarrassing and not fodder for a law suit!
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