Most companies remain unprepared to deal with legal risks associated with employee email and instant messaging, even though 1 in 5 companies has had employees' electronic messages subpoenaed in the course of a lawsuit or regulatory investigation, a recent study released this week showed.
In addition, another 13 percent of 840 companies surveyed this year have battled workplace lawsuits triggered by employee email, according to the American Management Association and The ePolicy Institute, which conducted the joint study. The number of companies that have had email subpoenaed is up from 14 percent in 2003.
Despite the risks, only 6 percent of organisations retain and archive instant messages that carry business records and only 35 percent, just 1 percent more than last year, have an email retention policy, the survey showed.
"The fact that 37 percent of respondents do not know or are unsure about the difference between an electronic-business record that must be retained versus an insignificant message that may be deleted, suggests that employers are dropping the ball when it comes to effectively managing email and IM use," Nancy Flynn, executive director of The ePolicy Institute, said in a statement.
While email and IM retention has been lacking, 79 percent of employers have implemented a written email policy. However, only 1 in 5 companies have adopted a policy governing IM use and content.