Legal (SOX)

Large organizations have a tremendous amount of e-mails stored in their mail servers for an extended period of time. This is an excellent example of static or stale data. Legislation is more and more requiring companies to store these documents, as they could be required for litigation. Banking industry, pharmaceutical industry and insurance industry, any company that are required to comply with SOX (the Sarbanes-Oxley Act), have strict regulations regarding the conservation of documents. Agreed that users should have access to their recent e-mails, storage of years of documents can overwhelm traditional e-mail systems that would be relieved by offloading older documents into an external storage management system for safe keeping over longer period of time.

Researchers in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at The University of Texas at Austin have published an interesting research on e-mail management and legal issues that could arise from ignoring the legislation that exists.

While many organizations have enthusiastically embraced the opportunities provided by e-mail, the vast majority overlook the fact that when e-mail messages contain evidence of business decisions, actions, and transactions, they become documents which are subject to the same legal requirements, restrictions, and standards as any record produced in any form or media.

In re Brand Name Prescription Drugs Anti-Trust Legislation, 1995 U.S. Dist, LEXIS 8218, *1-2 (N.D. Ill. June 13, 1995) the court ordered the defendant to review some 30 million pages of e-mail stored on backup tapes and bear the estimated $50-70,000 search cost.