E-mail audits an early warning system

It doesn't take a corporate collapse to expose a non-compliant, poorly managed e-mail system - a simple audit will do it.

However, an e-mail management solutions provider is using disasters such as the massive trading losses at National Australia Bank (NAB) as an example of what not to do after a PricewaterhouseCoopers report revealed e-mail exchanges exposed fraudulent trades and the deletion of 1400 e-mails by a single trader.

Zantaz marketing vice president Craig Olsen believes NAB could have moved more quickly to stem losses by better managing e-mail more effectively.

"By being pro-active with e-mail, often businesses can catch something early in the game and respond much more quickly," Olsen said.

"It also allows companies to understand where problems may have arisen by going back over communication channels."

The rapid ascendance of e-mail as a means of negotiation and trading means traditional checks and balances are bypassed each minute in some organizations. As a result robust e-mail systems can be critical in some organizations but their management is becoming more complex.

Meta Group analyst Michael Warrilow said while electronic information is treated as a mission-critical business process many IT executives are still placing their companies at risk of litigation.

"Organizations in Australia must examine how they currently undertake the lifecycle management of all forms of content and communication. These management systems must ensure compliance to whatever statutory level senior management has established," Warrilow said.

SecureData Group managing director Evan Penn believes that directors and senior managers in large organizations are often unaware of the extent to which their business viability rests on the integrity of e-mail and other forms of electronic document exchange.

"It is no longer enough just to store e-mails for possible future use. The speed of business equates to the speed of e-mail," Penn said.

"If you do not have an adequate e-mail management system in place, it is likely that you do not know what is going on in your company."

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More about Meta GroupNABNational Australia BankPricewaterhouseCoopersPricewaterhouseCoopersSecureDataSecureDataZantaz

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