Over at the eDiscovery 101 blog there’s a good response to the fact that “82 percent of employees use their personal email accounts to send large work-related files when an email attachment exceeds the size limit imposed by IT.”
I agree with all of the points Bill makes, except one. Can you guess which one?
First, create written email use policies that forbid employees from ever accessing their personal email accounts at work from employer provided equipment.
Second, Include in the above mentioned policy that company related records are never to be sent or received from personal email accounts.
Third, explain to employees that if they violate the policy, they could be fired.
Forth, explain that if they were to violate the policy, attorneys, including opposing counsel may be reading their personal emails in discovery some day.
Fifth, create a way within your infrastructure to send and receive large files so employees don’t have to fall back to using their personal email accounts to send or receive large business related files.
Here’s my thought. If you do steps 2-5, you don’t necessarily need to do step 1. Most employees, when they have the resources through their IT department, aren’t going to bother to use their personal email account to send work information. Especially if someone explains that it means the legal department might have to go through their personal email account!
Blocking personal email accounts does add an extra level of certainty about employees sending work information, but it also adds another thing to think about. If none of your employees can access their personal email during the 8-10 or more hours they are in the office, their work email address will become their personal email address. You will be storing, archiving, and searching a whole bunch of extra stuff that you wouldn’t even have to worry about if they could just use their web-based email account during that time. That can end up being a whole lot of extra ESI when it comes down to it.
It does make me wonder if it’s worth it. I don’t know for sure, but it’s something to consider.