Safe archiving of digital communications in the cloud is of critical importance these days. This is the second part of my conversation with Steve Marsh, expert in cloud storage and archiving and CEO of Smarsh, Inc. about the importance of and strategy for this topic. (read Part 1 here)
We run into sales organizations and their partners, often MSPs (managed service providers) who they refer business to and work with on opportunities. With all the conversations going on in emails, chats, and on social platforms, it is time to understand how critical these conversations are, and how vital it is to have record of them as well as a system to track everything.
I’ve seen situations where a junior sales professional has made promises to a buyer in a large company about results that the company really could not commit to. In one case an ugly lawsuit happened where the client company with Fortune 500 pockets and strong legal team nearly put the seller’s company out of business.
My conversation, below, with Steve Marsh continues:
LR: What are other areas where safe archiving helps a company?
SM: Some thoughts about helping legal and HR:
Legal drivers rank among the most important reasons to proactively archive digital content. Legal departments often need to quickly produce forensically sound electronic communications records or published content (e.g., website pages) from a specific point in time. Without a good archiving solution in place, legal teams must scramble to assemble content from multiple sources when it’s requested - which is extremely costly. However, with an archiving solution in place, the legal team can perform:
- E-discovery. In litigation events that require the exchange of information in digital format, a legal team can use its company’s archiving solution to search for, review and produce data related to the case much faster and with greater granularity than trying to sort through back-up tapes, storage, or devices. Additionally, an archiving solution can prevent the need to request data production from an uncooperative third-party.
- Legal holds/retention policies. Relevant information related to a legal action must be retained for as long as necessary after the action has been initiated, or when decision makers can reasonably expect such an action will likely occur. An archiving solution is often used to hold the relevant information for the duration.
- Early case assessments. The ability to search an archive of electronic content can be valuable in helping managers, legal staff or outside attorneys perform assessments of a company’s legal position before a legal action begins, or during its early stages. It can also help decision makers decide whether to pursue a legal action or settle beforehand.
Human Resources. Beyond the responsibilities of managing a company’s employees through attracting, training and assessing people, HR also helps ensure compliance with employment laws. Archiving and monitoring electronic communications is vitally important to HR for a number of reasons, including:
- Mitigation of risk. The archiving and supervision of digital communications helps HR mitigate risk and build context around potential HR violations and any employee rights violations. Archiving of email, social media or enterprise social media can be especially helpful to HR to evaluate risks associated with team collaboration and conversations.
- Investigations. Many HR professionals are asked to search and retrieve a specific set of emails or social media messages during a legal or internal investigation. Archiving electronic communications makes this process much easier, because a review of email, social media, and enterprise social or instant messaging conversations from a specific time period (or from specific individuals) can help HR piece together the narrative and facts around events, employee dismissals and so on.
- Internal Auditing. Internal auditors rely on electronic communications archiving and supervision to help their company evaluate the effectiveness of its risk management, control and governance processes. A comprehensive archiving solution can help auditors with:
- Content Preservation. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requires all public companies and their auditors to retain relevant records such as audit work papers, memoranda, correspondence and electronic records - including email - for a period of seven years. Businesses also have to ensure employees preserve information that’s relevant to company financial reporting.
- Identifying fraud. Companies are aiming to better manage and protect themselves against fraud. The archiving and supervision of digital communications helps company auditors identify any corporate fraud, abuse or errors.
LR: Is there a benefit to a single, unified archive solution?
SM: Archiving your company’s email can be challenging. But it gets even more complex for your compliance, IT and legal departments when other content types, including social media, are used by employees.
Digital communications, including those generated by social media, instant message, mobile/text, or other collaboration tools, should be captured and archived in a single archive for compliance supervision, universal search, and e-discovery. Each content type should also remain in its original format, and not be altered
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I've been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.
Lori Richardson is recognized as one of "50 Most Influential in Sales Leads Management" and on Forbes as one of the "Top 30 Social Sales Influencers" worldwide. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside sales teams in mid-sized companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for sales strategies, tactics, and tips. Increase Opportunities. Expand Your Pipeline. Close More Deals.