Email and Social Media Archiving in Employee Misconduct Cases

February 19, 2018 by Jatheon

As a vast majority of enterprises initially implement an archiving solution for reasons such as regulatory compliance or server relief, many organizations forget the crucial component that is entwined with all reasons behind archiving ‒ the human factor.

Employees are Threats

According to Harvard Business Review, insider threats account for 39% of all data breaches. The actions of someone inside the company can make your business vulnerable, damage your company’s reputation and cost you millions of dollars. Allegations of misconduct have cost the US Congress a staggering $17 million in the last 20 years. According to a recent case study by Worklogic, the costs of misconduct for a single employee were between $200k and $300k, while the costs of the simple steps needed to minimize the risks of misconduct across the organization were only $12,500. But what exactly are those simple steps? What can companies do to minimize misconduct?

The actions of someone inside the company can make your business vulnerable, damage your company’s reputation and cost you millions of dollars. #governance #EmployeeMisconduct Click To Tweet

What Is Employee Misconduct?

Employee misconduct is defined as carelessness or negligence that shows an intentional disregard of the employer’s or fellow employee’s interests. Certain instances of misconduct are not considered a criminal offense and are dealt with internally. Other, more serious offenses such as theft, fraud, discrimination or sexual harassment are labeled “gross misconduct” and typically lead to dismissal and court action. Since October 2017, almost 70 powerful men from various industries in the US have been fired or resigned for allegations of sexual misconduct. The issue has gained intense media scrutiny which highlighted the need for companies to have better control and oversight of employee behavior and actions.

Oversight, Oversight, Oversight

Although monitoring employee email and other electronic communication is often considered intrusive, it has become both a best practice and necessity among enterprises for reasons such as checking the personal use of company systems and detection and prevention of crime, harassment and misconduct in the workplace.

From the employer’s perspective, email and social media management equals risk management. According to Osterman Research, as much as 75% of relevant corporate information, including confidential and sensitive data, is contained in emails employees exchange daily. In addition, social media presence is now a fundamental asset for businesses of all sizes. Improper use of these channels can result in deliberate or inadvertent leakage of corporate information, trade secrets and intellectual property. Both email and social are potential pools of valuable corporate information that also contain evidence that can be used in internal investigations and eDiscovery.

Email and social media are potential pools of valuable company information and evidence that can be used in internal investigations and eDiscovery. Click To Tweet

How Email and Social Media Archiving Helps

Information archiving tools are multi-purpose solutions that can provide much-needed assistance in employee misconduct cases. Without an archiving solution, going through employees’ communication manually would be a painstaking process that could take months and cost thousands, even millions of dollars.

An archive houses millions of enterprise email messages and huge amounts of social media activity. An archiving solution captures all email and social media content in real time and stores its unique, time-stamped copy in an inalterable, tamper-proof format. Archivers possess super fast search functionalities that yield precise results in a matter of seconds and options such as legal hold that can allow compliance officers and lawyers to have insight into a specific person’s communication way past the general retention period set by company or compliance standards.

In other words, having an email archive in place will allow you to locate evidence of employee wrongdoing quickly and efficiently, be it a forged signature, an incriminating email or a hateful comment on Facebook that later got deleted. Surely, an archive will also provide proof that could vindicate an employee that got wrongfully accused.

Educate, Inform, Archive

In conclusion, employees need to be aware that confidential information, trade secrets and customer information must be communicated carefully and using appropriate channels. For improved corporate governance, companies should make sure they:

  • preach corporate accountability;
  • clearly communicate what constitutes misconduct;
  • insist that staff read important documentation such as the employee handbook and confidentiality agreements and
  • notify employees that their online landscape is being monitored and archived.

Finally, organizations need to understand that information governance and compliance can no longer be limited to internal and outgoing email communication, but should incorporate alternative channels that employees use for communication, including social media, instant messaging apps and text messages. Information archiving technology combined with clear internal policies is a win-win combination that will help any company to minimize, detect and handle instances of employee misconduct.

Organizations need to understand that information governance and compliance must incorporate alternative communication channels ‒ social media, IM and SMS. Click To Tweet

For more information on eDiscovery trends in 2018, check out this infographic. To learn how Jatheon can help you implement an email and social media archiving solution, schedule your personal demo.

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