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The Dangers of Poorly Managed Email Systems

News - September 13, 2004
Poorly managed electronic communications present a serious operational and financial risk to the global banking industry, according to a new report published by Orchestria, a provider of real-time visibility and control solutions for email, the Web, instant messaging and handheld devices. The report includes a Gartner-authored case study of how one leading bank is addressing the issue.

As well as potentially breaching regulatory requirements, the lack of supervision of email and other unstructured electronic communications has created an environment in which employee theft of company information is rife, according to survey findings outlined in the report.

Companies also face massive costs when attempting to locate past communications in unstructured data storage devices such as magnetic tape, making it difficult and expensive to retrieve specific email and instant messaging (IM) electronic conversations in the event of an internal or regulatory investigation.

The report includes an end-user case study authored by Debra Logan of leading analyst firm Gartner. It explores the approach taken by one of the world's largest global investment banking corporations towards mitigating the risks inherent in unstructured communications. The bank is using Orchestria's Active Policy Management (APM) software solution to monitor and manage electronic communications for compliance with internal policy and with regulations governing the financial industry.

Orchestria's APM solution monitors employees' electronic communications in real time and prevents non-compliant emails, instant messages and other forms of electronic correspondence from ever being sent, received or recorded in the company archive.

"The Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other mandates add an extra burden on financial services providers that already struggled to produce email when required by the regulators for litigation," Gartner's Debra Logan noted in the case study. "Many providers face fines because they can't comply with requests for documents quickly enough or they violate information-sharing restrictions, which can hurt a company's brand. (This) provider expects to save millions of dollars a year by implementing a system to archive and search email and to manage information-sharing policies centrally."

"This report illustrates the scope of the problem of non-compliant communications in today's highly regulated banking industry, and how Orchestria's APM solution can help to address it," said Paul Johns, vice president of global marketing, Orchestria. "Our studies have shown that applying active policy management to electronic communications not only reduces the risk of compliance breaches being committed, but also pays for itself in a very short time through more cost-effective use of data storage and less time spent on locating and retrieving archived communications."

The 16-page report - 'Managing The Information Life Cycle For Maximum Return On Investment' - is available to download free of charge at

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