Experience shows that most email managers and many CIOs are too concerned about the cost of email systems and cannot judge the risks to the business. A complete mindset shift is necessary by corporations to protect themselves. Technology should be used aggressively to reduce the risks to the organization. The infrastructure costs are nearly irrelevant in the business decision. Everything should be archived, and organizations should assume that Instant Messages, voice-mail, blackberries, and other electronically captured emails are all on the table to be archived.
Management needs strong processes to ensure that emails are reviewed and audited, and any exposures found and eliminated before becoming a problem. HR should be actively reviewing emails to ensure compliance. Legal departments need to know of any problems before a litigant sees them or even asks for them.
The benefits of this approach are more than just reducing risk and improving legal defenses. It is also about knowing more about litigants than they know themselves, and using the information aggressively to turn the tables.