Email may be replaced in our lifetime, but there simply is not a viable alternative right now.
With more than 400 billion emails being sent and received daily across the globe, it’s clear that we’ve moved into an email economy, where deals are made electronically.
Companies are increasingly becoming aware of the challenges of managing and securing their electronic inboxes as they become the repository of business-critical content.
When it comes to email strategies, they are not all created equal. Smaller organisations may believe that an end-to-end email strategy is not required – opting to rather focus on security and recovery over business continuity, archiving, auditing or tracking.
What does a good email strategy look like?
But, as the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) takes effect, all organisations will need to reconsider their email strategies. So what does a good email strategy look like?
It starts with an understanding of how email is being used in your business, coupled with the realisation that the exchange of business-critical information, IP and content takes place almost without thought.
It includes an awareness of the risks of a one dimensional approach to email management. Basic ‘spam filtering’ strategies won’t be enough, and haven’t been enough since the ‘I love you’ virus that struck corporate networks in 2003. Hackers, unintentional data breaches, growing regulatory and corporate governance requirements are amongst the most important considerations.
A good email strategy has a multi-dimensional approach to aligning internal and outgoing message policies and rules. It’s implemented with minimum impact on organisational productivity, but maximum compliance, security and data leak protection.
The building blocks of an email strategy
- Continuity services that enable the continued access to email services and information contained in employees’ inboxes, despite an outage (planned or unforeseen).
- Archiving as a means of preserving and making mission critical data searchable. Archiving should also meet the data retention and supervision requirements of applicable regulations and governance.
- Mail audit and tracking capabilities to address the threat of internal data leaks or loss. Where existing secure mail services focus on encryption, preventing hacking from third party sources, it doesn’t address the threat of internal data leaks or loss. When your email is secure and equipped with an audit trail, you can see who opened your message, whether they read it, printed it, or forwarded it.
But it needn’t all be bad
Email is a powerful marketing tool, especially for SMEs and should be a consideration when bolstering an email strategy.
I’d recommend organisations consider a simple-to-use, bulk email platform that offers social media sharing capabilities. And for smaller organisations, a month-to-month contract or pay-as-you-go option that bundles with no monthly commitment delivers more cost efficiencies.
For many organisations, the most daunting part of an inclusive, comprehensive email strategy, is managing multiple email management solutions. But it comes down to partnership and working with a vendor that delivers an end-to-end email management capability.
This will not only simplify and reduce email infrastructure and administration overheads, but also remove the need to deploy, integrate and manage multiple standalone email management solutions.
If your email management vendor isn’t able to design, develop and deploy an integrated email management strategy for your company, it might be time to investigate alternatives.