Keep your e-mail safe from legal challenges

If your company does business transactions via e-mail, you’ll need to be sure that business-critical messages are treated, well, critically. While most e-mail users are not concerned about the electronic record they have created, it can serve as a critically important defense for business transitions, if properly managed.

Businesses must consider anti-spam laws, e-discovery rulings, storage and retention of e-mails. Proof of e-mails for business transactions are a must have, and companies are investing billions of dollars to protect themselves. Analysts at the Radicati Group estimate that the e-mail archiving market will hit $6 billion in 2010.

The good news is e-mail technology is catching up with the evolving regulatory and business landscape. A case in point is Great Lakes List Management, an Erie, PA-based provider of data for direct marketers, and an RPost client. Because Great Lakes’ business model involves multiple companies — including direct customers and list brokers — it experiences a sizeable time lag between delivering services and getting paid for them. By sending business files with a registered e-mail service, Great Lakes receives a detailed electronic audit trail that proves precisely what e-mail content and attachments were sent and received, by whom and when. Armed with this information, the company can ensure it gets paid for services rendered without hassle, and has the necessary backup to demonstrate compliance with regulated/required disclosures, such as privacy notices.

For companies that operate their business using e-mail, legal protection is even more critical.

Provisions of electronic law and recent court decisions underscore the fact that electronic business systems require proper transaction documentation, and a reliable recordkeeping management system.

Here are a few ways you can ensure your business is safe from legal challenges:

  • Send business-critical e-mails with legal proof of delivery and content.
  • Archive your e-mails in a solution that’s easy to retrieve.
  • Prevent e-mail manipulation on the receiving end with encryption tools.
  • Don’t save every single e-mail, just the business-critical ones.

Many e-mail service providers aim to ensure deliverability and legally protect their e-mail users with value-added services, such as proof of delivery and content with registered e-mail, e-contracting tools, encryption, meta data cleaning and e-mail archiving capabilities.

Take advantage of the technology that is out there to cost effectively and proactively protect yourself.

Zafar Khan is founder and CEO of RPost. You can reach him at [email protected].

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