Confidentiality of email

Sharing email will increase productivity.

However, there are some thorny issues we need to consider when implementing a MessageStore for your team to reference. They mostly revolve around the balance between the efficiency of the team when they have the information at their fingertips and the need for some email content to remain private.

Here are some examples.

ScenarioBenefitsVerdict
A new person becomes involved in a case. They can see all the previous correspondence.Benefits to client service and business resilience, productivity, image and so much more.Advantages increase with time, number of team members and the complexity of cases dealt with.
Commercial dispute where the correspondence is forgotten by all and new managers on one or both sides must resolve the matter at hand.Easy access to the correspondence clarifies and, as the dispute could turn toxic, can provide calm objectivity.From personal experience, I can tell you a couple of incidents have paid for our MessagesStore over the last decade and the clients are still with us.
Auditor arrives following a Rights to Work breach of an employee with an expired visa.You can immediately show all correspondence to back up your initial vetting for that employee and all the others. When this happens to AXLR8 clients, they are normally able to demonstrate that the visa and passport reminders were automated through Trigaware and the AXLR8 BS7858 vetting module was used during the recruitment process to collect and verify PoA, PoID and all the essential paperwork was performed and stored.Home Office and internal and external inspections are a fraction of the cost and risk they might have been.
A sensitive email from a co-director to HR about an individual is seen by their colleagues.Important to prevent at the outset. AXLR8 can help your organisation apply the right security rules to certain email addresses, email sources and functionsAllows you to share emails within departmental and functional compartments.
You use your work mail for personal correspondence and have sent an email to you mum about an embarrassing medical condition. The whole office is giggling.Don’t use the work email for that kind of stuff. It will end in tears.Please inform us if this happens. We cannot help but it will brighten our day.

Linking to your operational email system

The way MessageStore works is by “journalling” mail from your operational email to your ExchangeVault on MessageStore. This would normally be for all your emails. Once the email arrives it is stored by rules that are optimised for performance, security and accessibility. For example all the mails for Billy@yourco.com will be accessible under that person’s record.

However, there will also be email specifically about the subject for which that correspondent has asked your company for technical assistance. All correspondence on that job will be kept apart from all the other emails and put into that “job bag”. The way this works is that the subject line has a code for that job. You will certainly have seen this method used when you ask a helpdesk using an AXLR8 Job Tracking system for assistance. You will be allocated a ticket number and the company will request that you keep that ticket reference in the subject line.

The benefits of this method increase with the number of requests put in by a person (frequent fliers) and the complexity and hence number of emails stored on a case. Technical helpdesks find it particularly useful. The reason for this is that email archives reduce the amount of time spent on second and subsequent resolutions to the same problem because they reduce repeated time consuming research. Such correspondence is also of general use in understanding the complex influencing and dependent factors before applying a fix.

The general rule is that this kind of automation assists in recalling correspondence where there is an extended period of time between order and delivery and the matter is complex with lots of options.

Implementation factors to consider

This is an area where a system can bring your organisation great efficiency and productivity but the legal and political framework may be catching up. AXLR8 have been providing the service since 2004. We are both confident that it will bring clients advantages and also, there will be responsibilities that come with the advantages it brings.

  1. Confidentiality: our consultants will help you through working out the rules that will improve productivity whilst reducing or eliminating the potential embarrassing “leakage”. There are options in place that should cover most requirements you have and few you may not have thought of. To illustrate this, here are some examples:
    • I do not want any of my mails being seen. No HR mails should be seen by anyone except the sender and recipient.
    • The branch sales manager can see all sales people’s emails. Other department managers may only see their own staff’s emails.
    • Technical people may only see emails attached to technical cases they are working on.
    • Do not archive or share any emails if I put “banana” (or some agreed keyword) in the subject line.
  2. ICT capability. If you manage your own email systems you may involve the person responsible for email and we will work with them to set it up. If you outsource email or if it is a division of a large company of which your department is a small subsidiary, then the competence and authority of that department needs to be assessed at the planning stage. Occasionally, there will be concerns on their part about either technical or political issues of implementing such a powerful system
  3. GDPR. Anyone involved will be concerned about retention of this data and the privacy issues. It may need changes to your employment terms and conditions. We have a variety of approaches to removing a person’s personally identifiable data but keeping the information required longer term, for example:
    • removal of a person’s details BUT retaining an important email with attachments because it is a contract between your company and theirs that runs for many years after they have left.
    • retention of important information for HMRC statutory reasons whilst removing personally identifiable information from their records and emails.

Feel free to contact us at +44 1344 776500 to discuss any of these matters.