New Cert Addresses Need for Control of E-Mail Content

E-mail security is an increasing concern for today’s tech-centered businesses, according to a recent content security study by AIIM, an enterprise content management association. Important business content is stored and sent via e-mail messages and attachments, and in many cases, it is paramount for this information to remain confidential.


About 44 percent of those surveyed in AIIM’s Market IQ report said e-mail security is one of their areas of foremost concern. The business consequences of compromised information are numerous and include lost data, identity theft of employees or customers, dissatisfied customers or loss of loyalty, and one-quarter of respondents said they saw direct loss of revenue.


These facts make the announcement of AIIM’s new Email Management (EMM) Certificate Program all the more timely. Carl Weise, CRM and E-mail Management instructor at AIIM, said The Radicati Group, an independent market research firm, has found that today’s e-mail users send or receive an average of 133 messages per day, and it expects this number to grow to 197 message by 2009.


“The tremendous quantity of e-mails [dealt with daily in the workplace contain] important business information [that] needs to be captured and managed as any important Word document, spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation is captured,” said Weise.


This is a key theme at AIIM, and one of the reasons the organization developed the EMM certification, the first of its kind. Weise said, “We have done surveys with our ECM population and have found that e-mails still are not being controlled in most businesses and government entities, [despite] a tremendous demand to produce electronic records.” This demand is prevalent in courts and government agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission.


The certification is “aimed at a wide population,” he said, including IT and record management personnel, businesses’ line staff and management, as well as vendors and executives. It teaches these professionals how to manage the overwhelming amount of information contained in e-mail messages and also how to store and retrieve said information. Other key topics include technology solutions, developing e-mail policies and procedures, and information governance. Those who pass the online exam will receive AIIM’s Practitioner, Specialist or Master designation, with the Master label requiring an additional case-study exercise.


A significant barrier to effective e-mail management, said Weise, is the need for a change of culture regarding e-mail in the workplace. “There are still users who think [e-mail] is their personal communications. And that leads to the difficulties — improper style, improper content — not having the discipline that you would have if you wrote a Word document or a spreadsheet.”


This challenge, among others — including lack of policies and procedures, security risks and a general belief among organizations that the amount of content contained in their e-mail messages is too vast to be managed — are addressed during AIIM’s training program, which can be complete online or in a classroom setting.


“What we’re getting across to senior management is that e-mails can be managed. Now the computer tools are there, and through proper policies, procedures and proper staffing, e-mails can be properly managed. We can actually do something about it,” Weise said.

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