"E-mail can take up quite a lot of space on a server," says Jeff Tujetsch, vice president, product development for Sherpa Software in Pittsburgh.
So how long should you retain e-mails? Tujetsch says that depends on your business's needs.
"Some companies keep their e-mails on file for 10 days, others for years," he says. "There's no vanilla way."
Software like Sherpa's Mail Attender lets an administrator enforce the company's e-mail retention policy. It can also search for e-mails that contain a certain word or phrase, which comes in handy if a company wants to pull all electronic documentation pertaining to a particular employee, product or situation.
"If it is needed, Mail Attender can prevent the user from editing or deleting his or her e-mail," says Tujetsch.
Inappropriate e-mails, such as those that contain pornography, can also be a problem. The solution is software that allows the company to search for those e-mails and alert the administrator.
"The administrator can either move them offline or delete them altogether," says Joe Ogrodnik, Sherpa's president and CEO.
It all boils down to a company defining its e-mail policies and needs, then finding the best software to meet those needs.
When managing your e-mail system, consider privacy. You need to find the right balance between protecting your firm and maintaining employee confidentiality before you design your e-mail management system.
"Software is a tool that can help enforce the company's system," says Ogrodnik. But even with the right tools, "it's up to the company how they use them." How to reach: Sherpa Software, (800) 255-5155 or www.sherpasoftware.com