Employees are failing to properly archive e-mails, according to research, because they are often too busy or too unsure of their IT skills.
Over 75% of employees said they received no guidance on the requirements and methods for e-mail storage, and more than a third said their company has no e-mail policy, according to the survey.
A third of workers of the 260 workers interviewed said they had lost important electronic documents and never recovered them. More than half said e-mail archiving is too time-consuming, and thirty percent find it "complicated" or "unreliable."
Some 41 percent leave files attached to e-mails forever, and only half said they have an enforced limit on the storage space for their messages. Over a quarter save the files to the company system, and 28 percent save them to their hard drive.
GFT Inboxx, the unified archiving supplier that commissioned the survey, said the poor storage of e-mails meant firms risked breaching regulatory requirements, and were also putting a costly strain on their mail servers.
Juergen Obermann, chief executive at the firm, said: "These results suggest one of two things: that organizations are still taking a lax approach to the storage of information and the management of e-mail, or that organizations are failing to communicate the rules to their employees and thus failing to control staff use of e-mail and storage of potentially critical information."
Businesses are "running the risk of losing or making untraceable a vast amount of data", Obermann warned. He added: "Nothing is more valuable to a business than the ability to very quickly and reliably review a given process or project. If information is becoming lost and chains of communication are being broken, it's impossible for businesses to see the whole picture -- and further down the line mistakes are going to be made."
This story, "Poor E-Mail Archive Habits Plague Businesses" was originally published by Computerworld UK.