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February 01, 2017

Email Archiving Laws Are Changing - Are You Complying?

There have always been laws regarding the archiving of sensitive information, but since the introduction of email, and the exponential growth of companies using it, everything is significantly more complicated. This post will be a simple overview of what is happening to industries effected by SEC 17a-4 (email compliance). It will also provide ways to educate yourself further on the subject.

What’s New?

The truth is, these laws are not brand new, but enforcement is becoming more and more common. It is a necessity to provide the proper documentation to prove that a company is compliant with the laws.

The Financial Institution Regulatory Authority (FINRA) requires broker-dealers to electronically archive emails for at least 3 years. These emails cannot just be archived by your basic archiving tools either. In order to comply with the new guidelines, individuals must archive through a designated third party compliance provider (D3P). This D3P designation is not easy to receive, therefore options for archiving solutions are somewhat limited. It is required that a third party can independently access, and download distribute an organizations archived materials.

These laws aren’t new, but the enforcement is. Since SEC (News - Alert) 240.17a-4’s effective date in 2003, millions of dollars have been paid in fines. Proving compliance is far more complicated as well.

How does this effect my industry?

Many industries are effected by laws regarding the archiving of digital documentation. Some industries only need to archive for a year, while others may need to archive everything for an entire lifetime. If you would like to learn how archiving laws effect your industry, take a look at this Guide to Email Retention Policy.

What are the penalties for not complying?

Firms face the strongest penalties for not complying to the regulations. Fines totaling over $10 million dollar have already occurred.

Putting a definitive number or punishment on violating these laws is impossible to do, however based on the history of the enforcement of these regulations, fines can be devastating to a company.

Email archiving goes beyond the law

Quite simply, it is just a good idea in nearly every industry. From storage management, to litigation, email archiving can be of a huge benefit to many companies and individuals. There are many reasons to archive social media and emails, especially in today’s day and age. You can read more about the reasons to archive emails here.

With this being said, archiving social media, emails and other documents can be a daunting task, especially for certain industries.

Max is a New Hampshire native specializing in the digital marketing field. A graduate of the University of New Hampshire, he is currently working in Portsmouth, NH at Vital Design. You can find Max on LinkedIn. Outside of the digital marketing field, Max is an avid hiker and fly fisherman.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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