Using Your School District’s Email Archive to Manage Risk

We spent the past month or so talking about different ways to use your email archive, or going a step further and even using your email archive for curriculum development. While an email archive primarily exists to help school districts in legal proceedings around discoverable evidence, another way to get more value from it is to identify, analyze and prioritize potential risks.

Assuming that it has strong search capabilities, your email archive can be used to uncover concepts or topics that could lead to negative exposure or publicity. There’s also huge value in being able to assess exposure around a particular issue or topic so if it goes in the direction that it has the potential to―and it’s going to be discoverable anyways―you are proactive and well prepared.

For instance, if a school district is having budget issues, what is email saying regarding teachers’ fear of layoffs? Are your teachers concerned about their future despite that the board and administration are confident there won’t be any loss of jobs? Staying ahead of concerns like this can go a long way in the relationships between school districts and their teachers.

Another good example of risk management is when a school district’s public information officer gets a call from a reporter about a potential Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request concerning correspondence of a board member. You have good reason to believe that there’s going to be more questions coming, so to what extent are you, or legal counsel, using your email archive to determine if there’s a real problem or not?

I should be clear that risk management is not about discovering something that will get a person in trouble. Instead, it’s about being proactive and protecting your school district and its employees.

In today’s world, email is still the number one go-to place for communication. By now, I hope that your district is paying for an email archive that:

1. Captures all email.
2. Provides the ability to set specific retention periods.
3. Offers strong search functionality and easy access to all email.

I also hope that you never have to use your email archive for its intended purpose, but that you see the incredible value an email archiving solution built with the K-12 market in mind can have to your school district.