UPfront: Delete with care

With more business being done online, recent Australian survey should inspire short pause over the email delete command.

It showed Australian companies could be breaching Archives and Corporations law by deleting business-related emails, according to Legato Systems, company specialising in enterprise data management software.

While 77 percent of the companies surveyed reported using or accepting email for financial transactions, 80 percent delete emails within month. That could breach laws requiring the retention of financial documents for five to seven years, warns Legato.

With the Electronic Transactions Act due to become law shortly in New Zealand, the issue of what electronic information should be archived is topical, says Patrick Learmonth, partner with KPMG Auckland’s IT law division.

That doesn’t mean retaining all the guff that daily floods into email boxes but some financial records will need to be archived for tax purposes, he says.

“Companies do need to ensure their electronic storage systems are adequate to cope with increased e-business and that relevant financial information can be tracked and stored without the system falling over.”

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