Global trends will drive employee email monitoring to Middle East

New corporate accountability regulations are forcing companies to take a tougher approach to recording and monitoring staff emails and instant messaging (IM), concludes the latest Storage Index survey commissioned by Hitachi Data Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi, Ltd and the leading worldwide storage solutions provider.

A vast amount of corporate communication takes place over the web, such as email and IM, and this type of communication has become legally binding documentation which can be used in a court of law. Based on the recently released survey of large to medium size enterprises across Europe, outlining the practices that are becoming trends to combat the problem of net-based communication transparency, Hitachi Data Systems warns that this trend growing in Europe and the United States will make its way to the Middle East in the near future.

John Bentley, Sales Director, Hitachi Data Systems, Middle East, says "The Middle East market is booming and has become a viable player in the world market. In order to maintain its strength and foundation, complying with regulatory bodies like the WTO and falling in with world legislation in these matters is a must. Email and IM monitoring will take root in the Middle East through a chain reaction of requirements. Many companies here are multinational, each one bringing its own corporate policy and culture with it, in turn applying it to partners, customers and the substantial part of its channel."

Results of the survey indicate that more than half of large and medium-size enterprises (56 percent) now routinely monitor employees' email messages. A whopping 61 percent also centrally archive all emails, and are able to retrieve them at the touch of a button. At the same time, more than a third of companies (36 percent) actively monitor IM communications, and the vast majority (68 percent) has put in place explicit staff guidelines for both email and IM usage.

"The question is not whether this will become standard corporate policy in the Middle East, but when," continues John Bentley. " While such measures may be unpopular among workers with more dubious email and IM habits, the introduction of new corporate accountability regulations have led many companies to review their electronic communications policies. This is particularly true in heavily regulated industries such as financial services, where companies face severe penalties for failing to comply with communications auditing requirements.

Email and IM monitoring and archiving is becoming normalized practice in the West for reasons of transparency and accountability. Agreements being made over the internet are considered legally binding in a court of law and all participants are being held accountable in these matters. It is only a matter of time until any region or industry will be required to comply with these policies. The Middle East has an excellent record of keeping up with world developments and capitalising on them to create the greatest return. Hitachi Data Systems' survey results leave no doubt that this will be the next corporate trend to be adopted in this region. Full transparency and accountability of web-based communication has become a must to keep business practices up to par and the newest step in best practices for any corporation or region planning on making it in the big leagues.

Reported by www.ameinfo.com

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