Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Greg Buckles. Published: 2016-07-05 20:00:00Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. 

So what lessons should C-suite officers take from the Hillary’s EmailGate? Whether you are or report to a CIO, AG, CCO or any other alphabet exec, you should realize that many or most of your board members and other key custodians under legal hold are using Gmail, Yahoo or even personal domain email and IM accounts to communicate with their peers and social network. Most of these communications, like our Sec. of State, will be purely personal and not contain anything relevant to regulations, active litigation, etc. After 25+ years of internal investigations, custodian interviews, regulatory requests and even congressional inquiries, I can assure you that buried in that sea of golf tips, shopping lists, illicit love notes, grandbaby pics and more are unintentional stock tips, early earnings numbers and worse. Life and network is just different at the top of the corporate feeding chain. Too many execs making 7+ figures do not believe that the rules apply to them. What is worse is the proven fact that they are right.

How many times have you reviewed the corporate communication systems and policies with the IT director managing communications, only to later stumble into an undeclared legacy Blackberry server that the CEO would not let die? I have the privilege of serving as the third party 30(b)(6) witness for some of my oldest and best clients. Usually I take this role after supporting the creation of their ‘Corporate Data Map’. That gives me the authority and mandate to ferret out these undocumented executive systems and repositories. Other times I have been brought in after an exec has suddenly disclosed a here to fore unknown backline chat application during a deposition. Oops.

I am neither approving nor condemning the use of private communication system by the governmental/corporate elite. Instead I am stating that it happens and it is our responsibility to construct policies, training, compliance checks and technology that prevent casual, unintentional circumvention of proper communication protocols. Everyone has a private life and it is unrealistic to expect professional employees to ‘go offline’ for 8-12 hours per day in this BYOD world. They are going to send/receive personal email, IM chats and texts during work hours, so you had better have a strategy to keep these personal/professional streams from crossing, aka Ghostbusters.  Just because the FBI declined to recommend prosecution does not mean that the federal magistrate over your hot discovery issue will be so kind when phrases such as ‘extremely careless’ or ‘recklessly mishandling’ are thrown about.

Greg Buckles wants your feedback, questions or project inquiries at Greg@eDJGroupInc.com. Contact him directly for a ‘Good Karma’ call. His active research topics include analytics, SMB eDiscovery, mobile device discovery, the discovery impact of the cloud, Microsoft’s Office 365/2013 eDiscovery Center and multi-matter discovery. Recent consulting engagements include managing preservation during enterprise migrations, legacy tape eliminations, retention enablement and many more.

Blog perspectives are personal opinions and should not be interpreted as a professional judgment. eDJ consultants are not journalists and perspectives are based on public information. Blog content is neither approved nor reviewed by any providers prior to being posted. Do you want to share your own perspective? eDJ Group is looking for practical, professional informative perspectives free of marketing fluff, hidden agendas or personal/product bias. Outside blogs will clearly indicate the author, company and any relevant affiliations. 

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