Fleshing Out Policy Takes Time – A LOT of Time

It can be easy for some of us in the compliance and email world to offer recommendations on how to craft a policy managing electronically stored information [ESI]. And of course, we recommend technology managers gather input from multiple stakeholder groups so the policy reflects the needs of the entire organization.  But often times, we forget just how much time and effort really is involved. A recent example from our own community illustrates this point, although from a different perspective; the point still rings true.


The City of Pittsburgh is in the process of applying for federal stimulus grants to create and install broadband technology that will allow the city to install over 200 cameras in public areas throughout the city. The goal in mind is the cameras would act as a crime deterrent and aid local law enforcement in collecting data from crime scenes faster.

The city CIO, Howard Stern (no, not THAT Howard Stern) was recently interviewed by Government Technology about the project. The following article excerpt offers a glimpse of the process Stern went through before the city installed even a single camera.


Before installing the cameras, Stern created a policy that addressed concerns such as the length of time footage would be kept, how the cameras would be used and privacy issues. It took him a year to flesh out a policy that addressed all stakeholders’ concerns
Government Technology http://www.govtech.com/gt/articles/751833

Granted, this example is on the extreme side and those of us who come into contact with these cameras should be relieved to know how much time and consideration went into crafting such a sensitive policy before the city began executing it. Whether it is for ediscovery compliance, security or privacy purposes, this example showcases that creating any kind of policy where ESI needs to be managed takes careful time and planning in order for all those diverse stakeholder groups to be satisfied.

We at Sherpa Software still stand by the view that an email data storage policy is most effective when multiple stakeholder groups are consulted and considered and we offer multiple resources to help get organizations on that path. Just reminder; crafting policy that satisfies multiple stakeholder groups takes time, a LOT of time.

Check out Sherpa’s e-mail policy resources at www.sherpasoftware.com.

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