Tuesday, February 26, 2008

SJSU's redundant Email systems a liability risk?

Server admins need to know how this!
It used to be that it was easy to provide Email service. You just set up an Email server for your department and began serving Emails. That is no longer the case. Here is a link to a public facing article on the CSU's Webpage.

The topic is "E-Discovery." The article discusses how universities may deal with electronically stored information so they may best cope with the increasing need in litigation to provide such information during the discovery process. Here is an excerpt:

Responding to litigation discovery requests is no longer a matter of simply turning over boxes of hard copy documents for photocopying and review by an opposing party. Electronically stored information, or “ESI,” is now more than fair game for discovery, and opposing parties are routinely seeking production of ESI – particularly e-mail. Effective December 1, 2006, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“Federal Rules”) were amended in various ways that have substantially affected electronic discovery (“e-discovery”) and records management obligations. In addition, more than 30 U.S. District Courts have adopted local rules on e-discovery, and many states (including Kansas, Delaware, Mississippi and Texas) also have amended their rules of civil procedure to address e-discovery.

In my opinion this calls into question our continued following of what is called the "Federated Model" where many of our university's organizational units provide a mixed bag of redundant Email services to the campus community. I wonder, would the cost of just one e-discovery across these mixed types of multiple and often incompatible servers that have propogated at SJSU equal or exceed the cost of integrating all our mail services into one e-discovery compliant enterprise level Email and group ware service? Also, could the increased efficiency of having a single system that is better supported (and is e-discovery compliant) actually improve customer service and save money in this time of fiscal austerity?

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