South-Western - Management  
The Defogger: Your Data is Gone But It's Not Forgotten
Topic Communication
Key Words email, electronic documents, communication
InfoTrac Reference none
News Story

When you shred a document, it is gone for good. Electronic documents are another story. This is because of the way they are stored on your computer. When you delete a file, you are actually just removing a pointer the computer uses to find the file on your hard drive. The data still exists until it gets overwritten by another file. That is why firms like Ontrack Data International are doing a booming business of recovering deleted files from computers. Ontrack estimates that 93% of all business communication in America is electronic, through email, text files, spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, etc.

New legal standards are emerging for electronic evidence in court cases. Companies need to have clear policies about saving or deleting information. Employees need to be educated about the implications of electronic data.

Questions
1.

What is your reaction to this article (surprised, nervous, smug)? As a manager, how would you educate your employees about communicating via electronic documents?

2.

The advantages of email are numerous. What are the disadvantages?

Source Dylan Tweney, "The Defogger: Your Data is Gone But It's Not Forgotten," Business 2.0 Feb. 28, 2002.
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