Professionals have been warning Board Management and their organizations for years not to have the Board’s emails, documents and other records on management’s computers. Whether management in house at the organization or a third party professional management company the same risk exists. If there is a legal records request (private, governmental or otherwise), management’s computers are at risk of being discovered and examined.
This may not seem like a big deal but consider how many other bits and pieces of information is mixed in with the Board information. Now consider how much time it would take to try to parse the Board emails, documents, etc. from the other emails, documents, etc. that it is mixed in with. Third party professional managers may manage numerous organization and their Boards and their practice may be to intermingle information from all of the Boards.
This happened to a professional property management company in New York City. The company was using their own email system to communicate with their Boards. Board documents and information were maintained on the management company’s computers mixed with information and documents from other Boards that the company managed. When the Board organization was sued along with the management company, the plaintiff’s attorney sought a Court order to a forensic examination of the management’s company’s computer system as a part of discovery in the lawsuit and the Court ordered the management company to open its computer system for the plaintiff to examine. The Court also ordered that after that examination it may order each of the individual Board Members’ personal computers examined because they were using them to conduct Board business. What a mess. Mounds and mounds of billable hours. Management’s other Boards’ information on the same computers and servers. Board Member personal computers at risk of examination. Read the Court Decision.
Office of the Board changes all of this and immediately takes the risk off of management and individual Board Members. If management has Board information, emails, documents on its computers and if individual Board Members have the same on their own computers (or worse, on their employer’s computers at work), they really need an Office of the Board Risk Intelligent Framework for their Board organization. There is otherwise too much at risk.