Survey: Government Agencies Lack Confidence in Ability to Respond To Public Records Requests For SMS/Text Messages

The News-Review by Smarsh

PORTLAND, Ore.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jun 19, 2018–Smarsh, providing comprehensive information archiving solutions for compliance, e-discovery and risk management, today released findings from the . The survey revealed a significant gap between the communication channels that government agencies allow for business, and the retention and oversight necessary to respond to public records requests.

The ubiquity of mobile communication devices and channels has fundamentally transformed the way work gets done — and the public sector hasn’t been immune to this shift. Increasingly, business-related text messages sent from government-issued devices or from privately owned devices are being treated as public records and must be retained by law. Agencies must be able to produce these records to satisfy public records requests or for e-discovery events and investigations. Unfortunately, in an era of heightened scrutiny and increasing litigation, many government agencies are leaving themselves vulnerable to risk. Survey respondents pointed to several different reasons for not implementing a retention and oversight solution, but one consistent theme emerged: most government agencies had little confidence that they could respond quickly, if at all, to a public records request for SMS/text messages.

Key Findings

Smarsh surveyed a sample of professionals from federal, state, county and city government organizations across the United States to understand how agencies view business-related electronic communications sent on mobile devices, what tools and technologies they have in place to manage public records requests for these communications (including SMS/text), their confidence in their ability to process requests promptly, and general practices around public records request fulfillment. The survey found that nearly half of government organizations that allow SMS/text messaging for official business aren’t proactively capturing and retaining those messages, leaving themselves highly vulnerable to risk of litigation and financial penalties.

Smarsh surveyed a sample of professionals from federal, state, county and city government organizations across the United States to understand how agencies view business-related electronic communications sent on mobile devices, what tools and technologies they have in place to manage public records requests for these communications (including SMS/text), their confidence in their ability to process requests promptly, and general practices around public records request fulfillment. The survey found that nearly half of government organizations that allow SMS/text messaging for official business aren’t proactively capturing and retaining those messages, leaving themselves highly vulnerable to risk of litigation and financial penalties.

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