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10 Reasons To Use Email Archiving

28 September 2011

We all know that e-mail is the primary channel for business communication, and it will be for many years to come. Most users spend a significant amount of time using email to fulfil their day to day duties. In-fact a recent study  found that 46% of email users spend more than two hours each day doing something in their mail box. The same study found that 75% of a company’s IP is stored in a company’s messaging systems! I don’t think I can really disagree with those figures based on my experience.

Business is done with email,  a business is responsible for it’s communications, and it’s liable. This has brought around the enactment of legislation to protect personal privacy, enforce corporate governance standards and to maintain ethical conduct. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), Gramm-Leach, Bliley Act (GLBA) and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) are some examples of regulations brought in to support this.

So, here are 10 reasons you should be using an email archiving solution:

1) Keeping an archive of your emails allows businesses to meet their legal and compliance obligations. Many sectors have specific rules and regulations in relation to data retention, such as the health, financial and legal sectors, but all businesses must be able to pull back emails on demand from a court.

2) If a court or the Managing Director demanded all of your email communications for the past 3 years, could you provide that information easily and completely? It could take days, weeks or months to perform email retrieval without an email archiving solution. The costs would be also be significant; in terms of man-hours and probably consultancy. In-fact, an email archive would also allow for searching for just a single email, within seconds, not weeks.

3) In legal cases, such as a criminal act committed by an employee, or a contractual issue with a client, emails can be retrieved from the archive and used as evidence, both internally and in a legal court.

4) The email archive service can be used in internal personnel issues, such as proving an employee sent a certain email or that a sensitive file was leaked. Also, often the archive system can be setup to automatically flag certain emails to a manager based on a text or file name match.

5) Using an automated archiving system ensures that all emails are archived without human intervention, removing the risk of any being missed or deleted before being archived.

6) Old individual user PST files are hard to search through as they will be small and numerous. How do you know which PST file the desired email was in? How do you know the email wasn’t deleted from the PST file? All historical PST files can be imported into the archive solution and can be searched with ease.

7) If you ever had an issue where you lost your mail server and it was unrecoverable, all of your email would be safe in the archive system. It would also be simple to pull them into a new system when appropriate. Actually, an email archive service is also invaluable when performing email migrations between platforms.

8.) An email archiving solution uses technologies such as de-duplication and compression to massively reduce the amount of storage needed to store a company’s emails.

9) An email archiving service will typically work effectively on cheap storage whereas most email server systems need to keep email on faster and thus more expensive disks and technologies. Most companies will see their data usage grow by 25% annually, this will equate to greater storage costs and greater storage management costs.

10) Email archiving systems are typically tamper-proof. This is essential for compliance in many sectors and it ensures that not even the IT department can remove emails from the email archive. The systems should also track and log  who read which email in the archive and when they read it. This log would also be tamper-proof.

In short you have to retain all of your email by law. Most countries have applicable laws,  the US and UK certainly do. However, you shouldn’t have an email archive to just comply with regulations , it should be a critical and valuable asset to your business. At the end of the day we are pretty much all working in a knowledge-economy, most of the value in most businesses is based on knowledge, and that knowledge is typically stored on the IT systems – a huge big chunk of that being in the email system.

I should note that email archive solutions come in numerous shapes and sizes. The costs and effectiveness of these solutions also vary wildly. Take time to choose the right solution, whether it’s internal or cloud-based. At the end of the day a solution that is remote to the site that hosts your email servers makes sense. This may be at another office, a managed cloud service, or your own device located at a data centre.

Email archiving is a must in this day and age.

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