Are You an Email Administrator or an Architect?

Peter Sweeney- Waterford Technologies

Many years ago when I was selling IT hardware and infrastructure, the concept of email was still new.  Many users at home used to use AOL for email and the “you’ve got mail” pop up screen and sound became iconic. No one had a thought for email archiving.

Business email adoption was limited and was in it’s infancy and Novell had a grip on a large share of the market with it’s Groupwise application.  At a meeting with a large legal firm, the discussion revolved around whether to adopt the new concept of email and what use it would be.  It was agreed that only the senior partners would need email.  No point spending money on email clients for the staff and secretaries.  All emails sent were merely a copy of a legal document that was going to be sent by traditional post.  The legal status of email was still being defined.  It was being compared to fax which still had a huge usage in the legal market.

As time progressed, Microsoft Exchange came to dominate the market.  The legal status of emails and documents sent by email email archivingwere clearly defined in law and adoption became complete.  The email store moved from being a place where text based emails were stored to being a critical business resource containing valuable information, contract terms, agreements, HR information, spreadsheets, images and anything else that can be sent or attached by email.  However, the focus of the major manufacturers of messaging software is to ensure easy collaboration between friends, work colleagues, business partners, suppliers and customers.

It was not to make sure that the entirety of that information is captured, preserved, validated and easily retrievable.  Perhaps the true impact was not foreseen all those years ago.  Who would have thought 25 years ago that physical CDs or LP’s would be replaced by the download or that a contract for a vast business transaction would be able to be negotiated in days with rapid exchange of key documents being amended and agreed by email across the world.  Or that you could pay for your morning coffee with your phone?

But that brings me to my original question. The designers of email packages provided a mail store for the emails on the email server.  The idea was that the email store was backed up with the nightly backup.  It was an administrative task.  Make sure the email store is safe and can be restored.  But, email has been around for many years.  Mail stores are getting vast.  The task is becoming cumbersome, but as an IT administrator you can’t make the decision in a legal firm for example, just to delete the last few years mail because they may just be needed.

That’s where you need to put on your IT architects hat.  Managing the email means managing a vast amount of business intelligence.  What you now need is this:

  • Instant retrieval of stored emails, no matter how old,
  • Automatic separate archiving of and stripping out large or duplicate attachments,
  • Archiving emails out of the main file store, reducing back up times,
  • Store compressed and encrypted copies of all emails sent and received

These are requirements not dealt with by the standard email packages.

Imagine in your business 25 years ago you could have sat in the post room, read every letter coming into the business, indexed it’s content and filed it for instant retrieval in seconds, even years later.  That is what email archiving software does and perhaps you need to go and get your architect’s hat right now.

If you would like to know more about the benefits of email archiving then please get in touch.