Sarah Vouga – Waterford Technologies
Recently, I had the opportunity to pose this question to several IT administrators, majority of whom had some sort of email archiving solution in place, while others were aware they needed one and still others who were adamant they did not need anything of the sort. These are the answers they gave.
“We’re running Exchange 2003, not likely to upgrade soon, and have less than 100 mailboxes total. Fewer than half of those are active. Our current email archiving method is to forbid users to ever delete email. Not a very viable solution for the long run.” – J. Cochran
“We forbade deletion of email and ran out of Exchange storage. We went to storing email in PST’s, found that they corrupt too easily, have a low storage capacity, and also discovered that management of multiple PST’s is a nightmare.” – D. Hamilton
“Yes, I am painfully aware that PST files are not a “real” solution. I’m hoping that in the near future we will have a real email archiving solution and not a rigged approach like PSTs … which Microsoft does not officially support over the network.” – D. Scammel
“We do a large majority of our business (financing) via email which means lots of email traffic, lots of large PDF’s. Last month we/sent received over 230,000 pieces of email.” –W.G.
“Email is for communication, not document storage! We encourage our users NOT to save and archive email for legal reasons. If you do not have it, then you can’t be forced to produce it in a court of law.” – Anonymous
“We are in healthcare so we are required to keep several years’ worth of emails. Since storage is less of an issue to us but corruption is a major one we stopped using PSTs and use the Online Archiving with Exchange. Every 3 months we then export all online archives every 3 months with a script to PSTs for each user. This PST is then moved to designated storage for it.” – R. Lee
“A lot of industries are legally required to save emails. A good archiving system is a must for this, the PST file road leads to a bad place. The bigger issue for me: I have to find a way to go to get my users to give up their horrible email habits.” – T. Wiz
It became painfully obvious to several IT admins who had yet to deploy an archive that the business problem an email archiving solution would solve (even if they wouldn’t admit it) centered around two things; Email Retention Policies and PST files. Their email server was entirely dependent upon the end users following the company email policy that in some instances had no way of being enforced, while for others, their email policy just flat out disallowed for emails to be deleted, resulting in a horde of PST files that mimicked a gaggle of zombies trying to overtake a human trapped in a car.
Some points to remember:
Outline Policies Promptly
: Launching retention and deletion policies prior to deploying an archive solution will keep storage from increasing to an overwhelming level. A policy that states the intentions for your standards and how end users should follow the policy is acceptable in court provided you can prove your organization abides by it. Without a policy, you will be stuck with keeping everything. Forever- something that several IT admins are seeing is more detrimental to their company than just purchasing an email archive solution.
Enforce Your Policies:
Once a policy is written, it must be enforced with an automated solution so as to eliminate the “human” factor of policy enforcement, thus ending the vicious cycle of end users having to be constantly reminded and reprimanded for not following the policies.
These files are not the best primary storage location for end users mailbox data. They expose the organization to legal risks and make it hard for you to locate emails when you need them- which usually happens with the burden to meet deadlines. With an email archiving solution, the archive becomes your central data repository where users can access their own emails easily.