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News

E-mail archiving and management advice from C2C

Storage Expo : 09 September, 2008  (Technical Article)
Dave Hunt of C2C provides useful advice on managing and archiving enterprise e-mail systems
With only 20% of companies demonstrating good control on email management, Dave Hunt of C2C comments on the state of email management and archiving and notes what resellers can do to position themselves as protectors of companies' most used and valuable communication method.

Just how bad does it get? Though around 30% of organisations have some form of archiving in place, most consider that this would not constitute adequate control. A recent survey by C2C found that 65% of respondents had set mailbox capacity limits meaning in effect, that end users were responsible for managing their own mailboxes. In practice, this self regulation probably results in significant lost productivity and constitutes a poor strategy for managing and discovering data. In this article, we consider the top five questions being by resellers interested in recommending email management:-

1 Is Email control a management or archive issue?

It is a management issue and archiving is part of the solution. Resellers should identify a solution that identifies unnecessary emails, handles attachments and provides automated quota management which should be part of a strategic 'cradle to grave' management of email. It isn't a case of archiving email merely to reduce the live storage footprint, but part of a well thought-out strategy, designed hand-in-hand with the customer that aids productivity and time management and that can be implemented by an IT department simply and economically.

2 What is the biggest problem for email management - storage costs, 'loss' of information or compliance issues?

All of these are problems. Some will cost your customers on a daily basis; others could result in huge fines in liability. Failure to preserve email properly could have many consequences including brand damage, high third-party costs to review or search for data, court sanctions, or even instructions to a jury that it may view a defendant's failure to produce data as evidence of culpability.

3 What guidelines should be in place for mailbox quotas - and how can these be made more business friendly?

Most specialists in email management agree that mailbox quotas are a bad idea. The only use would be a quota for automatic archiving, whereby, on reaching a specific mailbox threshold, email is archived automatically (and invisibly to the user) until a lower threshold is reached. Our C2C survey also found that those who self-manage email to stay within quotas frequently delete messages, delete attachments, and/or create a PST file. The over-reliance on PST files as a means to offload email creates several challenges when companies must meet legal requirements, since PST files do not have a uniform location and cannot be searched centrally for content with traditional technologies. Resellers can explain that reliance on PST files is poor practice.

4 Once retention schedules and compliance have been met, does the email need to be destroyed - and if so, how should resellers' recommend companies go about this?

In some instances it is necessary to delete emails once the retention period has passed, in others it is only an option. Deletion also depends on the industry type, for instance, does it have to be guaranteed destruction, such as to US DoD standards, or is a simple removal of the email sufficient?

5. What would be your top tips be for email management?

Resellers that wish to add true value should consider the whole picture of email data management, from the instant an email is sent to the time it is finally destroyed.

C2C is exhibiting at Storage Expo 2008 the UK's definitive event for data storage, information and content management. Now in its 8th year, the show features a comprehensive FREE education programme and over 100 exhibitors at the National Hall, Olympia, London from 15 - 16 October 2008.
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