Email archiving, is it for the little guy?

In this age of rising eDiscovery costs, many small players seem to be getting left out in the cold. Implementation of a traditional full featured enterprise archive happens in response to combined IT and Legal pain that finally exceed the threshold and cut lose the capitol budget to reign in bloated Exchange environments and service provider profits. But selecting the right solution for a large public company or governmental agency is an entirely different process from the immediate needs of the SMB market and smaller state or county entities. Recent changes in the dominant archive platforms seem to acknowledge this reality as some of them raise the minimum target sale and focus their channel on large enterprise sales.

So what is a smaller player to do? Well there are quite a few new SaaS offerings to consider. The model makes sense for many smaller companies with 1-100 users, especially if they are a service company that wants to minimize overhead and infrastructure. If you have good access to bandwidth or your employees are geographically diverse, then chucking the entire messaging platform can be very attractive.

But outsourcing your informational assets may not be an option for regulated verticals or public agencies with FOIA requirements like the Florida Sunshine Laws. A Florida school system must retain communications record and make them available upon proper request.  More challenging than a FOIA request, many smaller companies face potential economic disaster from just one serious civil lawsuit. Large public corporations are required to carry excess umbrella insurance and reserves against risk. They can more easily absorb the typical $1 million deductible that may cap their loss for cases. A $1 million dollar deductible could cripple a small company, assuming that it has a properly structured insurance envelope. This puts small companies and under-budgeted state and local agencies into a unique place in the archiving market.

So the under-represented segment of the market needs an archiving and discovery solution with a low entry and implementation threshold. Moreover, it has to be easy to use and administrate as smaller entities may not have dedicated personnel with deep skills. Some of the archiving players seem to have focused on meeting these challenges. Estorian’s Looking Glass Interactive Archive is sold on a subscription model with an entry point as low as $400 per month. The system leverages the Exchange’s ‘Receive As’ functionality to intercept active traffic without using Journaling. This also enables them to scan the mailbox and attached PSTs via MAPI call to dynamically track the folder location and other user actions on the items in the mailbox.  This makes it easier to roll outfor smaller companies, because journaling and stubbing are de-emphasized.

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