Email Archiving – It’s More than Moving Messages

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize our extensive use of email is a bit out of control. We no longer walk down the hallway to chat, exchange ideas, or deliver a document. Instead we write a quick email, CC: a group of developers, or scan, attach, and distribute everything from meeting notes to intricate project plans–often times creating multiple copies and consuming massive amounts of storage. Email has proven to be one of the best communication tools and the proverbial catch-all filing cabinet. For an organization, it is easy to see how the following behind the scenes problems can slowly creep into everyday email usage:

  • Large numbers of duplicated emails spreading throughout an organization as everyone creates their own personal copy
  • Individual users with large personal folders (PSTs) that hold massive amounts of emails and attachments
  • Frustrated users who continually bump up against quota limits and have to purge vital messages
  • IT incurring high processing, backup and storage costs as they attempt to control burgeoning email data stores

To help eliminate these problems, many organizations turn to email archiving. But not all archiving solutions are created equal. For instance, stubbing is often a key component of the email archiving solution. With stubbing, a pointer is kept in the email server, such as Microsoft Exchange, while the original message and/or attachments is moved off to an archive area. When a user wants to look at an email, the stub is accessed, and then message is retrieved from archive with the expected benefit of a reduced mailbox size.

Unfortunately eliminating the problem of mailbox size often opens the door to stubbing issues. Over time, stubs can actually cause performance problems as the number of items kept (messages, including stubs) increases. As a result, stubbing becomes a band-aid that does nothing to mitigate the growing email problem.

Keying a solution on a single problem, such as email size, with a pointed solution such as stubbing can inhibit an organization from taking appropriate action in the future. With the need to show compliancy to auditors, a solution with a broader angle must be selected. For instance, duplicate messages can create a storage nightmare but can also cause havoc when trying to determine the originating author. New third generation methods of email archiving, such as is found in Estorian LookingGlass, give a glimpse into how companies should approach email archiving solutions while providing the following data management benefits:

  • Elimination of duplicate emails through single instance stores (SIS) reduces the risks of multiple copies as well as reduces storage requirements.
  • Personal folders can be eliminated. This removes the burden of users to maintain their own local email storage. No longer do users need to purge mailboxes to comply with quota limits and, since there are no local PST files, email performance is improved while reducing the risk of data loss.
  • Instant access to archives without the need for quotas and stubbing. Users can store as much email as they like without incurring the performance hit that stubbing introduces.
  • Self-service allows constant access and review of archives. Users have access to all email plus gain improved searching capabilities with content indexing.
  • Reduction of backup and storage costs through a reduction of duplicate information and retention policies.
  • Reduction in processing costs as email searches are performed through content sensitive indexes before accessing stored records for improved efficiencies and saving time.

By deploying an archiving solution such as Estorian’s LookingGlass in an Exchange environment, organizations can take advantage of single-instance store technology that eliminates duplicates but also uses indexing that categorizes and classifies email for intelligent retrieval. When companies begin to think of email as a true data management task, just like the files and folders of any database, companies can begin to equip their employees with rich and robust information that will enable them to perform their jobs more efficiently and effectively.

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