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Message Tagging Offers Means to Scale Email Management in Enterprise Environments

A recent virtual eDiscovery roundtable that I participated in highlighted the difficulties that companies are having in getting their arms around the proliferation of electronically stored information (ESI) in their organization. This is especially true when one considers the growth of social media and how it can negatively impact them going forward. One attorney participating in the roundtable even went so far to say that, “We have lost control in regards to blogs, wikis and newer forms of social media.” Thankfully the news is a little bit better in regards to the management of older, more mature forms of social media such as email but challenges still remain.

The new emphasis on transparency that organizations are adopting is only certain to increase in the coming years. Social media is driving some of that from a public perception perspective but litigation and government oversight is driving it from a much more practical perspective and the failure to produce needed ESI is costing companies hard dollars in eDiscovery costs. No where is this pain more acute than in email as email is one of the first forms of ESI that auditors and opposing attorneys request with up to 80% of electronic discovery cases now involving email according to some estimates.

Larger organizations that have10,000 mailboxes or more face a particularly daunting challenge as they endeavor to control and manage their email. Aside from the initial challenge of identifying software that archives and manages email, they need to identify software that they can non-disruptively introduce into their email environment so it does not bog down their corporate email server as it performs these tasks. 

It is this specific challenge that MessageGate’s portfolio of products was designed to address. MessageGate does not archive or manage email in the same fashion as other email products but rather works in conjunction with them. MessageGate analyzes all email traffic and then takes action on email in real time by blocking, rerouting and/or quarantining messages for review. MessageGate also categorizes and tags messages so other products, specifically email archive solutions, can act on that tagged information that MessageGate embeds in the email message.

While MessageGate can work in any size environment, what makes it particularly well-suited for the email environments of large corporations is that its software was originally designed by Boeing as a tool to filter spam for high email transaction environments. At the time, Boeing could not find any off-the-shelf products that would scale to meet the performance demands of its email system so it developed its own in-house product. Eventually Boeing discovered that other large organizations had similar requirements to filter large amounts of email data so it spun the technology off and created MessageGate.

Since becoming its own entity, MessageGate took its core functionality of analyzing email content in high transaction email environments and refocused the software around the policy enforcement of email messages. Leveraging its previous expertise with spam, it took content analysis to the next level such that it now evaluates the context of email messages that are sent and received. To these messages, it then adds tags so other email products that do email archiving and management can look at the tags that MessageGate has appended to the message and, using that information in the tag, make a determination in how to handle the message itself.

MessageGate suite of software isn’t for every organization and companies should exercise caution in classifying or treating as a standalone product. However as enterprise organizations continue to experience increasing amounts of email traffic and try to balance the twin demands of transparency and speed, MessageGate provides them a new mechanism to deliver both. MessageGate can create a central policy repository for emails, a common mechanism for tagging all archived, incoming and outgoing emails and potentially enables organizations to keep their existing email archiving and management software in place by enabling them to scale to meet their growing email workflows.

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