The Real World PST Problem and How to Deal with It; Executive Interview with C2C Systems CTO Ken Hughes Part VI

Everyone frequently talks about archiving data when they know the make-up of the data is and where it is located. But what no one want to discuss is the more common real-world problem of not even knowing where data is so it may be archived – especially as it pertains to Outlook PST files. In this sixth and final blog entry in my interview series with C2C Systems’ CTO Ken Hughes, he talks about the real world problem of finding and archiving PST files in organizations and how ArchiveOne takes that into account in its architecture.

Charles: How does C2C handle archives such as PSTs that are already out there. Are you relying on the existing organization’s infrastructure to access that?

Ken: PSTs are a significant problem. Many people try to avoid or hide the scale of the problem that they have. Most of our competitors will just say, “If you want to ingest a PST, you have got to find it. You have to move it to a location where our product can ingest it.”

This is not reality. C2C is talking to some companies today with 100,000 employees who believe they have a million PSTs. A million PSTs at a GB each is a PB of data. That is a huge amount of data.

Further, if you have the normal employee turnover of about 15 percent, which is roughly the industry norm across all industries, then that is going to create 2.5 times the head count of your existing head count today over a 10 year period.

This means if an organization’s policies were, as an employee left the organization, to ingest all of that employee’s data into a PST and then put it somewhere, the organization will have a lot of PSTs scattered around its network.

Then factor in backup, unassociated PSTs, corruption, overhead, managing them, storing them, it becomes overwhelming. C2C knows customers who believe that 50 percent of their SAN is taken up with PSTs. Those PSTs have been created because of their users trying to get around the mailbox quotas imposed by the company.

So companies have completely shot themselves in the foot and now cannot manage the PSTs they have. They cannot look inside them because there is no simple tool to look inside them. Further, should any eDiscovery request come along, it is a nightmare.

Even with people moving to Office 365 or Exchange 2010, they still cannot manage the PSTs. Although Office 365 can ingest PSTs, organizations still cannot go and find them, they still cannot manage them, they still cannot look at what is inside them to make the decision of whether or not the organization wants to keep the data.

C2C has complete PST management within ArchiveOne. But C2C has also split some of it out into its PST Enterprise product. This product only goes out and looks at and does management of PST data.

Over the last couple of years C2C has been particularly talking to companies of 100,000 or more users that have somewhere in the region of 250 to 400,000 PSTs. Around 30 to 40 percent of those PSTs are on desktops or laptops with a good number of those PSTs unassociated and companies having no idea who these PSTs belong to. So they have find out who these PSTs belong to since before you can understand what you want to do with that data, you first have to find it.

In the e-discovery world are lots of people on the right hand side of EDRM spectrum moving to the left. C2C is solidly in that information management and identification ability, and then the ability to preserve and collect data.

C2C wants to preserve it and collect it. We do not care about the location. If you have can see the archives then that is fantastic. But C2C’s view is that seeing the PST archives is just not real world. A lot of that data is simply scattered around the network.

C2C goes out and finds it, takes a copy of it, preserves it, and then allows organizations to make the decision about how to best manage it without your legal counsel sweating over whether or not that data been deleted. So can C2C really find it? The answer is yes. It’s not difficult to us.

C2C sees archiving and eDiscovery and retention management as a balance. It is not a case of archive it first and then we can do eDiscovery and then we can do retention. It’s all about the balance.

Charles:  Are you selling this solution as a separate product? Or is that part of your overall installation?

Ken:  It is ArchiveOne. When you buy ArchiveOne, you buy all the discovery modules, you get the PST management, and you get the retention. Granter, there are some bolt on extras to make this data available to the general counsel that offers a simpler user interface.

C2C is just trying to build on its ease of use for the end user. C2C’s focus has always been trying to make accessing data as transparent as possible. C2C has given organizations the exact same experience to get with Outlook web access or with normal Outlook, to browse through their archives. This is what makes our solution completely seamless since all of the archive data is accessible within Outlook as well.

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