E-mail archiving

E-mail archiving

Email archiving is a stand-alone IT application that works with an email server to help manage an organization’s email messages. It captures and preserves all email traffic flowing into and out of the email server so it can be accessed quickly at a later date from a centrally managed location. When the need arises to search historical email for internal investigations or for a court-ordered legal discovery, organizations can search thousands of email records in seconds using search tools embedded in the email archiving system.

There are email archiving applications to support email messaging systems, and they can be installed in-house or can perform as a hosted service. In addition to email and attachments, some email archiving applications also archive all aspects of a mailbox including public folders, offline PST files, calendars, contacts, notes, and associated metadata and context. Email archiving can also enable applications for end-user search, data protection, disaster recovery, eDiscovery, and compliance supervision.

Email archiving applications capture email content on magnetic disk storage in one of two methods. One method is to capture email directly from the email application itself. (e.g. Microsoft Exchange, IBM Notes, Novell GroupWise). The alternative method captures email content during transport via an agent installed at network gateway.

There are multiple reasons why organizations implement email archiving:

* To enable email users who send and receive hundreds of email messages each day to have unlimited mailbox capacity and fingertip access to years’ worth of email
* To offload data from the production email server for increased performance and storage efficiency while preserving access to end users
* To meet litigation, regulatory, and/or business records retention requirements by enabling compliance and legal officers to easily search email stored in the archive

At a high level though there are two key approaches to using EAM (E-mail Archiving and Management) technology:

• As a part of your messaging infrastructure and storage activities• As an essential compliance and legal business application

Both approaches can be complex, and in some cases, may be industry-specific. Law firms, for example, use EAM technology very differently than manufacturing companies. Furthermore, individual enterprises have unique needs.

As a result, EAM vendors have developed a variety of approaches to meet these varied needs. For instance, Google/Postini’s set of modules focuses on security and the filtering of e-mail traffic to eliminate spam and non-compliance. CA provides sophisticated records management and compliance applications for e-mail. Autonomy Zantaz focuses on E-discovery requirements. Mimosa and HP provide efficient backup and recovery for mail systems. The specific vendor evaluation chapters below provide detailed examples of the many different approaches.While most enterprises deploy EAM-related applications for a specific need or activity, all of these systems offer quite broad capabilities beyond their core focus elements. Some span across industries and provide a more general purpose – some would say “horizontal” – approach to EAM. Others home in on particular vertical industries such as financial services.

Many of these offerings have a lot in common as they respond to the market’s growing need to meet ever more complex requirements.In order to survive, most enterprises today depend on high volumes of e-mail running efficiently through their systems. Virtually all enterprises require that messaging be a part of the underlying IT infrastructure. Many decision-makers describe systems such as Microsoft’s Exchange as the single most important communication and business application within their operation.

Nevertheless, like their customers, EAM vendors tend to focus on a subset of business problems, rather than offer a truly comprehensive product:1. E-mail backup and disaster recovery2. Messaging system optimization3. Storage optimization4. Regulatory compliance5. Litigation and Legal Discovery6. Monitoring of internal and external e-mail content7. Building a corporate archive

In the e-commerce arena, employees must have access to e-mail to close sales and to manage accounts. These types of employees, plus many other types, often want to keep their e-mails indefinitely, but some organizations mandate that e-mails more than 90 days old be deleted. Deleting older e-mails is foolish because the one e-mail that might help a company win a law suit might be nonexistent. Also, any e-mail sent outside the company will probably still exist, even if the company has deleted it on their own side.Fact|date=September 2008

Email archiving solutions improve email server performance and storage efficiency by removing email and attachments from the messaging server based on administrator defined policies. Archived email and attachments remain accessible to end users via the existing email client applications.

For legal discovery, email archiving solutions will lower overall risk of spoliation and greatly speed up the discovery function because of their message indexing, audit capabilities, deduplication and protection of all email messages stored in the archive.Fact|date=September 2008 For litigation support, email can be retrieved quickly and a history of the email exists to prove its authenticity for chain of custody. For compliance support, email records are stored in the archive according to administrator defined retention policies. When retention periods expire, email is automatically deleted by the archiving application.

Without email archiving, email likely exists on some combination of backup tapes and on end users’ local workstations. If a specific email needs to be found for an internal investigation or in response to litigation, it can take weeks to find and costs a great deal. With today’s legal discovery rules (see FRCP: http://www.uscourts.gov/rules/EDiscovery_w_Notes.pdf) and compliance legislations, it has become necessary for IT departments to centrally manage and archive their organization’s email, so email can be searched and found in minutes; not days or weeks.

To implement a solid email archiving solution, companies must search for the appropriate vendor. There is a small number of vendors in the market that have email archiving as a stand alone product or combined with their other offerings.Fact|date=September 2008

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