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Whether you call it Software as a Service (SaaS), Managed Service Provider (MSP) or On-Demand Services, your organization uses the service running “in the cloud”. This blog will discuss these services, their benefits, drawbacks and operations. Are we biased? Yes. We believe that some services make sense for most organizations. Email security is one of those. However as Mark Twain said, “All generalizations are false, even this one.” Each Tuesday we will post information and questions about Software as a Service. Occasionally, we will have a "Guest Post" from either a consultant or vendor posting her/his thoughts on Managed Services generally as well as some degree of specificity based on her/his unique perspective. We encourage your insights, comments and feedback. Welcome.

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Do You Really Need to Archive Your Email? – Part 1


This is the first of three part series on electronic archiving. The second part is: What Needs to Be Archived? The third part is: Third-Party SaaS Archiving vs. Microsoft Exchange 2010. For more information on the benefits of SaaS for electronic archiving, click here.

You back-up your email server regularly so, why add email archiving?  Besides, you are not in a “regulated” industry so you don’t need to archive, right? As the commercial says, “Humm, not exactly.”

First, let’s discuss why all organizations need to be consider electronic archiving. Then we’ll discuss the confusion of backups with archiving.

Purpose of Electronic Archives

Regulatory Obligations

It is no secret that some industries such as financial services, health care and energy are heavily regulated. What most don’t recognize (or acknowledge) is that all organizations have some level of compliance obligation for their business records (e.g., personnel records) that are sent by email. Some states are now requiring ALL organizations to archive their email. Other states are exploring such actions.

Legal Obligations

Email, IM and other electronic data are the “low-hanging fruit” for e-discovery requests. When a potential or actual case raises its ugly head, having an electronic archive can give an organization the change to review the data easily to see if there is any merit to the case. Decisions can be made early to settle or go to court. This is true regardless of which side of the law suit the organization is on.

Business Efficiency

Email storage is growing at more than 30% and 60% decision-makers cite this growth as their leading messaging management problem. A good 3rd-party email archiving system will automatically archive email and relieve the email server of the storage burden. End-users can have a “folder” linking them to their archive.

A Backup Is Not an Archive

Backing up your data is best practice but, the purpose of performing a back-up is to be able to restore data after a disaster. If you try to use backup tapes for an archive you face several problems:

  • Which tapes are needed and are they corrupt?

Backing up to tape was a great idea 30 years ago. However, as any tape monkey knows, you cannot rely on tapes all the time for adequate restoration. The older the tape is, the more likely the tape corruption. Judges sometimes interpret inability to retrieve data for incompetence; especially when better technology is available.

  • Tapes can be large and are the data is not indexed.

Some compressed tapes can hold as much as 750GB of email data. That is over 50 million pages of text none of which is indexed. You have to find HDD space to restore the data, run an indexer on the data before you can run your query for: “all instances in which Hermione Alphschmiertz discussed the “Hammerfrazzle” project.” In other words, you have to restore your raw data and make it available for an archiving function.

  • Recovery costs can be enormous.

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure mandate that companies keep data from Exchange servers, backup systems, offsite tapes and .PST files. In Petcou v.C. H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., the costs of recovering 2 years of email for a single employee was more than $79,000. For more information on the high cost of recovery from tape, click here.

At the low cost of unlimited archiving available today, economics plays a back seat in the decision making process today. Electronic archiving of email, Instant Message logs and Bloomberg data is now routine. The only questions are: what data needs to be archived, what type of archive? and to use a third-party or use the built-in exchange 2010 email archive? These are the topics of our next two posts.

If you want more information, contact us via email or phone at 770-603-0300.


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