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Third-Party Archiving vs. Microsoft Exchange 2010 – Part 3

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This is the last of a three part series on electronic archiving. The first part was: Do You Really Need to Archive Email? The second part was: What Should You Archive and What Happens If You Don’t . For more information on the benefits of SaaS for electronic archiving, click here.

“Whew, Microsoft to the rescue! Exchange 2010 has built-in email archive, now I don’t have to find a 3rd party email solution!” Aahh, not quite so fast. Put down the blue bill and take a deep breath.

With Exchange 2010, Microsoft extends the tenuous steps towards email archive made with Exchange 2007. Let’s look at some facts.

Enhancements in Exchange 2010 Archiving

  • Personal archives

The new Messaging Retention Management policies that allow users to archive messages without having to move them to a .PST file.

  • Retention policies

Exchange 2010 adds tags to help create and manage messages to Exchange 2007’s managed folders. These new tags can include: “Important”, “Archive”, “Don’t Archive”. Each tag has it’s own retention policy. When a user applies a tag to a message the retention policy is automatically applied. Unfortunately, this puts the interpretation of corporate and legal policy in the hands of the user. Automatic tagging and retention systems provide more consistent and reliable retention capabilities.

  • Multi-mailbox search

With Exchange 2010, authorized human resources, legal and non-IT compliance professional can search across mailboxes, attachments, calendar items, tasks and contacts. These searches can be performed in mailboxes, Personal Archives as well as Information Rights Protected (IRM)-protected files.

Search criteria includes: sender, recipient (cc and bcc), expiration policy, size of message, sent or received data and regular expressions (RegEx).

  • Legal holds

Administrators can immediately preserve users’ deleted and edited primary and Personal Archive mailbox items (email, calendar items, tasks, contacts, etc.). Policies can be set on individuals or enterprise wide and user notification is optional.

Basically, Exchange 2010’s content archiving is better than previous versions. However, compared to 3rd party email archive solutions, these features are relatively basic and are unlikely to meet most organizations’ email archiving needs.

Still a 1st Generation Offering

Some 3rd party email archive vendors have been around for years and their solutions have gone through hundreds of evolutionary changes. As an example, LiveOffice provides 40% of all 3rd party archiving and has been the vendor of choice for 10 years. Here are some drawbacks on Exchange 2010’s email archive offering.

  • Outlook 2010 will be needed to access archives

When Exchange 2010 is released, Outlook 2010 will not be available. Further, most organizations lag in their adoption of version updates. Most Outlook users are still using Outlook 2003. Migrating users to a new version requires massive amounts of user training and help-desk support. Not a likely immediate step given the recent budget constraints.

  • Exchange 2010 will not support offline access

The offered .PST files are not a good workaround for travelers needing offline access to archived email.

  • Other repositories cannot be searched

Being able to search both the live data store as well as one or more archive dataset is common among most of the  3rd party email archive solutions, Exchange 2010’s archive does not offer this capability alone.

  • Basic e-discovery capability

When faced with any e-discovery request, an organization will have to search across both the live data store as well as all archives. Since most organizations look for email archiving to solve their e-discovery needs, this is a serious drawback.

  • No legal holds on public folders

Exchange 2010 will not offer this capability initially. Thus, data in these significant folders cannot be placed on legal hold. This is a major drawback for any organization needing archiving for legal reasons.

  • Mail will be stored on the Exchange server

Dealing with Exchange data storage issues is one of the major issues of IT departments. Exchange 2010 email archiving requires that the archive be stored on the Exchange server. Many organizations use email archiving as a way to move data off the Exchange server to an archive solution.

Conclusions

Exchange 2010’s email archiving will be comparable to leading 3rd party email archive systems about 8 years ago; good but not up to current needs. However, how many organizations are going to migrate (Yes, it is a migration not an upgrade.) to Exchange 2010 while they have put off other budget items in this economy?  Many organizations just finished moving to 2007.

According to a Gartner Report, Microsoft currently has less than 3% of the email archiving business. Microsoft will eventually have a legally adequate version of email archiving.  Organizations using any version of Exchange, LotusNotes (and its derivatives), GroupWise, or pretty much any other email system can avail themselves of a 3rd party email archive now. A SaaS solution is simple to implement and meets the needs for compliance, legal or personal archiving.

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.

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

 



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