Information Governance

Not all email is created equal

With the recognition that email has become as mission critical as any other IT system, most organizations are evaluating their overall policies and systems for email management. Across many industries and public sector organizations, IT professionals are being called on to address the three most common management concerns regarding email:

  • Resource management—How can the organization keep these systems running and costs under control? With sprawling message stores, longer backup windows, annoying end-user quotas, and out-of-control “rogue” archives (such as Microsoft PST files), IT is struggling to keep email up and running without breaking the budget.
  • Retention management—How can the organization enforce a consistent retention policy on email? At the same time, IT organizations are being mandated by legal and compliance groups to implement enterprisewide policies on retention for email, rather than leaving it in end users’ hands.
  • Discovery management—How can the organization quickly retrieve the content it needs within its mass of email? As email has increasingly become the “smoking gun” in litigation and regulatory investigations, most large organizations now know that if the email message is out there, they may be asked to find it.

Given these challenges, tens of thousands of enterprises across the world are evaluating or using email archiving software solutions. These systems typically allow IT to control email storage costs, while giving end users more user-friendly email storage and search and delivering to legal departments a consistent system for retaining and finding email messages across the enterprise.

As IT groups plan or implement these systems, they are realizing, however, that email archiving involves some important considerations:

  • Archive storage size—While email archives often provide a fast ROI from a storage savings standpoint, they still create a great demand for storage. Since the data in question may be retained for many years, IT departments are seeking ways to optimize their archive storage costs.
  • Archive retention period—Email archiving projects often force a necessary but challenging discussion within organizations about how long they should be keeping email messages. Many companies and government bodies have retention policies for traditional paper records, yet Symantec Enterprise Vault Intelligent Archiving and Email: Classification, Retention, Filtering, and Search they struggle to determine the appropriate policies for email. And they wrestle with how to make those policies practically and consistently work within a complex and growing email environment.
  • Archive search—Finally, these same groups estimate the amount of data they will have in their archives over time and look for ways to reduce the search time and cost for finding the data they need. In short, while archiving solutions greatly simplify the issues around storage, retention, and discovery that plague today’s email environments, they do not make those issues go away. What is the root of the remaining challenges? While every email message may have the same fundamental characteristics—a sender, a recipient, a subject, and a body—not every email message is of the same value to the organization. 

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