Information Governance

PST files (also known as Personal Folders or Outlook data files) were not designed to handle the rigorous demands of today’s large-scale corporate email requirements. However, many companies move email from Exchange into PST files for retention. Ultimately, these files create more problems than they solve and are one of the main reasons why organizations eventually seek an enterprise archiving solution. Common PST file problems include:

  • Lack of centralized management of which users have created PST files, how many files exist, or what intellectual property they contain
  • Propensity for data corruption with limited recovery, resulting in permanent data loss
  • Impact on nightly backups, as the archive bit for any opened file will be changed and thus require a complete file backup, even if the file has only been viewed
  • Increased storage requirements, as single instancing is lost when multiple copies of identical email/files are stored in disparate PST files
  • Lack of content retention enforcement and compliance management
  • Difficulty in searching, as a user can only search one PST file at a time, and it is virtually impossible for compliance and/or discovery purposes

Solution: Migrate the contents of PST files into Symantec Enterprise Vault

Symantec Enterprise Vault software helps organizations solve the issues outlined in the previous section by migrating PST files into a central archiving repository. Migrating PST files involves more than just importing them into Enterprise Vault. It is a process that entails the following steps:

  1. Locate. Enterprise Vault offers “push” and “pull” techniques for locating PST files that are referenced in Outlook profiles and/or that reside on file servers or user client machines.
  2. Determine ownership. This critical step addresses the question of who owns the PST files. If an organization cannot automatically determine who owns a PST file, then it cannot automatically assign security to the information it is about to add to the archive. Enterprise Vault offers a number of techniques for establishing the ownership of a PST file and storing that information so that it can be used later to import the data into the appropriate user’s archive.
  3. Report. A centralized management view of the PST migration process is critical. The Enterprise Vault Administration Console shows a view of all PST file locations, their ownership, and their migration status.
  4. Import. The migration of PST files into Enterprise Vault can be triggered manually or automatically within certain time periods. There are a number of different methods to drive PST migration, but all of them assign security and rationalize storage through single instancing and compression within Enterprise Vault.
  5. Display. End-user access to imported content must be familiar and easy for a PST migration project to be successful. Enterprise Vault can present imported messages in Outlook, using the same folder names and hierarchy that imported PST files had at the time of migration.
  6. Disposal of migrated PST files. Following the successful migration of a PST file, Enterprise Vault can automatically delete or hide it and remove it from the user’s Outlook profile.