Information Governance

We all know that there are a lot of different ways that Enterprise Vault can be configured from both the server side processing of items, to the end-user experience on users’ desktops and laptops.  There has been a lot written in the past about how to configure various aspects of the product, with pro’s and con’s of different approaches.

In this article I’d like to share with you what I would consider as some of the fastest ways to upset end-users.

 

PST Disable Grow

PSTDisableGrow is infamous in the Outlook, and Enterprise Vault world. When first introduced by Microsoft it was seen as a step in the right direction of eliminating PST files from a users desktop or laptop. Having all that corporate information stored locally was (and still is) a minefield and a nightmare if it is considered for backup purposes.

file0001039767131.jpgPSTDisableGrow stopped that because it stopped users putting data into PST files.

But it had a knock on effect in the Enterprise Vault world.  There are two aspects of the Enterprise Vault Outlook Add-in which use PST files:

  • Offline Vault / Vault Cache / Virtual Vault
  • Retrieval of Items

With Offline Vault / Vault Cache and Virtual Vault PST files are used to store both the metadata about items (in the MDC file) and the full items (in the .DB files) for items in a users archive.  But with PST Disable Grow in place, that can break.

With retrieval of items from around Enterprise Vault 8, a temporary PST file is used in order to ‘home’ the item as it is retrieved, and then displayed to the user from that temporary PST file.  But with PST Disable Grow in place, that too can break.

There are now several articles, and videos on the Symantec web site and also Microsoft Knowledge Base articles which talk about ways to fix the issue.

It’s all down to a companion registry key called PSTDisableGrowAllowAuthenticodeOverrides. It’s described at a hard core level in this article: http://support2.microsoft.com/kb/956070. In simple terms what the key allows programmers to do is to override the PST Disable Grow functionality, meaning that programatically PST files can still be used.

If that key is not rolled out to users, then the problems outlined above will plague users, and help desk calls will flood in.

 

No Remote Access To Data

These days users work from all sorts of locations besides the traditional ‘office desktop or laptop’. Often times companies will implement VPN approaches to getting to corporate data from outside of the corporate network. That’s a good solution, but, can also be expensive to maintain and takes some user education. It can also mean that accessing data can be limited to specific devices or locations; that too is both good and bad.

Enterprise Vault can be configured to allow access through a corporate firewall if need be, and with the advent in Enterprise Vault 11 of the ‘IMAP access’ then it means that users can access archived items from ‘anywhere’.

Failing to consider how users can (and can’t access) archived items is bound to lead to user unhappiness, and yet more help desk calls.

 

Ignoring Non-Windows Users

IMG_0001.jpgOver the last few years many companies have introduced a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) approach to IT. This has lead to people working from iPad’s, Android tablets, Chromebooks, and Apple Mac’s. 

Traditionally these type of users have been largely ignored by Enterprise Vault administrators as they have been in a small minority (in most companies). However, with BYOD, the minority is rising. 

Failing to consider how these users will access archived emails is going to lead to further user unhappiness.  The big-win in this area is the Enterprise Vault 11 IMAP feature which allows access from almost any device imaginable, provided it can run an email client that understands IMAP.

I’m not saying you should rush out and enable that feature by the way, as it is still pretty new.  But when deploying and administering Enterprise Vault consideration must be given to these users who now need access to archived items from a myriad of different devices.

 

Summary

There are probably quite a few other ways where users lives can be made miserable by bad choices with Enterprise Vault configuration or policy decisions. For me though, the types of things mentioned here are key to understand how end-users work, and how to satisfy their need to access to archived items. 

Have you made bad choices when it comes to end-user experience with Enterprise Vault?

(Images are from http://morguefile.com)

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