With businesses generating and sharing an ever-increasing volume of information through email, the ability to protect and preserve these critical communications is essential. Whether your motivation is to improve storage management, meet regulatory requirements for data retention, or lower the costs of conducting electronic discovery (e-Discovery), implementing an effective email archiving and discovery solution can offer a number of benefits.

Even though there are clear-cut drivers for adopting such solutions, a significant number of organizations rely instead on potentially less efficient means to store and search these enormous amounts of data. For example, when users have small mailbox quotas, they often archive older messages into local Microsoft® Outlook® Data Files (.PST files), removing this important historical record from Exchange Server. With these messages no longer under the direct control of your IT department, it can be very challenging for your organization to comply with regulations or respond in a timely fashion to e-Discovery requests.

To help you more effectively address these needs, Atomic Data offers Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 for integrated email archiving, retention, and discovery capabilities. These built-in tools can help you simplify the process of preserving and discovering email without having to change the way your users or administrators work with and manage Exchange Server.

The importance of archiving email

From mitigating the risks associated with the annual double-digit percentage increases in legal disputes to finding ways to reduce your storage costs, the motivations for deploying a comprehensive solution for archiving email are best summarized as the following:

  • Optimizing storage management to lower costs
  • Complying with industry and regulatory data retention requirements
  • Streamlining discovery processes to ease the burden of responding to legal orders

Challenges with current approaches

While organizations strongly desire the real benefits of archiving email, many have faced complexity and challenges that have either stalled or prevented the successful deployment of an adequate solution. First, email can be stored in numerous locations across your network. Email can be found in .PST files, posted to Microsoft SharePoint® sites, stored on backup tapes, hosted on third-party solutions, or even forwarded by your users to their personal email accounts. With the potential of up to 90 percent of your email residing outside of your Exchange Server, it can be daunting to enforce data retention policies or locate relevant communications when compliance matters arise.

Additionally, many email archiving approaches introduce an environment that is unfamiliar to both your users and IT administrators. For instance, users often need to leave the familiarity of Microsoft Outlook to interact with their archived email. They will likely need to learn new skills and client applications to search or access archived messages. This can disrupt the normal workflow for managing their inboxes. In many situations, email is archived out of Exchange and into separate data repositories, which could result in a loss of features that boost user productivity—such as the new Conversation View or the “anywhere access” benefits of Outlook Web App—that likely led you to choose Exchange to begin with.

For your IT department, complexity can arise from having to deploy and maintain Outlook and Outlook Web App add-ins to enable user access to archived email. When it comes to administrative tasks, there could be a range of challenges to learning and implementing yet another infrastructure that needs to be as reliable and easy to access as your Exchange Server. And, your IT staff may experience the added burden of having to utilize different methods to conduct mailbox searches across recent email in Exchange and messages archived to another repository—all to perform queries on behalf of your organization’s compliance officers, legal department, or human resources.

Lastly, there is cost. Not only do you need to deploy and operate a separate infrastructure that runs in parallel to your business critical email platform, you’ll need to train your users and support increased service desk call volume as users learn new tools for managing their email. All of these can lead to higher operational costs in a time when every business is seeking to transform IT into a competitive asset by driving down the costs and overhead of infrastructure investments.

A different approach to email archiving

Recognizing the importance of deploying an effective archiving and discovery solution, Microsoft has delivered new, integrated email archiving, retention, and discovery capabilities with the release of Exchange Server 2010. These built-in features were designed with an appreciation for the potential barriers that have limited wide scale adoption of email archiving. Plus, with the support of Atomic Data, users are relived of the IT burden.

There are likely many reasons your organization is seeking new and better ways to preserve and discover the critical business communications conducted over email. Whether your motivation is to lower your storage costs, address regulatory compliance, or meet time tables for legal discovery orders, the integrated email archiving, retention, and discovery features offered in Exchange 2010 can help your organization:

  • Deliver a seamless experience without interrupting your users’ email workflow.
  • Streamline administrative tasks using familiar management tools and delegation.
  • Reduce costs and lower administrative overhead through integrated capabilities.

Learn more about what Microsoft solutions can do for your business. Call us at 612-466-2000.