Time to Break the .PST Habit

If you use Microsoft Exchange, you're probably painfully aware of the risk that personal store (.PST) files are creating for your organization, especially if you've turned on mailbox quotas. The .PST files present a security risk, increase storage, and place tons of critical email information beyond the control of anyone who cares about your company's intellectual property.

Here are a couple of practical suggestions to break the .PST habit:

  1. Determine where .PST files are located and how much data they contain. Perform simple file name-based ("*.pst") searches on your file servers and desktops to determine this information.
  2. Relocate .PST file contents, so email data can be protected and accessed quickly. Email archiving solutions and other specialized applications can relocate existing .PST files into a central repository and index the email data for fast access.

Microsoft says that Exchange 2007 is designed to support mailboxes in the gigabyte size range. This should allow users to keep more email online and not use .PST files, but the devil is likely to be in the detail.

... Bob Spurzem

One Comment

  1. Posted October 20, 2006 at 6:23 AM | Permalink

    PST file present no more of a security risk than being able to log into your windows laptop unconnected (since your passwords will be stored on disk)

    o your disk (NTFS) can have very good encryption turned on

    o pst files are not limited in size (a default maxium size is set you can change this)

    but you are correct often locating these files on a server allows easy administration and backup

  2. Posted October 20, 2006 at 7:02 AM | Permalink

    @John: The major issue is the exposure to IP theft. In addition, organizations in many jurisdictions need to worry about the legal discovery process.

    Unmanaged stores such as PST files compound these risks.

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