Key Implementation Issues of Email Archiving

When implementing an archiving project, IT managers often face critical decisions about their company’s archival policies. Some of these key policy decisions are:

  • Determining who should be responsible for archiving. If left up to the individual users, the result will be many inconsistencies in the types of documents archived, and when, and why. Typically, users are relying on the journaling capability in their email and document systems to capture all correspondence, a highly individualized point solution at best.
  • Ensuring access for mobile users. Users who travel frequently and require access to their archived messages should be able to access their repositories in an offline state via a local cache of data, thereby ensuring access to their data at all times.
  • Deciding the types of documents to be archived. Documents today range from personal to business-critical information. De facto standards will develop in 20 years or so, but the industry is still in its early stages. Meanwhile, organizations must base their decisions on the unique requirements of their organizations and industry regulations.
  • Dealing with client-side rules. Client rules, established by the end user to deal with large volumes of email from various senders, typically get broken during the migration of locally stored PST files to a central repository. Manually recreating these rules is a time-consuming process. Archival products cannot programmatically or transparently handle migration of client-side rules. Scanning the user’s MAPI profile, disabling the rules, and then manually mapping the client rules into server-side rules is one common solution.
  • Preserving folder structure. The folder structure is created on the client side and should be maintained for continuity in the archive solution. To preserve the folder structure, some products perform a folder synchronization to ascertain the message stub location. Changes are executed in a batch or “crawler” process to update the archive. Finally, since more people within the organization will have viewing rights to user folders, privacy concerns are likely to surface.
  • Determining location of archives. Employees frequently move between company locations. While archival solutions support this mobility through a distributed architecture, compliance may dictate whether the old archives can be co-mingled with those at the new location or whether separate archives should be maintained. If compliance is not a concern, then for simplicity, consistency, and faster retrieval, the user’s archives should be transferred to the new location as part of the mailbox migration.

... David Ferris, with thanks to Ferris Research's recent user roundtable on email archiving

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