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Editorial: Welcome to archiving hell

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If you're currently archiving email, your archiving app might also be able to do the same thing with IMs. If it lacks that capability, there are a number of IM archiving programs available that can operate in standalone mode or even integrate with some email archivers. Similarly, products are available to handle VoIP archiving. Unified messaging systems can simplify archiving chores by putting email, VoIP messages and perhaps even IMs in the same archivable mailbox.

Regardless of how you decide to handle archiving for these additional communications facilities, there's one thing you probably know: Your archive has the potential to grow ... a lot. Depending on the specific traffic these communication applications generate in your office, your new capacity requirements could be substantial, especially if your company allows archive-bloating practices like attaching files to IMs.

Of course, all this archiving and data retention can make employees a little uneasy about their communication habits. For reasons ranging from malicious to not, employees often try to evade corporate controls by using noncorporate email systems for business correspondence. Skipping out to a Hotmail or Gmail account to dash off a nonarchivable message can effectively thwart archiving efforts. Barring access to these external services is about the best you can do to ensure that you don't have glaring gaps in the business

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communications you're tracking. Remember, not having a piece of requested data can hurt you just as much as being caught red-handed with the evidence.

This was first published in January 2008

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