Outsourcing email archiving: the pros and cons


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E-mail archiving outsourcers falling short

Service providers need to catch up with the e-mail archiving needs of their customers.

Tired of mailbox quotas? Spending too much money on e-mail application servers and storage? The solution is easy: e-mail archiving. So why aren't more of you doing it? Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) estimates that 70% of you haven't deployed any form of e-mail archiving. Of those who did make an investment, what percentage of mailboxes did you archive--only 20% to 30%? In addition, many who use e-mail archiving software are doing so just because they have to.

That's a lot of rhetorical questions and figures, so let me spell things out a bit. There are tangible benefits to e-mail archiving, including complying with record-retention regulations and creating a searchable repository. But the most overlooked benefit is message application infrastructure optimization. For example, organizations that implement mailbox quotas to control storage costs essentially force employees to delete e-mails or create their own message archives in the form of .PST files. With e-mail archiving, mailboxes can be automatically groomed with older messages stubbed and stored on secondary storage. This reduces the cost to keep messages active and lets employees retain all messages. Mailbox archiving also reduces backup stress because older messages are removed from primary systems, reducing

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the amount of data to be protected on a regular basis.

When it comes time to budget for e-mail archiving, many of you may hesitate because of the time it takes to implement, and you might still only associate e-mail archiving with compliance or electronic discovery.

The first impediment, time to deployment, is easily solved: outsource. Just the mention of that word can stir up controversy but, in the realm of IT, outsourcing typically involves an organization transitioning a set of management tasks and processes to an external party. Cost and lack of in-house expertise are two reasons for an organization to consider outsourcing. Another is the time it takes to deploy a new technology. For example, when compliance beckoned, not all Wall Street players could dish out the cash needed to deploy e-mail archiving and its associated non-erasable, non-rewriteable storage systems. Many small brokers/dealers and mutual funds lacked IT departments to manage e-mail archiving software or storage systems. This opened the door to service providers who offered outsourced e-mail archiving services. Iron Mountain and Zantaz were among those service providers, and today they count several financial services firms among their clients.

This was first published in October 2006

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