Mimosa NearPoint, LiveOffice Mail Archive offer hybrid SaaS email archiving approach

Mimosa Systems NearPoint and LiveOffice Mail Archive team to combine on-premise email archiving with an archiving service; can they convince users that both approaches can coexist?

Mimosa Systems Inc. and LiveOffice LLC are looking to short-circuit the debate about on-premise email archiving vs. email archiving SaaS with a new offering that combines Mimosa's NearPoint on-premise email archiving software with LiveOffice's Mail Archive service.

"Each of our worlds will say 'We're the best thing since sliced bread,'" said LiveOffice CEO Nick Mehta of the competition between on-premise and hosted email archiving concepts in the last few years. "But the reality is that there are benefits to both."

"This is the first legitimate hybrid SaaS and on-premise email archive solution," said Brian Babineau, a senior analyst at Milford, Mass.-based Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG). "Autonomy [Corp.] tried in the past but didn't have success." (Atempo and Nirvanix Inc. were first with a file-based cloud archiving partnership, but it wasn't geared toward splitting data between on-site and cloud repositories).

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To use the joint offering, customers have to have an account with LiveOffice and software from Mimosa on-premise. Either company can sell the other's product to a potential joint customer, according to LiveOffice's Mehta. If customers want to use the two products together, they can get a free software connector jointly developed by the two companies that will allow files to be sent from the Mimosa archive to the LiveOffice cloud according to policy. Customers can archive by date/age of file, by user or custodian, or according to which legal matter the data corresponds to.

"The tiered storage option for email archives will be key," ESG's Babineau said. "The biggest complaint that we hear from on-premise email archive customers is archive storage management. If customers can have a means to move some of the archive capacity to the cloud or a SaaS provider, their on-premise email archive environment becomes much easier to manage."

To ensure continuity for compliance and e-discovery purposes, data sent to LiveOffice Mail Archive remains accessible through Mimosa search. LiveOffice also does its own indexing on content before it's permanently stored, and can formally produce data for outside counsel if necessary.

To make data available, LiveOffice Mail Archive decrypts the data in between receiving it encrypted over the wire and storing it encrypted at rest. Email archiving SaaS rival Proofpoint Inc. claims to do this without decrypting the data, but Babineau said he didn't anticipate this being a big issue for users.

Babineau also pointed out that the LiveOffice SaaS can provide external counsel access to data for security-conscious organizations. "If a customer doesn't want external counsel to have access to the on-premise archive, they can move the [relevant] messages to the cloud where the external counsel can do their work," he said.

Customers who have already picked one approach may take some convincing that on-premise and hosted archiving are a good fit together.

Santhosh Samuel, server manager for Palm Beach County information support services in Fla., said he prefers an on-premise email archive and uses Mimosa NearPoint for Exchange. "I just don't like the idea of having all of [the county's] email in other people's hands," he said.

However, he said LiveOffice's cloud could come in handy for situations when data will fall into third-party hands anyway – like when it needs to be reviewed by external counsel.

"We have talked to Mimosa about it, but we haven't done anything yet," he said. "But I could see the advantages – instead of shipping .pst files on DVDs, we could do a query and put the relevant messages on LiveOffice [for review] and then be done."

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