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Buying guide for email and document management tools

Email and file/document management is a core element of any compliance strategy. Many software tools are available to help organize, classify, migrate and secure that data so that an organization can meet compliance obligations.

Email and file/document management is a core element of any compliance strategy. Many software tools are available to help organize, classify, migrate and secure that data so that an organization can meet compliance obligations.

Each tool emphasizes some unique attributes of the compliance arena. For example, one tool might be strong in file retention and deletion, one might emphasize search and migration features, one might focus on logging and security, and one might include data reduction features. Many tools can also protect data involved in litigation, or delete data that has aged past its retention period.

When choosing an email or document management tool, you should examine each product's feature set and select a product that fits the needs of your business and its compliance exposures. You've already reviewed the key issues in purchasing a compliance product. This article focuses on purchasing considerations for email and document management tools. You'll also find a series of product specifications that will help you compare products from the leading vendors in this area.

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Visit the Data Storage Management All-In-One Research Guide for background information on provisioning, virtualization, tiered storage, and compliance.


Storage management features are the cornerstone of email and file/document management tools. Pay close attention to the features that your organization relies on most. For example, data classification and migration capabilities will allow the management tool to identify and move data types to less expensive (lower performance) storage over time, reducing the investment in disks and other storage hardware. If the emphasis is on litigation and data risk mitigation, look for features such as retention policy management, secure (documented) deletion and litigation hold.

Search and indexing features are important. Successful litigation can often depend on locating specific messages or files quickly, often in a matter of days or less. Understand the metadata attached to each file, test the search filtering criteria and gauge the tool's search performance as storage volumes scale. Search results and presentation vary by tool, so make sure that results are presented in a manner that is aptly organized for your company.

Security features must be included to restrict access to unauthorized personnel and closely track any access or activities related to each file. These are important compliance and litigation features because they demonstrate that corporate data is secured, and any authorized access can be audited to prevent tampering. In some cases, the management tool can also include (or support the use of) data encryption to prevent secure information from being compromised.

Integration with archiving tools and platforms. Industries such as healthcare are obligated to retain large amounts of information for long periods of time, even though the data may be accessed infrequently. Most management tools do not handle archival storage directly, so the management tool should offer some interoperability with archival software or storage platforms. When relevant data reaches an appropriate age, the management tool can migrate the data to the archive system for long-term storage.

Match the feature set to the needs. Email and document management tools may have radically differnt feature sets. You should identify your management needs first, then select a tool that addresses those needs. Don't allow the vendor or product pricing to drive your requirements. Choosing the wrong tools may leave your organization unable to meet its compliance obligations.

Test the management tool in advance. Don't purchase a management tool based on "box features" or vendor assurances. Experts note that any tool purchase should be made only after tools are tested and evaluated in advance. Take the time to examine any features that you consider critical. If you're positioning for compliance audits or discovery requests, try running simulated audits or discovery requests to see how the tools perform. Inspect results carefully and verify the integrity of any tool's information.

Hardware requirements. Make sure that the server you plan to use meets or exceeds the system requirements for your software. Also examine the use of server virtualization and determine if the software can be operated from a virtual server. This reduces the amount of hardware that would be needed in the data center, driving up server utilization and reducing power demands.

Email and document management product specifications in this chapter are included for these products:


  • Abrevity Inc.; FileData Manager 3.0
  • AXS-One Inc.; AXS-Link for Microsoft Exchange
  • C2C Systems Ltd.; Archive One
  • CA Inc.; Records Manager
  • EMC Corp.; Infoscape
  • Fortivia Inc.; Fortiva Archiving Suite
  • Hewlett-Packard Co.; ILM Information Management software
  • IBM; DB2 Content Manager
  • Jatheon Technologies Inc.; Plug n Comply Product Family -- SMB and Enterprise
  • Mathon Systems Inc.; Integral Product Suite
  • Mimosa Systems, Inc.; NearPoint
  • Njini Inc.: Information Asset Management suite
  • Open Text Corp.; LiveLink ECM Email Management for Microsoft Exchange
  • Orchestria Corp.; Orchestria Intelligent Compliance
  • Symantec Corp.; Enterprise Vault
  • Waterford Technologies; MailMeter Storage Manager
  • Xiotech Corp.; CEMS
  • Zantaz Inc.; Meridio Records Management 5.0

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