by March 7, 2006 0 comments



E-mail is increasingly being used as a business
communication tool in most enterprises nowadays. Therefore it’s important for
most organizations to retain all communication carried out by its employees over
email. You wouldn’t have imagined doing this a few years ago, but now it’s
become a necessity. You never know when you’ll need to pull out a piece of
email. Perhaps it’s a deal you signed with an important customer, or an entire
dialog with another on some other issue. Perhaps you need to pull out a few
mails as proof for a legal case. Whatever the case, you can’t afford to loose
your mail, making it a necessity to archive it all. This increased circulation
of emails also puts a lot of stress on the system administrators, who have to
manage the same. That’s where email archiving solutions come in. This new
genre of solutions will keep track of all email in an organization.

Benefits of e-mail archiving
E-mail archiving can significantly reduce the amount of time and effort that
administrators spend to perform operations like backup and recovery. It also
saves the time end users spend managing their emails, e.g. organizing and
recovering accidentally deleted ones. E-mail archiving can especially be
important when a virus breakout occurs and a lot of users in the organization
loose their e-mail. Employee Monitoring is another thing feasible with email
archiving, which can help control the misuse of email. Whether to use this
feature or not is a call that the organization has to take, given that it could
be interpreted as unethical. Many organizations abroad already follow this
practice.With email archiving, there is also reduced burden on e-mail servers,
since it would process the most recent emails, and archive the rest. Further, a
lot of email archiving solutions also provide support for archiving instant
messengers conversations.

              
Vendor Speak

Rajesh Khurana, Seagate

The next big thing that’s driving enterprise storage is hi-capacity. With the advent of newer technologies, the need for more and more storage space is rising. Keeping in view such a demand for high-performance applications such as digital video workstations, nearline storage and PC gaming systems increases, technologists remain focused on increasing the amount of information that can be stored on computer disc drives. Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 states that the data stored by a Corporate will rise manifold in the next 10 years. This rise in amount of data will lead to an increased need of high-capacity drives, which can fulfill the demand for storing large amount of data.

How it works
An e-mail archiving solution intercepts all emails sent to and from the mail
server in an organization before it even reaches the other person and stores it
in a single centralized email archival and analysis system. Before storing the
emails in the database, the software filters it through anti-virus and
anti-Spam, letting only clean mails to be archived. Once stored, the archiving
software provides easy access to archived messages, allowing permitted users to
search and retrieve their own messages, or for managers and administrators to
search across the E-mails of entire organization. The e-mail archive application
protects the integrity and genuineness of the archived mails using methods like
encryption, hash calculations, indexing, auditing etc for the period of time
specified according to the organizations policy.

A lot of organizations use their back-up tapes for
archiving but the problem with that is it is extremely time consuming. An effort
to retrieve a deleted email can take really long hours resulting in loss of
productivity. Another reason is the tape on which backup is taken eventually
will be over written, e.g. when a user gets an email on Tuesday and its backup
has been taken on the daily backup tape, then his mail gets deleted on Wednesday
and couple of weeks later he finds that his email is missing and by time he
requests for restoration, that tape would have some other data.

Types of e-mail archiving
You could have a hosted email archiving, wherein the entire process is
outsourced to a suitable service provider. This system saves storage resource
requirements of the enterprise. One disadvantage of hosted system is the
response time when retrieving or searching messages. Since it is stored in a
remote location, your speed of retrieving the message lies on your communication
links. You also have to ensure that your mails are secure at the hosted
location. Alternately, you could have your own email archiving setup within your
own data center. One major drawback with this is that you’ll need to pay for
the cost of the additional storage capacity, and manpower to manage the whole
setup.

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