Top Four Reasons for Email Archiving

By | August 1, 2006

Email generated by the corporate world continues to grow dramatically and storage-related costs of email are an escalating concern for IT executives. In fact, it has been predicted that this year 84 billion emails will be sent daily worldwide, requiring nearly 4 billion MB of server storage.

Within the corporate consciousness, storage of email has been the main driver for email archiving over the past few years. It alone remains a prime reason for electronic information retention. But the business case for email archiving does not stop there. As the lifeblood of the organisation, information flows through all aspects of the entity, and poor retention of it affects the business’ overall health. From cost savings to litigation readiness, there are many compelling business reasons to implement an email archiving system.

Cost savings

Backing up email data takes a serious bite out of most corporations’ IT budgets. In an attempt to constrain these spiralling costs, many companies put limits on the size of user’s mailboxes, driving the proliferation of local archives on hard drives around the network. These are notoriously problematic, resulting in lost information, reduced user productivity and an excessive burden on the IT help desk. All of these are quantifiable costs of the enormous growth of corporate email.

Email archival offers companies a solution to these challenges with dramatic and immediate cost savings. A state-of-the-art email archival solution will automatically apply corporate policies to offload messages from the email servers based on any combination of parameters such as age, size, status, sender and location. These messages are moved into a scalable, searchable archive that is highly optimised for the storage of email. The archive process is essentially transparent to the users, who can still access and work with their email through shortcuts or “stubs” inserted into their mailboxes in place of the archived messages.

Optimisation is the key to cost savings. By compressing message and attachments and deploying “Single Instance Storage”, which ensures that only one copy of each message is saved (along with pointers for each mailbox in which it was found), major savings are found. One customer in northeast England, Northumberland County Council, who uses the ZANTAZ Enterprise Archiving Solution, tells the story of one personal archive file that was 232 megabytes prior to archiving—through compression in the archiving process it was reduced to 14 megabytes.

Some email archive solutions take it one step further with a feature called “attachment splitting,” saving only a single instance of each attachment regardless of the number of different messages that may have contained it. These optimisations substantially improve the efficiency of email storage compared to email servers, and their benefit is even greater when applied to personal archives. In fact, EDF Energy, which uses ZANTAZ EAS to archive, has recovered three terabytes in network storage space and immediately saved Ј100,000 in disk space expansion.

Compliance with Regulations

In the past year, many organisations have seen email archiving as a good solution to address compliance with growing regulations in the UK. This is especially true in the public sector where the Freedom of Information Act came into effect last January. Requiring public entities to ensure retention of public data and then search and retrieve requested information quickly, the Act forced many local councils, police constabularies and national agencies to scrutinise their information retention policies.

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