• United States

Archiving is a gray area

Jun 08, 20042 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMessaging Apps

* No consensus on best approach to archiving

Most aspects of enterprise e-mail are relatively clear-cut: IT managers want to reduce the cost of providing e-mail services, they want to eliminate viruses and worms, they want to eliminate as much spam as possible while generating as few false positives as they can, and they want their e-mail systems to be up and running virtually 100% of the time.

By contrast, e-mail archiving is one of those gray areas for which there is currently little consensus.

In a recent survey, we asked organizations of various sizes about their views on whether they should archive e-mail. Nearly one-third of respondents told us that preserving all e-mail system content for long periods is the least risky business strategy, since they feel it is better to know what’s in the message store, even if it’s incriminating, than to be surprised during a regulatory audit or legal discovery.

About 20% of organizations take the opposite view. They believe that deleting all e-mail on a regular basis is the least risky business strategy, since it reduces the chance that damaging evidence will be found in the e-mail system at some point in the future. However, more than 40% of organizations really aren’t sure which is the best approach to take, and the remaining group has different views on the best business strategy with regard to e-mail preservation.

As an e-mail manager, what do you do? Keeping all e-mail does provide a number of benefits, including reducing the chance that embarrassing communications will pop up unexpectedly at some point, and it allows users to mine data from the message store. Eliminating all e-mail on a regular basis also makes sense, since it reduces the chance that incriminating evidence can be found, although it does not eliminate this risk entirely. Not knowing what to do certainly isn’t a strategy, since sooner or later you’ll have to come down on one side of the fence or the other.

I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts on the strategy that makes sense for your organization – please drop me a line at