Email archiving - who needs it?

Email archiving - who needs it?

Summary: Is email archiving a big problem for SMEs? I spoke recently to Softek, a UK-based disti billing itself as 'highly technical value add distributor of IT security, email archiving and storage solutions'.

TOPICS: Networking

Is email archiving a big problem for SMEs? I spoke recently to Softek, a UK-based disti billing itself as 'highly technical value add distributor of IT security, email archiving and storage solutions'. Naturally enough, it has a view and a product to shift -- I wonder if you'll be totally convinced though.

So we talked about the company's new status as a distributor for PineApp email archiving appliances: boxes that suck in your Exchange (or GroupWise et al) email files after a given period, and delete them after the retention period required for legal compliance has passed. The company makes a series of them, ranging from one said to be suitable for 50 users, right up to 1,000 users.

Softek technical director Mike Bienvenu reckons that the main reason for the existence of appliances such as this, which are aimed at SMEs rather than big enterprises, users are looking for storage management rather than ways of staying legal with respect to email retention.

And that's why, he claims, the PineApp boxes are the only ones of their kind that provide stubbing - the ability to provide a stub for emails that have been archived off, which means the email program -- usually (sadly) Exchange -- sees the email as there. A call for a particular email results in it being pulled off the archive server. Apparently the boxes do deduping too.

I asked why an SME wouldn't just buy more storage rather than go for complex and expensive archiving system. It's not as if they're dealing with massive amounts of data flooding in from all over the globe. The argument for the technology is that compliance means that retaining data for a particular period of time -- up to seven year, for example -- makes this simpler to implement, and that technical issues involving Exchange's storage limitations and the retention of duplicate emails becomes expensive. Bienvenu also said that customers ask for archiving and want to ban PSTs off their network.

I'll confess the story sounded reasonable but not entirely convincing, unless the company's business process involves the generation of terabytes of email data.

Is specialised email archiving technology overkill for an SME?

Topic: Networking

Manek Dubash

About Manek Dubash

Editor, journalist, analyst, presenter and blogger.

As well as blogging and writing news & features here on ZDNet, I work as a cloud analyst with STL Partners, and write for a number of other news and feature sites.

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An IT journalist for 25+ years, I worked for Ziff-Davis UK for almost 10 years on PC Magazine, reaching editor-in-chief. Before that, I worked for a number of other business & technology publications and was published in national and international titles.

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  • Email archiving - who needs it?

    I don't know about overkill Mankek - but it suspect that it is a hard sell to convince the more sceptical (or perhaps lazy) SMEs out there who fail to regard compliance issues with the importance they deserve.

    As you say, where exactly are these terabytes for the average SME? Or do we need to be careful here with our use of the term SME though? Isn't it a company with up to 250 employees? That's quite a lot really isn't it?

    Anyway, as I was only just talking about backups with regard to Windows Easy Transfer earlier this week on my blog, this subject certainly caught my eye and I would be keen to hear more from a storage specialist.

    Adrian Bridgwater-3dc6b
  • Email archiving - who needs it?

    Maybe its time for documents in such environments to have sell buy dates/deletion dates flags in them, so they could flag up at the appropriate time or self delete.
  • Email archiving - who needs it?

    That implies intelligent use by users of the tools they already have, such as auto-purge. The problem is that users never want to throw anything away since disk space is, for them, free, so maybe an auto-purge setting of (say) seven years should become the default when deploying corporate email client apps.
    Manek Dubash
  • Email archiving - who needs it?

    Yeah exactly something of that nature for corporate uses etc.