Important Features to Consider

By Michael H. Bartlett  |  Posted 2009-02-16 Print this article Print

Important features to consider

The decision to go for e-mail archiving will be based on the size of the company, storage requirements and legal obligations. In small and midsize businesses, e-mail archiving is mostly a productivity tool and a means of moving old e-mails from their overloaded mail servers to a central archive that can store a huge amount of data. This reduces dependency on PST files and allows administrators and users to search for and retrieve e-mails at will.

For larger enterprises, these same reasons also apply, but legal and compliance issues will drive the case for archiving. The ability to access and retrieve e-mails within minutes without the need to trawl through massive and complex backups is also important.

There are a number of features that businesses need to look out for in an e-mail archiving solution. First, the solution must have a flexible search engine that gives administrators and employees the ability to search for specific e-mail or conversation threads. The solution also needs to have an adjustable retention policy to allow the business to control how, and for how long, e-mail messages are retained.

Another important consideration is that the database storing the archived e-mail cannot be tampered with. To present e-mails as evidence in a court of law, the company has to prove the integrity of those e-mails. Finally, you need a software solution that is easy to install and is not overly complex. If a business is to allow its employees to search for old and deleted e-mails, the process should be simple enough even to those with limited knowledge.

What should be stored?

An important question! Simply put, there are two options: keep everything or delete everything. Keeping everything is the best option because e-mail is a two-way communication process. Deleting an e-mail does not erase all traces of that communication because at least one recipient would also have a copy. Keeping a copy of every e-mail will ensure that the company's e-mail correspondence will not be used against them. Companies need to define a retention policy based on the importance of the e-mail being archived. The CEO's e-mail, for example, should be retained for longer periods than that of an office clerk.

One big advantage of archiving e-mail is that it reduces the size of users' mailboxes and also the number of requests for more storage. IT administrators can impose 30-to-90-day storage limits, but they should also explain that no e-mail will be lost; it is safely archived and accessible at any time.

Michael H. Bartlett is Director of IT at Quantum Marine Engineering of Florida, Inc. Michael has been in the marine industry in Fort Lauderdale since 1980. He has a background in mechanical, electrical and technical services on large yachts. Michael owns a consulting company,, LLC, that specializes in helping startups develop a network and online strategy. In addition, he has been with Quantum Marine Engineering of Florida since 1998. Prior to joining Quantum, Michael managed a full-service yacht repair yard in Fort Lauderdale. He can be reached at

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