For many businesses, particularly those with lean IT resources, the concept of implementing an e-mail archiving program can seem a bit daunting. Given the sheer volume of e-mail data and the massive storage required to handle it all-not to mention the management of the varied industry-specific retention periods-the very thought of archiving each and every sent and received e-mail message can be overwhelming. Conversely, the potential risk of not complying with archiving mandates is huge.
For businesses and industries where high-level data security is required, this factor adds another layer to the perceived complexity of e-mail archiving. And then, of course, there is the issue of physical security of the archival data server itself, which must be protected from breach and failure as well as harm from physical hazards such as electrical surge or weather-related threats.
When financial resources are tight, some businesses may rely on manual archiving systems, believing that the full-featured automated system they require may be out of their budgetary reach. The problem with manual archiving (besides the fact that it can be an incredibly time-consuming process), is that the risk of human error makes it a rather unreliable practice. What happens if the person in charge is out sick and the data dump is not performed? What if a critical file or folder is missed? These potential failures make manual archiving a decidedly noncompliant solution where most regulatory agencies are concerned. To meet the standard, archiving must be ongoing, automatic and virtually foolproof.
Finally, in order for e-mail archiving to be truly effective, the retrieval of data must be simple and easy. If restoring archived e-mail messages is a cumbersome and tedious process, this can outweigh the positive benefits of discovery cost savings, the ease and convenience of DR and the continuity aspect of an archiving system.