In the current market, there are basically three options for e-mail archiving. While each may have some positive and negative aspects, the key is to align the business objectives (compliance, DR and e-mail continuity) with the right feature set to achieve optimum performance. Let's explore the three basic options for e-mail archiving:
1. Manual systems
Manual systems are generally the least expensive but definitely not the most effective or reliable. Not only does the process require a significant investment of time but it is also fraught with the potential for error and/or failure. Furthermore, manual archiving is not a compliance solution to most industry standards.
2. Resident systems
Resident systems are widely available in the market. While most are effective, they tend to be expensive, require hands-on management by internal IT staff and often lack value-added benefits. For example, if the archiving server is housed in the same physical location as the main data center, this provides virtually no DR protection from fire, flood or other physical calamity. It also provides virtually no e-mail continuity in the event of an outage or equipment failure. Archiving on a remote server most likely requires investment in data storage capacity, adding to the overall cost of archiving.
3. Hosted systems
Hosted or in-the-cloud archival systems provide the most effective, reliable and affordable solution for businesses of all sizes. By automatically archiving sent and received e-mail messages on remote servers that can provide an added layer of DR preparedness and e-mail continuity in the event of an outage, hosted archiving solutions provide the right mix of regulatory compliance, value-added features and service, and affordability. This kind of "set it and forget it" solution delivers reliability and ease of use at a relatively predictable and fixed cost-usually based on the storage capacity required or the number of archived mailboxes.