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August 10, 2009

Benefits of E-mail Archiving

By Jessica Kostek, TMCnet Channel Editor


Recent research has shown that even though e-mail archiving was once thought of as being used only by public companies or financial services firms, proper e-mail archiving practices can benefit businesses of all sizes and industries.
 
More and more businesses are now using archiving for storage management, to monitor employee communications and for disaster recovery. The question now is, “Can your business afford to be without an archiving system?”
 
According to Burlington, Mass.-based 123Together.com (News - Alert), there are many benefits and uses for e-mail archiving, such as archiving for employee communication monitoring.
 
Probably not a favorite use among employees, monitoring workers’ communication is usually used in legal proceedings which request e-mail evidence in association with an employees’ violation of corporate e-mail policies and misuse of business e-mail.
 
With e-mail archiving, alerts can be set up to notify your corporate HR department or compliance manager each time an e-mail with a suspicious “keyword” is sent. You can flag keywords such as “easy money,” “boss,” “medication,” “patient record,” “meds,” “SSN,” “ID number,” “client file,” “job,” “career” and “resume.” These words can be located in the subject, body or attachments of e-mails enabling action to be taken immediately after a violation occurs.
 
Current Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that went into effect in December 2006 require businesses involved in federal court cases to identify, preserve and collect electronically stored information. Most small and medium-sized businesses do not have a dedicated legal department. As a result, the responsibility to search for and retrieve the necessary data falls on the company’s IT staff, said 123Together.com officials. Because of this, it’s important for businesses of all sizes to enhance their e-mail retention strategies to mitigate risks by putting into place an e-mail archiving system.
 
Of course, e-mail archiving isn’t solely used to monitor employee activity or in the legal proceedings. Whether they admit it or not, more and more employees are using their mailboxes as filing cabinets for data storage, taking up space on the e-mail server and decreasing productivity as those employees attempt to store, sort and search through  larger and larger amounts of data.
 
Archiving eliminates the need to delete past messages, saves employees’ time and helps free up space on the e-mail server. 123Together.com can take care of any company’s e-mail storage needs, securing their data in a state-of-the-art, off-site data center which can be easily accessed by their users from any Internet-enabled computer using any Web browser.
 
Another reason for companies to archive their e-mail is to preserve data if their system should fail. According to 123Together.com officials, “Many small and medium businesses believe that backing up their data to an external storage device will be sufficient in returning them to normal business operations after a disaster.”
 
You can recover accidentally deleted or destroyed records which have been backed up; however, they do not meet the guidelines of archived data and not all data may be retrieved. For example, backed up data are not indexed and is, therefore, very time consuming and expensive to restore. In addition, the integrity of backed up data is not certain as older backup tapes may be unreadable due to data corruption or the age of the tapes. It is also important to remember that a traditional backup is a “snapshot” of the data as it is at that specific time. Data generated or deleted between backups will not be captured. 
 
To find out more on how you can incorporate e-mail archiving in your business, check out 123Together.com’s Web site or learn more on their E-mail Archiving channel here on TMCnet.
 

Don’t forget to check out TMCnet’s White Paper Library, which provides a selection of in-depth information on relevant topics affecting the IP Communications industry. The library offers white papers, case studies and other documents which are free to registered users.

 
 
 

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Jessica Kostek is a channel editor for TMCnet, covering VoIP, CRM, call center and wireless technologies. To read more of Jessica’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jessica Kostek




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