IT Departments Failing to Take E-mail Archiving Seriously

Over 52 percent of organizations using Microsoft Exchange are not archiving e-mail -- and another 28 percent don't plan to archive, according to a survey by C2C Systems and Osterman Research, a market research firm that helps organizations understand the markets for messaging, directory and related products and services.

The C2C/Osterman survey found that only 19 percent of companies were using an e-mail archiving system with indexing, search and retrieval features. The majority (77 percent) of surveyed companies are backing up e-mail to tape -- a method that many of them regard as archiving.

About 50 percent are keeping these "archive" tapes for only 90 days while 28 percent keep some critical data long term.

"We're finding that even with regulatory requirements for e-mail retention, IT organizations aren't taking a strategic view. Short-term back up doesn't meet the needs for best practice e-mail retention," says Dave Hunt, CEO of C2C. "It seems that IT management may not have the resources or appreciate the need to focus on the issues, despite corporate scandals like Enron and Tyco."

There are three common reasons for archiving:

  • Capacity Management. By keeping business-critical data locally and moving older data to an archive, back-up/restore times are reduced and e-mail performance is improved.
  • Regulatory Compliance. New regulations requiring various industries to store electronic information for the long term are pushing the need to archive.
  • e-Policy. As more business-critical information is sent over e-mail, companies have created e-policies to provide greater security and minimized liability.

Survey respondents state that 46 percent of their users need to have their e-mail archived now, growing to 60 percent in the next 12 months. Although almost 20 percent of survey respondents will start archiving within the next year, 52 percent are not sure if they will archive at all.

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