Email is a vital part of business communication, and as a result a vital component in eDiscovery and compliance requests. The best way to effectively manage your email history is to use an email archive system. However some businesses don’t feel that a dedicated email archive system is a requirement.
Let’s look at the alternatives, if you don’t use a dedicated system.
The traditional method for retaining important business data is tape backup. Tapes are used because they provide a large amount of storage in a relatively small physical unit. You can use dedicated backup tapes to retain your email; they offer a fairly low cost solution for retaining that much data.
There are downsides though. In order to find a document, or email, on a tape; you need to run it. That means you have to start the tape and go through the data bit by bit until you find the required document. At best that’s time consuming, at worst it’s a waste of time that could be spent elsewhere. Especially when a dedicated email archive system can be keyword searched in seconds.
A lot of companies have moved on from tape to online cloud backup. This is a better solution for a number of reasons. It doesn’t require physical storage and allows for greater capacity. It is also far easier to find your data.
Cloud backup should really be combined with dedicated email archive software though. If not, the data is unlikely to be properly categorized and therefore more difficult to sort. Every expense counts in business and cloud backup alone would still require the use of an email expert to complete eDiscovery and compliance requests in a timely manner.
Of course you might not rely on a backup system to retain your email. You might just rely on your in-house storage and the archiving facilities on your email client. This tactic really depends on your email client and the sophistication of its compliance and eDiscovery functions. It also relies on the security and integrity of your in house storage. If you lose data without a backup, it’s lost forever.
If your email client does have good archive functions, there’s no guarantee it will work as a long-term solution. It still relies on your in house storage, which is limited to what you can afford to buy. Most companies are forced to limit client mailboxes in order to save on space. In that situation, there’s always the chance that a vital email could be deleted to save space. A dedicated email archive system allows you to archive emails without limiting mailbox sizes.
There are alternatives to a dedicated email archive system. Your company can definitely manage without one. However, the fact that you can doesn’t mean you should.