Tips for e-mail management and archiving, part 2

By Ann Silverthorn

Brian Babineau, an analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) research and consulting firm, sees two reasons why companies archive their e-mail. The first is because they have to, due to compliance and legal mandates. Babineau estimates that of the electronic-discovery requests over the past 12 months, 77% of them involved e-mail.

The second reason companies archive is because they want to realize the resource optimization benefits that result from e-mail archiving.

One of the tools available for companies that decide to archive their e-mail is classification. Companies may want to classify the e-mails for archiving by date, size, sender, receiver, subject line, content, project, etc. Orchestria’s Smart Tagging feature, for example, categorizes messages and sets retention periods before they enter the permanent archive, allowing for automated search and retrieval of relevant items.

T.M. Ravi, CEO at Mimosa Systems, whose NearPoint archiving software captures every e-mail as it’s sent or received, outlines three methods of e-mail classification:

Lexicon-based: Certain industries define a lexicon on 20 or 30 words. For instance, at Merck, there may be a hit on Vioxx and that e-mail should be processed with specific rules for its retention.

Tagging: This is common for content that is not indexable, but it is a manual process, and to err on the side of conservative it often results in more e-mails being retained than is necessary.

Artificial intelligence: This type of classification attempts to distinguish, say, invitations to lunch from more-important business records. One problem with this method is that it sometimes produces false negatives.

An archiving application that classifies and indexes e-mails will make searching and e-discovery easier. ESG’s Babineau says that attribute indexing limits a search to sender, receiver, and subject, while full context allows searches for key words, text-string matching, and exclusion.

Well-organized e-mail archives can result in lower legal fees when a company needs to produce evidence for a legal case. E-mail archiving software that can search for the targeted e-mails and automatically put them on legal hold allows companies to provide a smaller set of results that the attorneys have to manually examine, resulting in fewer billable hours for the attorneys.

For those companies that want to optimize their IT resources, e-mail archiving can give the e-mail server some breathing room, moving e-mails to commodity hardware, or if as in the case of regulated industries, to write-once, read-many (WORM) devices such as EMC’s Centera or Network Appliance’s SnapLock.

In March 2006, struggling with e-mails that were growing exponentially due to a “save-everything” policy, Kirton & McConkie, a Salt Lake City law firm, deployed Mimosa’s NearPoint e-mail archiving solution. The NearPoint software cost the firm (which employs 70 lawyers and a support staff) about $15,000. The purchase also included NearPoint Application Shadowing for continuous data protection (CDP) and NearPoint eDiscovery Option for legal discovery.

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The law firm considers all of its e-mail records as business communications. Its staff regularly sends and receives e-mails with attachments as large as 3GB. They were backing up the Exchange server to tape, but retrieving an e-mail from the tape cassettes could take up to three days.

“Mimosa strips the attachments off and stores them in the archive,” says Joel Woodall, network administrator for Kirton & McConkie. “I was able to install the software myself in around four hours.”

The e-mail archiving solution allowed the firm to shrink its Exchange database from 120GB to just 20GB, significantly improving performance and reliability. The archive is being stored on a new 4TB HP ProLiant Storage Server, which currently contains 0.5TB of e-mails. Woodall anticipates that it won’t be long before he’ll be buying more capacity for the Storage Server. He backs up the archive to a Spectra Logic tape library.

Some e-mail archiving software products capture e-mail in transit or can capture e-mail from laptops, desktops, and file servers and pull them into the archive (e.g., Symantec’s Enterprise Vault, which captures e-mail, files, and SharePoint data. Enterprise Vault also integrates with third parties for database archiving and content filtering and classification.)

If you’re not convinced that you should archive your e-mails, there are some things you can do to reduce your risks should you decide on a purging policy.

“You have to put together the criteria for preserving information and have it approved by your company’s decision-makers,” says Francis Lambert, senior compliance officer at Zantaz. “Scan the e-mails for those that have to do with the current suits against you. Mark the others for deletion. Then you have an audit trail that shows you had a routine, good-faith policy.”

Zantaz offers Exchange-focused Enterprise Archive Solution (EAS), which classifies and archives e-mails, as well as Digital Safe for compliance environments.

There are plenty of e-mail archiving vendors to choose from (see vendor listing, left).

The Gartner IT consulting firm has developed a “Magic Quadrant” that positions e-mail active archiving vendors. E-mail active archiving is defined as a product that “provides a searchable archive of all e-mail messages for a defined period of time.”

Representative vendors in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant include Symantec (the market leader), AXS-One, CA, C2C, EMC, FileNet, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Messaging Architects, Mimosa Systems, Open Text, Quest Software, Waterford Technologies, Zantaz, and ZipLip.

Note: Part 1 in this series appeared in the January 2007 issue, p. 1.

A sampling of e-mail management/archiving vendors

  • AXS-One - Compliance Platform (archiving, supervision, surveillance
  • Attenex - Attenex Patterns (e-discovery)
  • Avalere - Information Assurance Manager (attachment supervision)
  • C2C - Archive One, BrightStor (management, archiving, e-discovery)
  • CA - Message Manager (from iLumin acquisition, archiving, e-discovery, monitoring)
  • CommVault - QiNetix (archiving, indexing, e-discovery)

    EMC - EmailXtender (monitoring, archiving, e-discovery
  • EVault - Pro-mail (management, archiving)
  • FileNet - Email Manager (management, archiving, e-discovery)
  • Fortiva - Fortiva Suite (management, archiving, e-discovery)
  • GMB - GEM (management, e-discovery)
  • GFI - MailArchiver (management, archiving)
  • HDS - Message Archive for Compliance (archiving, e-discovery)
  • Hewlett-Packard - RIM for Messaging (archiving)
  • Hyland Software - E-mail Archive (archiving, e-discovery)
  • IBM - CommonStore E-Mail Archiving Solution, DB2 Content Manager for E-mail Archive
  • Index Engines - Exchange Email Indexing Appliance (indexing)
  • Lucid8 - GOexchange and DigiVault (management, archiving, e-discovery)
  • Messaging Architects - GWArchive (GroupWise managing, archiving, e-discovery)
  • MessageOne - E-mail Management System (EMS) - (management, archiving, e-discovery)
  • Mimosa Systems - NearPoint (management, archiving, e-discovery)
  • Mirapoint - MessageServer (management), RazorGate (classification) ComplianceVault (archiving)
  • Nexsan Systems - Assureon (archiving system)
  • NorthSeas - Guard E/N (e-mail archiving appliance)
  • Open Text - LiveLink ECM (management, archiving, e-discovery)
  • Orchestria - (message classification, legal hold)
  • Permabit - Permeon Compliance Store (archiving, e-discovery)
  • PowerFile - Active Archive Appliance (A3), Permanent Storage Appliance
  • Privacy Networks - E-mail Integrity Suite (EIS) (archiving, security)
  • Quest - Archive Manager (capture, index, archive)
  • Sherpa Software - Mail Attender, Archive Attender, Discovery Attender
  • Solix - ARCHIVEjinni (management, archiving, e-discovery)
  • Symantec - Enterprise Vault (archiving)
  • Waterford Technologies - MailMeter (management, archiving, e-discovery)
  • Zantaz - EAS (management, e-discovery), Digital Safe (archiving)
  • ZipLip - Unified Email Archival Suite (management, archiving, e-discovery)

This article was originally published on February 01, 2007