IT managers must account for many demands on their time and resources. Storage is always an issue and having to estimate the growth needs of the company and all the various departments can be a time-consuming and sometimes thankless job.
Estimating email storage needs can be started by making assumptions about the average size in bytes that attachments will require, the hours of day that the email servers will be the busiest and the number of users per email server. Those three variables multiplied together are a good starting point in estimating how much storage to allocate for email servers.
And the same computations can also be used when estimating how much storage to allocate for archiving purposes.
Archiving email messages can save an IT data center in many ways. Some of the reasons for archiving email messages include:
- Freeing up storage on email servers. Email clients and servers provide a valuable function in any corporation and employees have come to rely on them for not just sending and receiving email messages accompanied with large attachments but also now for collaboration with co-workers. Most email applications now have integrated address books, calendar functions, “to do” lists and some have also included instant messaging as part of their email package. But with all of these newly added capabilities there has also been a corresponding growth in the storage needs of these more robust applications. IT departments can benefit by reducing their storage needs through the use of archival media.
- Compliance regulations. Corporations must comply with many regulations within their industries as well as many governmental regulations such as the Sarbanes Oxley Act (SOX) of 2002. When companies find themselves having to provide information to various governmental agencies then they have to be able to rely on systems, policies and their IT departments to be able to retrieve the necessary data such as email messages in a timely manner. So IT departments have to stay current and be a part of all corporate discussions involving regulations and industry standards related to communications particularly related to email communications. In addition to SOX there are other government regulations to be made aware of such as: GLBA, SEC, FINRA, HIPAA, BASEL II, FOI, etc
- Electronic discovery. As of December 1, 2006, Federal amendments went into effect which mandated that companies must be prepared to locate, retrieve, respond to data requests and be able to filter out data not necessary for a litigation action. Such data includes email messages, attachments and calendar entries. These amendments are known as the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and apply to any organization that can be subject to litigation.
- Disaster recovery. An added benefit of having email messages that are archived is that messages can be retrieved in the event that your primary server goes down and backups are not current. If your archival systems have been set up to replicate data continuously from the primary mail server then your loss of email messages can be almost eliminated.
- Improved email management. An automated email archival system can improve the management of emails through the use of rules and policies that can be customized for any organization. The time it takes to store, search and retrieve email messages can be greatly improved when performed automatically as opposed to a manual process. Documents which are methodically saved and stored can expeditiously be retrieved and help to avoid potential lawsuits when time constraints are critical particularly in litigious matters.
- Increased employee productivity. Most employees spend a lot of time managing their email folders and moving data from folders to local storage. All this time managing their email can and would be better spent working on company projects.
- Reporting and monitoring of email. HR departments cannot enforce the corporate policies without knowing that all communications that occur in an organization are within the proper guidelines as mandated by company policy. Searches can be conducted that look for suspicious patterns within company emails which can be exposed through pattern recognition software and various monitoring tools that are offered as additional services by archival management systems.
An email archival system can help many businesses with their management and storage of all email messages both incoming and outgoing. Storage space savings, increased productivity, regulatory compliance, satisfaction of discovery mandates and guaranteed retrieval are all benefits of a well maintained and administered email archival system.