4 tips I’ve learned after 100 Enterprise Vault rollouts

data archivingPop quiz for IT: How long does your organization retain emails, even those in the Deleted folder? How long are business invoices archived, and how are they organized while in storage?

Many organizations are taking a proactive approach in answering these questions, and writing specific retention guidelines as data archiving becomes a business priority. These new policies are often established before new server rollouts or migrations, with IT now in charge of archiving emails, applications, and full data portfolios. The market is filled with solutions that feature fast response times, customized installations, and accurate search and retention capabilities.

But implementing data archiving tools and retention policies is a challenge for most organizations. I’ve partnered with many of them to accelerate the process, and one solution I’ve worked with more than 100 times, at companies large and small, is Enterprise Vault. This experience has taught me a lot about data archiving. Here’s what I’ve learned, boiled down to four nuggets of advice for any organization. Continue Reading…

Tags: , , ,

IT time wasters: Why you should take a second look at your email archiving

clock in trashNo matter how hard you try, it’s seemingly impossible to solve the problem of an overloaded inbox. Organizing the endless onslaught of emails is a daunting task, and just isn’t a high priority for most users.

IT, of course, sees it all a little differently. It’s not just a matter of storage and security, but compliance as well. If your company is audited, or your lawyers need specific emails because of a pending legal case, how will they access those important documents?

For some organizations, emails can only be retrieved with a great deal of effort and no small amount of detective work among stacks of tape backups. Others stick to external hard drives and other manual backup practices, carrying out archiving so ineffectively that it could take hours — maybe even days — to access the emails needed.

How can organizations take a smart and effective approach to email archiving? How can they pull up important old emails no problem while minimizing the time they spend backing up everyone’s correspondence? By reviewing your backup procedures and enacting a few new practices, you can put this classic IT time waster to bed once and for all. Continue Reading…

Tags: , , ,

The problems with PST files

Most companies cannot give users unlimited email storage on their Exchange server (although many users will attempt to test this reality). To control the amount of data begin stored, administrators implement quotas on mailboxes. When users reach their quota, they have two options: They can delete some email (yeah, right), or move it off the Exchange server.

Outlook uses PST files to store email outside of an Exchange system. The program prompts users to auto-archive old email to PST files by default, but users can also manually create them. While this sounds like a simple fix, most IT support will tell you that PST files are a pain in the neck to manage and in some cases create more problems than they solve.

To make matters worse, desktops and laptops are not always protected by a backup process. For this reason, users are taught to put documents and files they want backed up in their “home” folder on a network file server, which, in theory, is backed up regularly. As a result, users often put their PST files in their home folder and open them in Outlook to use.

Server administrators (or backup administrators) are responsible for backing up these file servers. There are two types of backups: full backups, during which all files are backed up, and incremental backups for files that have changed since the last full backup. Continue Reading…

Tags: , , , ,

Email archiving: Solving the problem of digital data hoarders

Email-archivingWe all know how important email is to business. But I sometimes wonder if we’re becoming too obsessed with our email, to the point where we can’t let go of a single message for fear of losing a file or piece of correspondence. Unfortunately, all that worrying is having a negative effect on business — forcing organizations to invest in unnecessary amounts of storage and backup space.

Consider this real-world scenario. In my past life as an Exchange administrator, I found that my organization’s Exchange server was running low on disk space. After running some reports, I made a surprising discovery: 65 percent of all the email in our system was in the deleted items folders of user mailboxes! In addition, most of that email was more than a year old.

Excited that I was able to solve a problem without needing funding to purchase new storage for our Exchange server, I shared the good news with my boss. I told him we didn’t need to spend the $6,000 on new storage. I could simply create a policy to purge the email in the deleted items folder that was more than a year old. With that, I sat back in anticipation of the kudos that was certainly on the way.

Much to my surprise, he answered, “What if people need that email later on? I go back and get stuff out of the deleted items folder all the time.” So the decision was made to keep the old email and add new storage to the Exchange server.

However, this eventually led to another problem: The size of our email data had grown so large that it was taking too long to finish our daily backups. We couldn’t get them done in the off-hours. But the problems didn’t end there; our Exchange admins were facing a number of issues: Continue Reading…

Tags: , , ,