Four Steps to Migrate Your Business Email Archive: Part 2

In part one of our blog posts on email archiving, we outlined why business email archiving is the right investment for companies of every size. It's a cost-effective way to ensure your enterprise data is properly managed, securely stored and will meet legal and compliance demands. And given the staggering statistic that globally, nearly 2.4 million emails are sent every second, which equates to 205 billion emails per day and 74 trillion every year, having a solid archiving strategy in place is a must have versus a nice to have for any business.

This week, we want to focus on the steps you should take to make this happen. If you follow a defined process and spend time up front defining your retention policy, archiving won't be so difficult.

1.    Analyze your existing infrastructure and usage. Perform an audit to dig into the systems and processes you already use. Depending on your current solutions, the installation and migration process may require different steps. Some companies are using a physical Exchange server while others may have migrated to a cloud-based archive in Office 365, while others still may follow more rudimentary storage solutions.

Of equal importance is evaluating user categorization (think sporadic, frequent or heavy user) and considering the number of users, emails and Exchange accounts and access to attachments. Identifying the level of sophistication needed from your archiving solution will get you closer to making an informed decision on whether you need to move to a third-party archiving system with more advanced capabilities.

2.    Choose the right solution. Whether you're starting from scratch or need something more than the Office 365 archiving technology, take the time to research solutions and make sure they meet the criteria you need and want. Does the provider have a single instancing program? Without single instancing, forwarded emails are copied throughout the system and mail-quota limits are quickly reached. For example, an email with a 2MB attachment forwarded to three colleagues will use five-times as much storage as needed. Alternatively, real single instancing and archiving policies will store the file once--reducing storage demand for emails by 80%.

A solution should have the ability to extend the search capabilities within an attachment--and not all of them do this. Saving archiving objects centrally protects you against unauthorized access and deletion, plus makes searching for archived items easier. What about retention management and disaster recovery? Does it allow you to perform a search on metadata and full text in both emails and attachments?

The DRS Imaging email archive solution, for example, integrates on the server side and archives all emails and attachments to significantly reduce storage costs and improve system stability. It also provides streamlining across file, SharePoint and ERP archiving.

3.    Set your retention policy. Ready to move forward with an archive provider? Make sure you take the time to strategize a new retention policy (e.g. whether emails will be archived based on age, size and/or recipient and whether archives are available to specific users, a certain group or everyone) so staff members know how to handle every situation. Lay out categorization and folder structures to make searching easy. You need to make sure you're complying with federal, state and industry regulations too.

A solid retention policy should allow you to classify emails, whether manually through folders or automatically through a set of rules. You can even consider introducing a company-wide email journal and consolidate requirements into two aspects: secure, long-term archiving and high-performance search and research functions.

4.    Migrate. By establishing your retention policy up-front, you'll mitigate the need to perform a complicated cleanup exercise. Better yet, if you're moving to the cloud with a reputable third-party provider, you'll likely have a quick turnaround without serious service disruptions. Automated systems should reformat files based on your retention policy and keep things secure as you move systems and comply with regulations.

Our DRS Imaging solution will define and configure the target system and migration environments, seamlessly connecting the new email system while running migration tests as well as a small pilot group. That way, adjustments can be made before fully executing a company-wide migration. It won't leak critical business information, central security and backup concepts will be implemented, and storage demand will be drastically reduced.

If you do decide to migrate your email archive with DRS Imaging, you'll receive a resilient and scalable solution - so you don't have to worry when your company grows and expands.