ARMing Your E-mail with Archiving
Most companies have learned the wisdom of backing up their e-mail, sometimes the hard way. Now, faced with growing regulatory pressures, especially with the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and shrinking message stores, some administrators are moving on to 'arming' their messaging systems with software in the emerging category of ARM (archiving and records management).
Most companies have learned the wisdom of backing up their e-mail, sometimes the hard way. Now, faced with growing regulatory pressures and shrinking message stores, some administrators are moving on to "arming" their messaging systems with software in the emerging category of ARM (archiving and records management).
Companies in already regulated industries such as financial services, government, telecom, and healthcare have been the earliest adopters of message archiving. With the recent passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, however, regulatory requirements for e-mail and other records are broadening their reach into all publicly traded companies, contends IXOS Software President and CEO, Matthew Suffoletto.
"It isn't really clear yet, under Sarbanes-Oxley, which documents need to be preserved. But the new law has certainly ratcheted up the heat in corporate boardrooms," according to Suffoletto, whose company is one of the players in the ARM category. Other vendors in the message archiving market include Veritas Software, Educom, eManage, KVS, Assentor, Tumbleweed, and Zantaz.
Meanwhile, it's quite clear that in court decisions involving "legal discovery," many different companies are already getting hit by sanctions for failing to retain data.
ARM products help to solve these regulatory/legal issues by letting systems administrators manage messages and other records across the entire lifecycle, "from creation to destruction," maintains Gailene Nelson, a consulting analyst at Ferris Research.
ARM Benefits Include Reduced Backup Time and Increased Storage Space
Proponents also point to additional benefits ranging from reduced backup time and increased storage space to improved end user productivity. The USAF AMC, for example, turned to IXOS eCONserver for Microsoft Exchange as a way of freeing up more e-mail storage for its 65,000 end users.
According to Lt. Col. Dean Mallory, the AMC managed to reduce its MS Exchange store requirements by 65 percent, saving 450 gigabytes of storage. At the same time, the unit consolidated its Exchange servers from more than 90 servers housed at 12 distributed sites to 16 servers located at a single site. Backup time was reduced from almost a full day to just a few hours.
On the desktop productivity side, many ARM products allow for integrated management of e-mail, CRM, and help desk applications for faster retrieval of information through consolidated searches, according to Nelson.
Among ARM tools, lifecycle management extends from receipt or creation of the record through maintenance, use, and disposition. "Once the record exists, it can be classified, routed or retained, depending on how the content is analyzed and interpreted. Disposition actions are taken when the record is no longer needed for current business. Administrative, legislative or regulatory conditions or requirements determine when the record has reached this state. The record can be transferred, archived, or permanently destroyed," Nelson elaborated in a recent report.