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Keeping E-mails, Getting Organised

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Emails are beyond just a daily need of office communication. They are also required to be maintained and accessed anytime, anywhere according to varied business needs. This demands proper and systematic archiving  of e-mails, writes Faiz Askari, Editor- Technology, Small Enterprise India.com

Archiving, maintaining records, arranging official communication etc are some resource hungry exercises from which no business can escape.
 
Mostly, smaller businesses face almost the same issues in maintaining or archiving, as larger enterprises, but the difference is smaller businesses run short in resources part. Smaller businesses look at archiving as a bigger pain area because they can’t afford to spend much time on issues like company policies, capacity planning, compliance, litigation requirements and user demands. Usually, smaller businesses don’t keep a thorough departmental hierarchy which can easily take care of all the support related tasks. And ultimately, these issues are often tackled by IT administrators that too in no time.

However, experts in this area have found that the SMBs are eagerly looking at how to unburden the email archiving process. The resources to manage everything involved in an email system can be a big strain on growing and resource hungry organisations like SMBs.

A number of businesses, be it small or big are considering and adopting some type of hosting services and dumping their in-house solutions. However, upcoming, release of Exchange 2010 will force many organisations to face upgrading the on-premise equipment or switching to a hosted service. Experts often believe that the fourth-quarter release of Exchange 2010 will going to be a turning point for hosted email services and email archiving.

The adoption and success of such solution can easily be estimated by the fact that growing organisations are seamlessly attracted towards the organising their office communications.
 
There are many reasons for such inclination. The biggest reason is the fact that Smaller businesses are growing businesses. Their data is growing and need to organize them is also increasing. However following are the pointers which could easily be understood as drivers of Email arching solution among Indian SMBs.

• Compliance
• Business Growth
• Need to consolidate, structure and organise the data
• Better Corporate governance
• Easy Access of information


Why Compliance?

In many countries, certain computing standards have been introduced. These standards are about many aspects regarding technology in business. For example, in many developing countries a company must have to maintain their email archives of last six years, in some case this time period is stretched even further.

Why Better Governance?
 
While maintaining records of official emails, it becomes easy for the top management to access them as and when required. This comes as a boon to many entrepreneurs when they need any critical information quickly in front of their customers. This could impress the customer as well influence his or her perspective towards the entrepreneur or his organisation.
 
Data Back up Vs Archiving

Data backup and archiving are similar in nature. These technologies are about saving the business critical data and keeping them for a stipulated period of time. But while they are similar in nature, their processes and lifespan make them unique from each other. Backing up the data typically means that you are saving the data for shorter term and data retention is possible only in the case, when original is lost or damaged beyond use. Backups involve sequential processes involving daily, weekly, and monthly requirements.

An archive is a means to save a record long-term, mainly for reference purpose. Archives can be thought of as out-of-sequence copies. Archives are actually duplicate version of the data that are not associated with other copies, and usually have longer life spans to meet company or government policy.

Hosted E mail Archiving Products

SMBs are slowly warming to the idea of a hosted Exchange service. However, it will take some more time for SMBs to fully accept having an on demand email or archiving solution.

Moreover issues like, disaster recovery (DR) are also convincing SMBs that offsite data services can be beneficial and more appropriate. SMBs may start using third-parties for disaster recovery help and eventually graduate to hosted Exchange and archiving services. Another positive development in this direction is the growth of localised service providers. Business partners of companies like Microsoft, are well trained and equipped enough to deliver the on demand solutions. The presence of such localised expertise driven solution providers is also a big advantage for smaller business to avail these offerings.

Google, however, also offers hosted email services for Exchange and its own Gmail service. The Google Apps Premier Edition with 25 GB of storage for each mailbox, group calendaring, Google Docs and Google Video is $50 per user per year and an additional $13 per user for one year of archiving or $33 per user for 10 years of archiving.

Hybrid  Email Archiving

When mix of technologies is utilised in archiving the emails, the overall solution is termed as hybrid. Hybrid email archiving approaches includes legacy and new technology. With hybrid archiving, companies can keep their Exchange or other email system on-premise and archives its messages with service provider. This lets the customer companies offload their infrastructure expenses on storage.

A good email archiving product should offer similar management features as any exchange server. For small businesses it is advisable that they should work in the software as a service environment and have the equivalent functionality of something that they could previously only do on premise. 

There are options available to SMBs to start and run an email archiving system. For those who are lucky to have dedicated IT staff, on-premise solutions offer granular policy controls and fixed costs. Those SMBs with less IT resources can choose between hosted and hybrid solutions to match their comfort level with having data offsite.

 

Last Updated ( Monday, 05 July 2010 16:11 )  

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