Sidebar: Regulations, volume and capacity add archiving pressure

Ken Winston, director of network technologies at Thirteen/WNET, hates spam, not just because it takes up end-user work time but also because it's devouring his e-mail storage capacity.

"It just fills up our servers. We were just being hammered on disk space," Winston says.

IT systems administrators are constantly pressured by government regulations, litigation and end users to expand the capabilities and capacity of their e-mail archiving systems.

Winston says his users place enormous demand on e-mail servers with .pst files, noting that Microsoft Exchange servers allow only 2GB of those personal files.

WNET, the Public Broadcasting Service's New York television affiliate, has 1.5 million viewers and generates about 22,000 e-mails a day.

Winston spent about $50,000 on an e-mail archiving software suite from KVS Inc. in Arlington, Texas. KVS's Enterprise Vault offers document and e-mail archiving management for Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint Portal Server.

For other companies, litigation or regulatory requirements such as Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act or the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission's Rule 17A-4 are the driving factors behind increased spending on e-mail retention.

David Smith, an analyst at Gartner Inc., points out that while e-mail can be an asset, it can also be a liability if managed improperly.

For example, in a December 2002 lawsuit alleging breach of contract, Murphy Oil USA Inc. sought to compel Fluor Daniel Inc. to produce relevant e-mail communications that were archived on backup tapes.

Although Fluor Daniel's e-mail retention policy was to delete e-mail after 45 days, it had neglected to do so and had 93 tapes covering the 14-month period at issue, according to case records. Each tape had recorded about 25,000 e-mails. Fluor Daniel said it would take six months and cost $6.2 million to restore the tapes, convert the e-mails to TIFF images and print them. Even so, the court ordered the company to pay to have the tapes restored.

Smith cautions that CIOs should look at business processes before they look to technology to address the issue.

"Get together with the human resources and legal departments and let them define what the requirements are -- how long to retain, when it should be deleted and how valuable certain information is," Smith says.

Jay Cohen, corporate compliance officer at The Mony Group Inc., says his company's decision in October to install an EMC Centera array and AXS-One Email and Instant Messaging Management Solution software suite was based on SEC and National Association of Security Dealers regulatory requirements.

The New York-based insurance and financial services company, which has about $55 billion in managed assets, can now not only supervise e-mail between its sales representatives and customers but also retain and index e-mails in a way that makes review easy for internal compliance officers.

Cohen needed a scalable, flexible and functionally rich offering that would work in his Lotus Notes environment.

"All the external e-mail from the sales force, either incoming or outgoing, goes into the AXS-One Email archival system, and it then takes those e-mails and puts them into queue to be reviewed by a designated person for a particular salesperson," Cohen says.

Cohen says the technology offered full information life-cycle management for all archived data, content surveillance, keyword and full-text query capabilities, security and audit trail capabilities, and the storage of messages and attachments on Centera, which creates a unique identifier for each document. The unique identifier ensures that e-mails can't be overwritten or changed.

"This was extremely easy to get up and running, and it has been extremely easy for compliance personnel to use," Cohen says. "This just enhances our ability to comply and retrieve e-mail and other electronic information."

Copyright © 2004 IDG Communications, Inc.

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