In many organizations, email archive solutions and disaster recovery belong to separate units within the IT reporting structure. This is especially true for organizations which have just begun planning or executing disaster recovery plans and have unclear email retention and archival policies. One message could have at least five different copies stored in different places within the network: the main email server, the backup server (which may or may not be located at a remote site), the email archive server, a backup email archive, and the user’s local archive.
Predictably, this leads to issues with both compliance and disaster recovery. While email archive solutions will delete certain electronic records following timeframes specified by the organization, one cannot assume that copies stored on other media will be deleted as well, leading to potential breaches of company policy. In the same breadth, disaster recovery systems that are not in sync with the archiving solutions might retain records that would have been deleted elsewhere.
The worst-case scenario is one where an organization rebuilding its email servers is overwhelmed by a deluge of records coming from disaster recovery servers, including those that were supposed to be deleted months or even years prior to the disaster. This severely hampers the productivity of both the end users and the IT department, who now contend with enforcing retention policies retroactively in addition to the already-formidable task of getting things up and running again.
In many situations, the integration of email archive solutions and disaster recovery systems has been proven to be effective. This, of course, takes time, money, and effort, and not all organizations have all three resources. Thus, many companies are hesitant to invest in this capability. First, they might not have suitable locations for disaster recovery sites. Second, they might not be able to find enough manpower to maintain these sites. Third, they might not have enough financial resources to purchase servers, real estate, and other infrastructure need to support such an integration.
Thus, organizations are looking for email archive solutions that are subscription-based. This means that they entrust their archiving and disaster recovery requirements to dedicated service providers that already have the infrastructure in place, and pay an annual or monthly fee.
This approach has a multitude of advantages. First, instead of a massive capital outlay, they pay a set fee for data migration and a flat rate for system maintenance. Second, because providers operate tier-4 data center facilities, clients can take comfort in the fact that their data is in safe hands. Finally, in case of system unavailability, the response time of support personnel will be drastically reduced as they are either on site or on call.