10 reasons businesses should use email archiving

/ Technical
September 28th, 2011

10 reasons to use email archiving

We all know that e-mail is the primary channel for business communication, and it will be for many years to come. Most users spend a significant amount of time using email to fulfil their day to day duties. In fact, a recent study found that 46% of email users spend more than two hours each day doing something in their mailbox. The same study found that 75% of a company’s IP is stored in a company’s messaging systems! I don’t think I can really disagree with those figures based on my experience.

Business is done with email,  a business is responsible for its communications, and it’s liable. This has brought around the enactment of legislation to protect personal privacy, enforce corporate governance standards and to maintain ethical conduct. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), Gramm-Leach, Bliley Act (GLBA) and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) are just some examples of the regulations in place.

10 reasons you should use an email archiving solution

1. Legal & Compliance

Keeping an archive of your emails allows businesses to meet their legal and compliance obligations. Many sectors have specific rules and regulations in relation to data retention, such as the health, financial and legal sectors, but all businesses must be able to pull back emails on demand from a court.

2. Easy Retrieval

If a court or the Managing Director demanded all of your emails for the past 3 years, could you provide that information easily and completely? It could take days, weeks or months to retrieve without an email archiving solution. The costs would also be significant; in terms of man-hours and probably consultancy. In fact, an email archive would also allow for searching for just a single message within seconds.

3. Evidence

In legal cases, such as a criminal act committed by an employee, or a contractual issue with a client, you can retrieve emails from the archive to use as evidence, both internally and in a legal court.

4. Conflict Resolution

You can use the email archive service to resolve internal personnel issues, for example, to prove an employee sent a certain message or sensitive file. Also, often the archive system can be set up to automatically flag certain emails to a manager based on a text or file name match.

5. Reduced Risk

Using an automated archiving system ensures that all emails are archived without human intervention. This removes the risk of any being missed or deleted before being archived.

6. Searchability

Old individual user PST files are hard to search through as they will be small and numerous. How do you know which PST file the desired email was in? How do you know the email wasn’t deleted from the PST file? You can import all historical PST files into the archive solution and can search with ease.

7. Easy Recovery

If you ever had an issue where you lost your mail server and it was unrecoverable, all of your emails would be safe in the archive system. It would also be simple to pull them into a new system when appropriate. Actually, an email archive service is also invaluable when performing email migrations between platforms.

8. Reduced Storage Requirements

It can massively reduce the amount of email storage required through the use of technology like de-duplication and compression.

9. Cost-Effective

An email archiving service will typically work effectively on cheap storage. Compared to most email server systems which need to keep email on faster and thus more expensive disks and technologies. Most companies will see their data usage grow by 25% annually, which equates to greater storage and storage management costs.

10. Tamper Proof

Email archiving systems are typically tamper-proof. This is essential for compliance in many sectors and it ensures that not even the IT department can remove emails from the email archive. The systems should also track and log who reads which email in the archive and when they read it. This log would also be tamper-proof.


In short, you have to retain all of your emails by law. Most countries have applicable laws, the US and the UK certainly do. However, you shouldn’t have an archive to just comply with regulations, it should be a valuable asset to your business. Most of the value in most businesses is based on knowledge, and that knowledge is typically stored on the IT systems – a huge big chunk of that is in the email system.

I should note that solutions come in numerous shapes and sizes. The costs and effectiveness of these can also vary wildly. Take time to choose the right solution, whether it’s internal or cloud-based. At the end of the day, a solution that is remote to the site that hosts your email servers makes sense. This may be at another office, a managed cloud service, or your own device located at a data centre.