back to article Who cares about your archives anymore?

There aren’t many business that don’t need archives of their files and emails that their employees can reach with ease. But certainly, it can be of more strategic importance for some than others. Reg reader, Stuart Walters, falls into the latter camp. He’s the IT Director of international law firm Taylor Wessing - a place …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Something to look forward to!

    Now its these tidbits which makes El Reg stand out from the crowd such as, say, Slashdot. In my opinion of course.

    Although I can fully understand the need to get people together and address topics such as "Windows 8 shipping" and all sorts of that stuff I always consider those boring. To me its just yet another bunch of people talking about yet another common topic.

    As said; this is something I'm looking forward to because it IS important to have this in order (in some countries this is even demanded by law!). And the fact its a topic which, the article says itself, many people hardly seem to care about makes it all the more interesting for me.

    Cool, can't wait!

    (disclaimer: yes, obviously it helps to be self-employed and as such have different interests)

  2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Surely "the latter camp" is

    the "others", for whom their archive is of less strategic importance.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not sure I quite agree with the premise (for e-mail at least)

    Specifically: "There aren’t many business that don’t need archives of their files and emails that their employees can reach with ease."

    Having every e-mail ever sent by every employee you've ever had on file permanently is excessive, expensive and at the end of the day a serious financial liability. The reason that it's a liability is that if you've ever been involved with a legal discovery exercise, the volume of discoverable data will directly impact the hours your legal counsel has to dig through, and consequently how big your bill is.

    This is not to say that archive (from a storage extension standpoint - not its other use for compliance journaling) is unnecessary.... just that given the choice there are *many* users who would keep everything, indefinitely, and if that is not critical for your business that they be able to do so, you would be well served by not allowing infinitely expandable storage.

    My advice:

    1.) Understand your legal requirements - this is your baseline

    2.) Understand your business requirements - this could mean multiple retention/usage profiles above and beyond baseline legal requirements

    3.) Implement retention policies (ex: call center employees can only keep mail that is less than 1 year old, etc) that align with your legal and business requirements

    4.) As necessary, provide adequate capacity (either native to your messaging environment, or by extending through a secondary archive system) for users to keep data within their prescribed retention profile

    5.) Restrict the use of local archives where possible (i.e. GPOs to keep Outlook from being able to create/use local .PSTs)

    In essence, if you need it... keep it on the server or server + archive extension. If you don't need it, get rid of it!

    1. Lone Gunman

      Be careful with the delete button ...

      Fully agree with points 4 & 5 as .psts are a serious liability. However be careful about what you think isn't important to be kept in the archives - you may find its actually useful and save your arse in some legal situations.

      I have always kept good archives of my email, if for no other reason than we have stupid mailbox size limits on Exchange. We have now rolled out an archiving system linked to Exchange (Enterprise Vault), which although it isn't perfect does mean everything is on a backed up server and not on my hard drive. We also had the foresight to import the .pst files so nothing has been lost.

      I regularly refer back to emails from the last 18 months anyway, but I had cause recently to go back to mails from 2009 and beyond to find information for our legal teams. These particular emails wouldn't normally have been kept as it wasn't information that should be retained as a legal or business requirement. However I did have it and all the supporting documentation too - something my legal team are now very happy about.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Be careful with the delete button ...

        From a liability standpoint It can be a double edged sword though... Sometimes it helps, sometimes it hurts. I'm not sure if it's more one versus the other but the General Counsels I've dealt with tend towards the more aggressive side, with the business side of the house pushing for more lenient retention policies. Maybe they know something I don't... my anecdotal experience could be unusual too.

        Not to mention storage and other infrastructure costs either...

        I'm not particularly fond of trying to cut it too close... the max cut-off I've seen (for companies that actually put them in place) is 5 years. At the very least, I'm pretty certain those hoarders/packrats I've run into (I'd be guilty myself were it not for an unfortunate disk encryption incident - a habit also formed from draconian inbox quotas) don't really need mail from the Major/Clinton era anymore... so there should probably be a line drawn somewhere.

  4. K

    OK lets translate this article..

    Mimecast gave law firm Taylor Wessing a phat discount for agreeing to take part in some marketing...

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