Just about every IT organization is wrestling to some degree with e-mail storage. Because e-mail has become so central to business communications, just about everything in the e-mail system has to be recoverable to meet compliance requirements. This is placing a huge burden on storage systems.
The problem is that many IT organizations don't distinguish between data that needs to be backed up and that which simply should be archived. That leads to cumbersome backups and extended information recoveries of data that probably shouldn't have been backed up in the first place.
As Microsoft Exchange is the dominant e-mail platform in the enterprise, most companies are in the process of upgrading to the latest version. So perhaps it's time to address e-mail storage issues with an e-mail archiving service in the cloud. Proofpoint, for example, today updated its e-mail archiving solution for the cloud by adding support for Microsoft Exchange 2010 and making it easier to search files stored in the cloud.
From an internal IT perspective, the search capability provided by such a service might prove to be most critical. When a file is backed up to tape, somebody from IT usually has to spend an inordinate amount of time looking for it. Giving users the ability to directly search a digital archive without help from IT would make things simpler for everyone. If that information is archived using the E-Discovery Reference Model (EDRM) XML tags that whole process becomes even easier.
With the migration to Exchange 2010, it's up to individual companies to decide if they want to continue to run their own mail service or have a specialist deliver that capability as a service. But using the cloud to reduce the expense of e-mail storage and to reduce the headaches associated with e-discovery makes a lot of sense for IT organizations trying to get the most out of limited IT resources. So the next time somebody in your organization is wasting their time searching through tapes for a file, just remember it doesn't really have to be this way.