Tag : companies

Archiving Email–Some Considerations

Businesses live and die by email. Orders are submitted, proposals are sent, meetings are scheduled, and deals are made through email. So emails have a tendency to accumulate rapidly. No one wants to delete email because they like to have a record of the communication. There’s the fear that if you delete and old email you’ll need it later. It’s a security blanket of sorts. And some employees will use email as a default document management system, categorizing emails by client name, etc. These and other factors tend to contribute to large email stores, and large mailbox sizes.

Since data is expensive to store and backup, and accounts with large mailboxes can be more problematic to manage, not only can the uncontrolled saving of email become expensive to maintain, but it can also become a liability for the company.

Archiving Email

To technically solve this problem many companies will install an email Archiving solution. If they are using Microsoft’s Exchange 2010 an archiving solution is built into the product, Archiving email enables organizations to move older, or less accessed, emails out of the main data store and onto a less expensive, less accessed, storage solution. It doesn’t keep emails from accumulating, but it does control where they are stored and how they are managed. Typically, users can easily retrieve archived emails when they’re needed.

Using Hyperlinks

One of the foremost reasons why mailboxes grow in size quickly is ‘attachments’. Attaching documents to emails will quickly grow a mailbox store size. It will not only increase the growth of the mailbox sending the document(s) but also increase the size of all the recipients’ mailboxes.

If users have a need to collaborate on documents within an organization there’s a simple remedy for this problem: Hyperlinks. Instead of sending the documents themselves, send a hyperlink, which is a pointer, to the document. The recipient will be able to click on the hyperlink and pull up the document without adding it to their mailbox. This is also best practice for collaboration purposes because when hyperlinks are used everyone views and edits the same document, not copies of it. This means that everyone sees the final product, not an outdated copy of it in their email store.

Mailbox Size Limits

Most companies will impose mailbox size limits on employees. This process limits the overall size of a user’s mailbox and will force the user to archive or delete email to keep the size within the limits imposed. Various actions can be taken if the user fails to heed the mailbox size limit warning. One such action, once the mailbox has reached a specified size limit, is to inhibit the ability to send emails. The user may be allowed to receive them for a limited time, but their ability to send or reply is inhibited.

Other Considerations

In addition to the IT cost for maintaining large email stores, keeping old emails can be a company liability. For instance, if a company is legally required to produce old emails for a court case the discovery costs can be huge. This requirement can be forced upon a company by an ex-employee bringing a suit, or any one of other legal proceedings that require a company produce their archived communications.

To limit liability, and the cost of discovery, in this type of situation, most companies will establish an “Email Retention Policy”. That is simply a formal document that states how far back in time the company will keep emails. If such a policy is in place and published to employees, the company is not liable to produce anything older than the retention date.

In conclusion, not limiting email retention and not imposing mailbox limits are expensive. Companies that are not proactive in establishing policies executing them find that out the hard way.

iPads Usage Up – Businesses have bought 2 Million Units

I was at a conference last week and saw a funny thing that I did not think would ensue so quickly in the technology and business environment.  Sitting in the meeting with 25 other people, both business and technical folks, about 80% of them had iPads which was shocking really.  More and more with our client base, iPads are starting to take over as the presentation tool and fun toy for the “c” level executives.  Several of my own team member here at BVA own and leverage iPads in business activity, but for the most part it’s not adding value in my humble view in a business perceptive.  It’s definitely moved into the benefit category as opposed to the NEED one.  That being said it is a nice product that has it’s place in the residential side as well as the educational sector.  The unit is not very secure and has alot of the security risks associated with the iPhone.  ??The iPad can be used to access networks via RDP session (remote session) and actually works very well and quick on the 3G network but that still raises the question of security and access points for your network.  I read an article here recently, that talked about how popular the iPad is with business and that a research company estimates that 2 million iPads have already been bought by companies with 1-99 employees. That is hard to believe but its a fact, the adoption rate is higher for companies with at least 20 employees.

The research article surfaced that the common uses for the device include demos, presentations, email, and Internet browsing. Larger businesses also use them as a tool when speaking with customers. Most of the businesses are using the iPad as a new gadget; it is not replacing PCs or other devices.  The research company believes that notebooks, netbooks, tablets, and smartphones will continue to coexist in the future as data moves into the cloud. Technically does not provide further statistics from its survey or the number of people and type of survey it conducted. Having said that, it is encouraging to see small businesses adopting a device like the iPad.

It will be interesting what Apple decides to do with their new market share in the business segment.  Will they decide to alter their OS code to be more desktop centric?  It’s a great way to penetrate a market that Apple quite frankly has ignored.