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Email Archiving: EMEA Focused on Functionality, North America on Litigation
Dick Csaplar
OCT 08, 2012 06:02 AM
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In June 2012 Aberdeen Group conducted a global survey of nearly 180 enterprises and their deployments of technologies designed to support data storage, including e-discovery, Cloud storage, and data archiving.  Aberdeen’s analysis of 87 companies with an email archiving initiative found a distinct difference between the email archiving programs in North America (NA) and those in Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA): the primary objective in North American email archiving programs is to prepare for litigation, while the primary objective in EMEA is to reduce IT operating costs.  The full report title is “Email Archiving: EMEA Focused on Functionality, North America on Litigation“.

The top pressures for deploying an email archiving solution are presented in Figure 1.  While reducing the cost of storage was important in both regions, compliance and e-discovery requirements were the second and third most important pressures for North American companies – cited nearly 2-times and 5-times more frequently, respectively, than by their EMEA counterparts.

Source: Aberdeen Group 2012

The leading pressures for EMEA-based companies tell a different story: a much stronger focus on reducing the total cost of providing email to their employees.    The differences in motivations for investment are further born out when looking at the capabilities companies in each geography have used to support their email archiving deployments.

Aberdeen asked respondents to identify the capabilities and technology enablers they use to surround and support their email archiving deployments. While many reported capabilities and enablers have similar deployment patterns across the different geographies, Table 1 highlights the areas where they most strongly differ.

Source: Aberdeen Group, June 2012

The capabilities and enablers that have at least a 30% higher deployment rate in EMEA all have to do with the operations of their email archiving tools, i.e., to improve performance or reduce total cost. These include:

  • Archive management software – This is hosted software or a service offered by a managed service provider that allows users set policies over their archiving program. Settings include email retention periods, access controls and recovery procedures.
  • End-user managed email archives – The more end-users do to manage their own email archives, the less IT is required to be involved. Having end-users manage their own archives reduces the program cost for IT.
  • Email deduplication – Most emails have multiple recipients.  Advanced email archiving systems will recognize duplicate emails, and archive only a single copy, retaining pointers so that all involved can access the archived copy.

On the other hand, the capabilities and enablers where North American-based companies have at least a 30% higher rate of deployment relate mainly to the legal aspects of managing the data in the email, including automated legal searches and regulatory compliance. These include:

  • Automatic deletion of email at the end of the retention period – Companies have come to understand that old data can cause harm to the organization. Certain types of data have legally mandated periods of time that data must be held. Once that mandated retention period passes, it is in the company’s interest that aged data be quickly and automatically destroyed.
  • Putting emails on legal hold – Once a company is notified that there is a legal action against them, they may be required to provide the court all the data they have on a particular subject. Archived emails that contain requested information must be protected from tampering or destruction.
  • Email audit trails – An email containing important legal information requires proof that it has not been altered. Advanced email archiving solutions will monitor the life of each document in its procession, show how many times it has been accessed and by whom.

Aberdeen also asked respondents about the technologies on which they store their email archives. More than one answer was accepted, as companies – particularly large enterprises that may have departmental email archiving programs – may use multiple approaches.

As seen in Figure 2, the responses from EMEA and North America differed in two areas: the use of email archiving appliances in EMEA, and the North American adoption of the public Cloud.

Source: Aberdeen Group, June 2012

Email archiving appliances are purpose-built storage devices with software management designed to provide the services described in Table 1. The software allows policies to be set for how long the emails are to be stored, grant access privileges based on roles or identities, perform de-duplication, and other email management tasks. These sorts of features far exceed the functionality offered by just tape or general storage devices. Email archive appliances were utilized 75% more often in EMEA than by companies in North America.

North American companies have begun using Cloud-based email archiving four-times more often than organizations based in EMEA. Cloud email archiving comes in two primary flavors: those offered by the Cloud email providers themselves, and those offered by more general Cloud storage providers. The benefits of Cloud email archiving are twofold:

  • Price, particularly from general Cloud storage providers. The email archives are off-site, a strong benefit to SMB organizations with only a single location, and are professionally backed up.
  • Audit Controls. These Cloud organizations can securely lock down access, providing logs of who has touched which emails as all archive access must come through their controls.  This is extremely important for proving the emails are original and for documenting audit trails.

As more of the email archiving features offered in the appliances become available in the Cloud, we expect to see the adoption of Cloud email archiving increase in both North America and EMEA, particularly as the costs per gigabyte of Cloud storage decrease.

Aberdeen’s IT Infrastructure research studies the deployment trends of many technologies. Generally, the deployment rates of researched technologies are very similar between North America and EMEA, as the tools they use are almost identical. For example, the deployment of server virtualization technology has almost identical deployment patterns across all geographies. However, the legal climates are very different between EMEA and North America, which has resulted in very different email archiving programs.

Dick Csaplar
Senior Research Analyst, Storage and Virtualization Practice
IT Infrastrucutre GroupAberdeen Group

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