SC/ Survey: Archiving and continuity


There is a growing need for email archiving, but our survey, in association with, reveals a neglectful attitude of 'out of sight, out of mind'.

There is a growing need for email archiving, but our survey, in association with, reveals a neglectful attitude of 'out of sight, out of mind'.

Email archiving might not, at first glance, seem the most exciting topic for a survey, but given the reliance on email as the primary driver of business conversation, it is important, you might think. Our survey suggests otherwise.

What does this SC/ survey tell us about corporate attitudes to – and use of – email? It looks as if there is still a good percentage of CIOs and CISOs not actually thinking too hard about a joined-up archiving strategy. Some 42 per cent have no specific procedures in place and are happy to leave email on users' local machines or on the mail server. How many more enterprises are guilty of this? Out of sight, out of mind?

In an age when email records are increasingly liable to form an integral part of compliance audits or legal disputes or even just to ensure that HR policies are followed, it seems remiss of any company to allow this to happen. The less said, the better about the seven per cent who revealed that they were ‘not sure'!

Technical and management needs
Still, when it comes to ambitions, intentions and needs, the picture is perhaps a little bit more optimistic. There seems to be a healthy recognition that email archiving tools and strategies can help in the overall running of the enterprise. Interestingly, though, technical concerns such as improving mail server performance and managing data growth rank higher than compliance or other regulatory issues. It seems more users are interested in focusing on email efficiency and architecture first. It is significant that the biggest challenge to implementing an email archiving solution is the ongoing management of storage requirements, including backups.

This suggests perhaps an opportunity for some vendors – it is surprising in 2011 that so many respondents still see storage as something that needs hands-on management. Surely automation has reached the email world? Perhaps there is something amiss in the marketing campaigns of those businesses offering email services.

Concern over customer service
The answer that stands out to the question, ‘What are the key concerns in the event of an email outage?', is: ‘poor customer service/experience'. This is no surprise, given the attempts by corporates to remove the human element and subsequent cost from interacting with their customers.

What it doesn't reveal, however, is the failure of many customer email systems to actually stack up – emails may be received, but they don't necessarily get answered promptly, correctly or even at all. Another popular response, ‘reduction in staff productivity' can be taken as a double-edged sword.

Business managers may well have noticed the phenomenon whereby some employees actually become more productive when email is taken away from them. They find they have to do something else…

Even spread of solutions
Mostly though, employees have a functioning email system. The prospect of an email outage is relatively rare: 72 per cent of respondents recorded that it occurred less than once a month.

If the worst happens, respondents had an even spread of solutions. Good old tape/other backup media were to the fore, with more sophisticated solutions such as clustered mail servers and system replication gaining credibility. Hosted services have yet to gain a major foothold – again perhaps more marketing by vendors is needed. Indeed, nearly half of respondents have ‘no plans at present' to go for hosted services, and only 26 per cent have so far seen the light.

The SC/ survey ran during January 2011 and analysed the responses of 190 UK IT security managers.


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