Email Archiving Best Practicesby Fred F. Farkel, Thursday, September 8th, 2011
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP)
FRCP is the set of rules that govern and determine how and what is required during a civil litigation. It covers many aspects of litigation in great detail, including pleadings, motions, disclosures etc. More importantly, the amendments made in 2006 cover the topic of ‘ediscovery’ specifically. Email archiving is intended to solve the ediscovery requirements for organizations so that they can be in compliance with this law.
Do I need to archive my email?
Unless you are your own employee and your own customer, you’ll probably need to archive your emails properly. If you do any correspondence through email, all those discussions and agreements made in the email will be deemed discoverable by the courts. That means that the opposing litigants can ask for these relevant emails, and you will have to produce it or you may be fined. Some of the fines can be pretty hefty, as you’ll see on the next page where we explain some of the prior cases.
Do I need to keep every email I get?
No you do not. You can delete your emails routinely as set by your retention policy. But if you find out that you might be involved in litigation, then you have to suspend your email deletion and make sure you keep everything until the trial is over. This is commonly referred to as placing a “litigation hold.”
What is a retention policy?
A retention policy is an email deletion policy that allows you to delete emails that have been sitting in storage past a certain time. Storing any kind of electronic data can be expensive, depending on the volume. While the storage is only 20% of the total cost, the other 80% of expenditure goes to the IT support costs. So, deleting old emails and .pst files is a common practice to keep expenditures at a minimum, so that IT doesn’t have to spend an outrageous amount of time managing the data. Your policy can range from anywhere between one day to indefinitely. The typical retention policy is between 3 to 7 years, depending on what your organization is comfortable with and such considerations as the statute of limitations in effect. The typical retention policy establishes a retention period for education at 3 years and for corporations at 5 years. Legal counsel can provide sound advice in helping to establish a suitable retention policy.
Courts look at a litigant’s email retention policy to determine if data is being shared in good faith. An organization with a reasonable retention schedule and enforces litigation holds is looked upon as an entity with ‘good faith,’ and is looked upon favorably. Maintaining good faith is extremely important because of previous devious acts by Enron.
Email archiving: No Substitutions
Outlook archives my emails automatically
Outlook archives emails for each user by pulling the emails from the exchange server and storing it in the individual user’s hard drive. The data is no longer centrally stored, and the IT admin has to look through each user’s personal computer to retrieve data. If your organization has more than 10 users, this can be very time consuming. Not to forget that it is non-compliant with federal rules. Emails can be inadvertently edited by the user once they have been removed from the server. If these .pst files are located on multiple users’ computers, the data can not be searched from a single location, and is in violation of a compliant retention policy.
I’ll backup .pst files on a hard drive
Saving .pst files on a hard drive stores the files, but is not compliant with federal rules. Anyone with access can
Another challenge with backing up .pst files on a hard drive is that there is no search functionality. It will become expensive and time consuming to look through all the user emails and attachments to find relevant evidence for
The rules don’t apply to me
If your company is using email for communications, you should be archiving. Every organization should be prepared for litigation. If you are called into litigation, all emails pertinent to your case must be made available. Without a robust email archiving solution, it would be very costly to hire a consultant to index and find the required emails. Organizations are already familiar with archiving paper documents. Archiving emails is the same action, but for email communications.
I keep hard copies
Keeping hard copies is always a good idea. It provides a secondary or tertiary backup for important documents. Files will be at your disposal if your network crashes or is temporarily disabled. However, keeping hard copies alone is no longer sufficient. Litigation can request data in their preferred format, which quite often is electronic.
In the event of a fire, paper documents may be destroyed. However, electronic files stored using a robust archiving solution remains safe.
8 features to look for in an email archiving solution
It’s important to make sure an archiver has the necessary functions that will help you find the information you require. With DataCove email archiving, emails can be found by searching through content, attachments, by user and by date. You can find emails and any type of attached documents that were sent by searching through each person, date, project name or some other custom content. Your system administrator will be able to find these emails throughout the entire organization without having to go through the hassle of interviewing and contacting each person involved.
There is no telling when and who in the organization may need to find certain relevant emails for either litigation or for other informational purposes. Consequently it’s very important for all end users to be able to access their emails from their mail clients as well. An archiving solution that allows access from multiple mail clients such as Outlook, I?Mail or Groupwise will allow users on different servers to be able to access the corporate archive of pertinent emails when required. DataCove allows end-user access , but also gives the administrator to determine the level of access that end users are granted within the archive. For example, the President will have access to everything while the end?users only have access the their own emails.
Tamper-Proof / Compliant
The device must be able to store information in a permanent, non?editable format. This non?editable format makes stored files tamper?proof. When the court requests to verify the legitimacy of data, the non?editable worm media provides irrefutable proof of your data compliance. Having a tamper?proof archiving solution facilitates SEC, NYSE, NSAD, HIPAA, SOX and FRCP compliance. Compliant email archival appliances will capture metadata and provide you with an audit log (chain of evidence) that functions as a compliance report.
As your email archiving appliance stores your emails over time, your organization may grow and expand. You may either need to add more users or more capacity. DataCove offers expandable storage capacity. With the ability to add new WORM storage tapes, you’ll have an unrestricted capacity to the archive your data instead of a limited capacity system.
In today’s economy, you can’t afford to get into costly litigations or spend too much money on new acquisitions. So, picking a cost effective product will not only ensure compliance but also help you keep your budget intact. DataCove is the most cost effective, expandable email archiving solution on the market.
A good archiver is compatible with multiple mail servers. An email archiver is a server that you keep running without much need for active human interaction. It’s also a long?term investment. Finding an archiving appliance that will handle a lot of servers is important so that it will accommodate any upgrades or changes you make to your mail servers. If you decide to change your mail server in the future, you only have to make minor settings alterations to the email archiving appliance to make sure it’s compatible with your new server.
Multiple Retention Policies
Simultaneously being able to have multiple retention policies serves numerous benefits, including retention by segmenting your users to saving storage space. Since some groups of people in your organization have more important business related emails, you can set either a longer or shorter retention periods for them. For instance end?user emails which are not that important can be stored for 1 year. Middle Management’s emails can be stored for 3 years and the President’s email can be stored for 7 years. On the DataCove, all of these retention periods are user customizable.
Simultaneous Archiving of Multiple Servers
If you are a medium to large sized organization, you might be operating multiple servers in different locations. Seamless archival of data from multiple sources to the main server becomes more of a need than convenience. By utilizing a good email archiver, you can archive emails from multiple servers simultaneously, and users will be able to access the collective knowledge without having to dig into multiple servers separately. DataCove archives multiple servers simultaneously into one back?end appliance without needing extra hardware.
For more information on the DataCove email archiving solution, please contact Tangent at 1-888-TANGENT x-4