Best practices often fall by the wayside when programs are implemented quickly, and then immediately run with little consideration toward training or documentation. Proactive maintenance and correct usage of features can help dramatically reduce the amount of time and energy spent on unnecessary actions.

I’ve put together a list of common issues that users can likely encounter in three of our products when best practices are not followed.

In Archive Attender, the best practice is to maintain indexes and archives of reasonable size.  However, companies often consolidate all of their archives into a single location, sometimes exceeding their given terabytes.  While it might seem like a smart idea to organize everything into a single archive, it actually creates more problems than it solves. When archives grow to over 250GB, rebuilding an index can take substantially more time than it would otherwise, which increases the possibility of encountering size-related errors, such as timeouts and verification failures.

A common issue with Mail Attender has to do with exceeding the size of the database. Database size can be easily overlooked, as it is not obvious in day-to-day transactions.  However, the default database installed with Mail Attender has a 2GB size limit. Certain actions, such as  gathering statistics daily or creating detailed reports, can rapidly eat through your free space.  Checking the database regularly and compacting when needed are both  best practices.   If database size becomes an issues (i.e. you are compacting the database weekly), upgrading to SQL server is also suggested.

For Discovery Attender, excessive search results and indexing (when not needed) are two aspects of the program that are discouraged. Discovery Attender operates best when the number of search results per individual search are not exceeding 250,000. To avoid database-related issues and determine the criteria breakdown, we highly recommend using a sample search when processing large datasets.

Indexing is an optional activity in Discovery Attender, and it is often performed more often than it should be. Nothing terrible will happen if indexing is used, but it is the most time-consuming of all the Discovery Attender features.  Because of this, indexing should only be done if a search will benefit from additional keywords in the results set (e.g. when sampling is needed, or if the collection must begin but search terms are unknown).  If your search terms are clear, then you will most likely not need to index.

These examples illustrate that usage of Sherpa products should follow best practices to ensure the absolute best performance.   They need to be observed and maintained when needed, just like any other key component of your information governance operation. Doing so will save your operation both time and energy in the long haul.