Before you can ever look at email archiving systems, you have to determine what factors are driving the need to manage your data. Many things can and will drive your policy. The most common concerns or drivers include legal, human resources and IT. It is up to your company to determine what are the right drivers to consider, however, several factors will always be a consideration.

  1. Space issues
  2. Legal/litigation concerns
  3. Federal regulations

First, the right people need to be involved before you can truly figure out what is driving the need to create a policy. Those people will most likely be:

  1. IT
  2. Legal/HR

These two groups will have varying perspectives and concerns when it comes to building this policy. IT will be coming from a email data storage angle, trying to keep space/storage to a minimum and will worry about how long backups run and speed issues. Legal/HR will be coming from a ‘protect the company’ angle. They don’t necessarily care about space issues or how long backups take, they just want the right data and only the right data when they need it. Balancing these two perspectives is not an easy battle, but it can be managed better if everyone is on the same page.

Both sides really need to focus on the good of the company in every email and compliance decision they make. If Legal or Litigation concerns arise, they will always win. Disk space is cheap and can always be added on later. Not having the documents the court requires will cost way more than you’ll ever spend on email data storage.

To begin working these issues out, first figure out how your industry is affected by Federal, State and/or Local regulations. If regulation is a driving factor, interpret the laws and build a policy accordingly which will problably not allow much freedom in your policy. If regulation is not a factor, then figure out what policy works best for the company as a whole. For now, just figure out what is driving your decision.

There are many resources that can help you with this:

In future articles we will talk about where to store the data, access the data and many other things.