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Email archiving needs soar as e-discovery requests rise

(Carol Sliwa, TechTarget) Regulatory compliance requirements confronting financial service firms triggered a rush of email archiving products more than a decade ago, and today, the need to retain emails for legal discovery is driving a new wave of updates and improvements in the e-discovery market. Whether it's high-profile, high-penalty court cases involving corporate defendants, or simply the amount of data storage that email and its attachments eat up, storage managers are increasingly putting email archiving at the top of their priority lists.

IT organizations that purchase email archiving products chiefly to address storage management headaches often also wind up seeking additional tools or add-on modules to respond to litigation-related demands. As a result, the email archiving vendor landscape is evolving so vendors can compete on reporting tools, data classification capabilities, and search functions.

Save, delete: The email archiving problem
One challenge for IT shops is identifying an email archiving policy that makes sense. Saving everything does not, experts say. Having an email retention and deletion policy for email that is based on preservation dates set by state and federal regulations, for example, is a good starting point. Once a litigation hold is placed, or an e-discovery request is made, a company must often change that policy, and start retaining many more documents. But a company is not likely to be held liable for emails or attachments that were eliminated as part of a reasonable retention and deletion policy prior to the existence of a litigation hold - as long as it was applied regularly across the board without exception.

Best practices for email archiving often start with the prickly issue of establishing retention policies for users. The shorter the retention period, the harder it will be to enforce. A 90-day retention policy, for instance, sounds good in theory, until users balk and seek out other ways to save what they consider important emails.

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