Is it likely your business will be involved in litigation now or in the future?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Luckily, you can take proactive steps to make the process as smooth as possible with email retention and archiving solutions. Whether you like it or not, email and other electronically stored information is often used as part of the discovery process in court proceedings, making it absolutely critical that organizations rigorously manage electronic communications. In fact, email, instant messaging, and even social media records could be targeted in a legal request for information.

Remember, the subpoena is not the right time to start thinking about an archive strategy. If you are not prepared, attempting to recover email is a time-consuming and costly process that involves recovering months, even years of data from backup tapes or other medium. Companies that don’t prepare ahead of time incur higher costs to retrieve the needed information, and in some cases, can’t find or even access the data that may be critical to their case.

The right archival solution prepares your business in advance for easy search and retrieval of any required data, taking the hassle out of recovery so you can continue business as usual. It’s simply not an accepted excuse that your business didn’t understand the requirements or was unable to retain email. If you cannot produce the required email documentation, you are held accountable. It’s as simple as that and critical you have a plan in place.

Archive vs. Backup

It’s important to understand the difference between a “Backup” and an “Archive”. They are very different in how they operate.

Email Backup

An email backup is NOT an archive. It is merely a copy or “glimpse” at what is currently contained in the production email system right now. Email that was in the system 2 years ago, but since deleted, will not be on today’s backup. It would likely be on the backup tape from 2 years ago, but not on the live system. There’s a basic assumption that you still HAVE the backup tapes and they do in fact work correctly and contain the data you need. That said, consider the amount of time required to retrieve mail  in daily or weekly increments for the past 2-5 years. It’s unthinkable. Typically, a backup is used to recover email that was recently deleted by a user, or perhaps resulted from a system outage. The backup IS NOT and SHOULD NOT be considered an all inclusive storage area for every email that has ever existed on the system. It’s just not practical and does not work that way.

Email Archive

An email Archive, on the other hand, is NOT a backup. It can’t typically be used to restore lost email, nor is it something that could be used in a Disaster Recovery scenario. It’s not designed that way. Instead, mail is typically extracted from GroupWise on an ongoing basis and then aggregated into a database on a different system where it can then be searched, exported to PST or PDF format, and more. The key point of an email archive system is that the data is aggregated, meaning as mail is archived, it stays in the archive even if the emails were later deleted from the production mail system. So over time, every message that has ever been in your GroupWise system (from when you implemented the archive) would accumulate within the archive, easy to access for any legal request, internal investigation, or otherwise. It’s all in one place.

NOTE: The “GroupWise Archive” function within the GroupWise client is a ‘personal’ archiving mechanism and not very useful when it comes to eDiscovery. When referencing an Archive solution, I mean a corporate solution that collectively archives all email from all mailboxes.

Recommendations

I’ve used many archiving solutions for GroupWise and have been disappointed in most of them. The reason is that most companies that develop archive solutions primarily develop them for Microsoft Exchange. Then they decide to tap into the GroupWise customer base, and with no real knowledge or expertise with GroupWise, proclaim GroupWise support. The implementations are sloppy, don’t work well (or with the preferred settings), and support is difficult to get when needed to resolve issues.

Gwava, however, has been a longtime developer of GroupWise focused solutions. Although they were a little bit late to the archiving game when they released Gwava Retain 1.0, it quickly became my archiving solution of choice. Now up to version 3.0, Retain integrates nicely with GroupWise (As well as other mail platforms), support is very knowledgeable, and the product works as expected. Overall, Retain does a very good job at archiving and can scale easily to meet the demands of larger systems. I’ve seen many customers abandon other archiving solutions (such as Barracuda or Messaging Architects) to implement a Gwava Retain solution. You can learn about Gwava Retain at the following link, or give me a call and I’d be happy to discuss it with you. http://gwava.com/Retain/index.php

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