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|Marc Lueschner, Ferris Research|
Two years ago, I would say less than half a percent of enterprise customers were concerned about e-mail archiving. Today, I would say 12-15% of corporate customers have implemented an e-mail archiving solution. Another 30% are considering the use of e-mail archiving. Are data retention regulations driving the adoption of e-mail archiving technology outside of the United States?
Definitely. Those regulations were initially driven by the U.S. then adopted a little bit by companies [in] Germany, France and the northern [European] countries. Now, the Asia-Pacific countries like Japan and Singapore are starting in that area as well. I would say the U.S. market is probably still a good year ahead of the Europeans. The Asian markets are probably one year behind the Europeans. What are the most highly regulated industries?
I would say the most regulated industries are definitely the government sector, financial, insurance and pharmaceutical.
Once you've understood the advantage of e-mail archiving, then you'll see that it's not the archiving aspect of the solution, it's the retrieving aspect. That means you can better find knowledge in records in terms of e-mails and so on. Once you understand that, then it's much easier to convince management that e-mail archiving would be a good solution. How can a company decide what e-mail archiving system is right for its needs?
You need to understand the requirements of the e-mail system in terms of traffic and users; understand how well an e-mail archiving system integrates into your existing e-mail environment; usability; searching and retrieving; support; and cost. Those are pretty much the key points. Do you see any other key trends taking shape in the area of e-mail archiving?
The problem with e-mail archiving solutions is that if you have a compliance issue, you need to find specific pieces of information. The question is pretty much, 'What can be done to make that task a lot easier?' That is a booming market. There are a few specialized companies which are just focusing on the searching, indexing and retrieving element for e-mail archiving. You need to think about it like a search engine like Google for archived content. They believe that is one of the most important things for the future.
That is a pretty interesting topic because we felt initially that it was unrelated to e-mail archiving. But [we realized] it depends how broad the term 'e-mail archiving' is for you. If e-mail archiving also contains instant messaging, then you need to know all the identities of a user. You need to have an identity management system. Out of the identity management system, you have a user name and all aliases for an end user. The e-mail archiving system needs to make sure it tracks everything in regards to e-mail or instant messaging traffic of a user.
Also, there is legislation in the U.S. [that says] that you need to keep all the information for at least three years after an employee leaves a company. In other words, it doesn't help you if all you do is archive the e-mails. You also need to understand the identity behind them.