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Consistency is key when it comes to email-archiving policies and procedures. An Exchange administrator may be in charge of email archiving or it may be someone else within the organisation. No matter where the responsibility lies, it’s easy to adopt poor habits, make mistakes or fail to follow procedures.

Poor habits could ultimately compromise archives and even jeopardise the company’s compliance. The following oversights are common and businesses should make every effort to avoid them:

  • Failure to observe retention policies – Many Exchange administrators don’t pay attention to retention periods or storage space when archiving messages. Instead, they tend to focus on the content.
  • Erring on the side of caution – Saving every message for the maximum allowable time or moving messages from the server to the archive when the message database exceeds a certain threshold (500 GB, for example) – is a mistake. Mapping the company retention policies to email storage can better meet the needs of the business, while saving considerable storage and index/search demands.
    Retention isn’t just about keeping data. Exchange administrators must also be diligent in deleting content that exceeds its retention period. Third-party archival tools can automate the deletion process by using the date metadata created when the data was stored.
  • Not including archives in backup and disaster recovery (BDR) strategies – Archives are not backups, so any mail and other data that is relegated to archives must still be backed up. The archival storage platform itself may provide some level of resiliency at the disk level, but it is often prudent to perform regular backups BDR purposes.
  • Relying on Exchange Server for compliance – Generally speaking, Exchange Server does not provide very dynamic archiving features. Businesses must select third-party archiving tools that address compliance concerns across all types of data.
  • Allowing .pst file proliferation – Every Microsoft Outlook user can archive email messages in a personal storage (.pst) file located on each user’s desktop. While .pst files are not harmful, they are space monsters – consuming up to 2 GB on each desktop.


When a technology changes, verify that backups and archives are still accessible. Otherwise it may be impossible to recover archives, which can leave the company vulnerable to disasters or compliance audits. Call us today to implement a business email archiving system in your company.


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