Broadly speaking, an email archive is an indexed, read-only, long term store of every email sent and received by your organization. It is distinct from your regular email database, such as Microsoft Exchange where users read and manage their day to day emails. Email archiving systems provide an archive store plus a mechanism for populating it from your regular mail database and a user interface for searching and accessing the emails held.
Historically, the driver for the adoption of archiving systems has been regulatory compliance and the need for certain classes of organization during key periods to maintain emails so they cannot be deleted or modified by staff. Indeed, much of the information that has come to light as part of recent, high profile, regulatory and legal cases will have been sourced from an email archiving system.
Traditionally, email archiving systems have required dedicated hardware and database platforms that are relatively expensive to buy and require trained staff to deploy and manage over their lifetime. Also, with a compliance focus, access to the archive is only provided to key personnel and external officers with a legal right of access minimizing the potential for broader benefit.
Such factors have largely prevented the widespread adoption of email archiving systems and the realization of the other organizational benefits that they bring such as:
- The ability for all users to maintain every email they have ever sent or received without compromising the performance of the underlying email platform.
- The ability to perform very high performance searches against an organization’s lifetime store of emails using sophisticated queries.
- The ability to easily provide key individuals with controlled and rapid access to emails across all mailboxes.
The ability to rapidly search every email that’s ever been sent or received at an organization.