Email archiving for SMEs: Where to deploy?

30/05/2011 19:23

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly aware of the costs involved in setting up and maintaining an email infrastructure, especially when it comes to controlling the increasing email load on Exchange and the overhead of PST files. For this reason, as well as to meet regulations and industry-specific legislation, it’s natural for SMEs to turn to email archiving. An email archiving solution allows administrators to focus resources on projects which help the organization gain competitive advantages, know that its legal exposure is under control and remain resilient in the face of a disaster.

As an email archiving solution is expected to address some or all of the above challenges, organizations naturally have questions on how to deploy such a solution in the best way possible. A flexible archiving solution is therefore a must: being able to fit the current organization’s needs while also allowing for future growth and evolving demands.

A small organization of around 20 people would typically have a single server running Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS) which provides the essential functions of the email and file server, with optional database functionality. Such an organization would expect that its current investment in hardware is maximized and an email archiving solution made for such organizations must be able to run on SBS servers well.

As an organization grows, it may find SBS limiting and decide to deploy a second server. Being able to move the email archiving solution to the second server allows the primary server to continue running email and file serving duties while the second server has the resources necessary to handle the increase in email load as a result of the organization’s expansion. In this scenario, an email archiving solution that makes it a breeze to install on a server other than the Exchange server, and makes discovering and configuring Exchange as automatic as possible, would help the organization get up and running quickly with as few support calls as possible.

Virtualization is making inroads into IT from enterprise down to small businesses. Virtualization promises better hardware utilization and an email archiving solution that can also be deployed in a virtual machine is some more and more administrators are considering. This has the added advantage that, should IT decide to upgrade hardware resources, there would be minimal disruption to the existing architecture.

Disaster recovery and caution make an off-site backup necessary. SMEs can ask their existing IT provider to host their email archiving solution for them off-site to ensure resiliency in the face of disasters, natural or not. IT providers are better equipped to manage the email infrastructure and provide a comprehensive, cheaper service.

As organizations grow larger, an email archiving solution needs to scale with the increased demands placed on it, not only in terms of number of emails but also with changes in the organizational structure. An email archiving solution has to be flexible and should be designed to scale with such demands.

As we’ve seen, deploying an email archiving solution depends on the organization’s needs. This must be flexible to address the diverse range of needs and business challenges of each SME. The solution also needs to be flexible to handle the changing demands placed on it.

This guest post was provided by Brian Azzopardi on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. More information: GFI  email archiving .

All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.