Jan 16 2008

Help Is on the Way

These products can meet the archiving and searching demands of e-discovery.

These products can meet the archiving and searching demands of e-discovery.

The new electronic discovery laws mean IT departments have to retain e-mail and other digital documents in case they are needed as evidence in lawsuits. Most IT leaders have probably told staffers to archive their own e-mail or to print the messages that need to be retained and keep them. Unfortunately, this isn’t good enough any longer.

Now these documents and others, such as network activity logs, digital recordings and voice mail, must be retained as long as the school policy states. Luckily, technology is able to help; products designed to handle e-discovery typically allow the administrator to archive, index, classify and search content.

Symantec Enterprise Vault

Symantec Enterprise Vault is one of the better-known products in the e-discovery toolset. The flexibility and thoroughness of Enterprise Vault is really what sets this product apart. E-mail archiving can be configured for Microsoft Exchange, Lotus Domino and SMTP servers. Enterprise Vault can also integrate file systems, content management systems, SharePoint sites and instant messaging content. A typical deployment of Enterprise Vault would consist of two servers: One would act as the indexing and archiving server; the second would be a Microsoft SQL Server. The SQL server is required for storing the configuration data and item archiving. Users can search archived data through a simple Web interface.

GFI MailArchiver

GFI MailArchiver is a software solution that can reside on your Microsoft Exchange Server or on a separate server. MailArchiver uses the journaling feature of Exchange to archive all copies of messages into either a Microsoft SQL database, its own SQL database engine or a file system. MailArchiver will also allow employees to search through their own e-mail for lost or deleted messages that no longer show up in Outlook. This feature can reduce the workload on IT departments.

Administrators (and users) can search e-mail through several criteria, as well as search the contents of any attached files. The interface is Web-based; there’s no need to load software on client stations. Administrators can import PST files, ending the dependence on archiving all messages in the cumbersome PST file format. Pricing is based on the number of active mailboxes on the Exchange Server.

Barracuda Message Archiver

Like other offerings from Barracuda Networks, its Message Archiver is an appliance-based solution. The appliance will instantly archive and index all e-mail, allowing immediate retrieval by authorized users. The device can integrate with Microsoft Exchange, taking advantage of the journaling feature to retrieve the messages. Most other e-mail servers can be configured to send copies of all e-mail to a specific address, which is then retrievable by the Message Archiver system.

Once installed, the system requires minimal maintenance. There are three models of Archiver, depending on the size of your organization or how many messages you need to retain. In addition to archiving, the system will allow the administrator to set up alerts to notify administrators when policies are violated. Barracuda Message Archiver has no per-user license fees.

Sony Intradyn ComplianceVault

Intradyn and Sony have partnered on the ComplianceVault appliance. This system is based on Sony’s AIT tape drive with WORM (write-once, read-many) technology. The appliance installs in a manner consistent with other e-mail archiving appliances and can be set up in 10 minutes or less. The ComplianceVault supports virtually all POP3- or IMAP-compliant mail servers, as well as Microsoft Exchange and digital faxes. Conversations in instant messaging systems from Akonix or IMLogic can be archived as well. The system continuously archives all e-mail from the mail server and can keyword search 1 million e-mail messages per second.

All e-mail is stored to the 1 terabyte of internal drive storage and copied to WORM tapes to ensure the archives cannot be tampered with. The ComplianceVault does not require any per-user licenses and is offered in several storage sizes.

There are several ways to satisfy your e-mail archiving needs, and this list is not complete. When choosing your solution, consider what capabilities you need, as well as your deployment concerns. All of these products are designed to reduce search time. These systems can pay for themselves quickly if your district is involved in any lawsuits or public records requests.