Email archiving seems to be a natural place to think of using a managed service option. You can avoid the cost and hassle of maintaining the storage media, and still have the search and availability of archived items that you would with onsite storage. Typically, Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions have been popular mainly with small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs), but it appears that situation is changing. In fact, as Paul D'Arcy, vice president of marketing for MessageOne, said, "It's one of the very few places where we see very large companies looking almost exclusively at software as a service options. A lot of people think of SaaS as a small business solution, but increasingly this is a place where IT organizations who have the capability to build and manage things themselves are deciding that the best approach is actually to look at a managed service option."

The need for effective email archiving is being driven largely by worries about compliance and litigation. One of the related problems for IT staffs is simply not knowing what regulations they're responsible under and possibly not even knowing their organization's requirements. Obviously, such companies are in for some trouble if they should suddenly face an e-discovery request. Having a managed service for email archiving can help here, as well. Regarding this corporate fear of litigation, D'Arcy said, "It's one of the drivers we see for organizations: outsourcing archives so they've got a third-party custodian." The belief is that CIOs and other company execs don't want to be questioned about how they're archiving, what they're archiving, and so forth; if the archive is managed by a service provider rather than inhouse, that line of questioning becomes much less interesting for the investigators because you've got the service provider’s experts to answer for you.

MessageOne recently enhanced its SaaS email archiving solution, Email Management Services (EMS) Archive, to make it even more attractive to enterprise customers. By implementing a new capture mechanism that doesn't rely on Microsoft Exchange Server journaling, customers are able to deploy EMS Archive to protect any subset or combination of users—you no longer have to archive by server or storage group. To provide this capability, EMS Archive is natively compatible with Exchange and also communicates with Active Directory (AD). An additional benefit of targeted archiving is the ability to quickly get archiving in place for pending litigation by focusing just on the affected users. EMS Archive is deployed through an onsite appliance that's managed remotely by MessageOne.

Now, to help you understand and implement an effective email archive, Windows IT Pro is presenting a live Webcast, sponsored by MessageOne. Featuring a couple of expert speakers in the field of email archiving, "Critical Challenges of E-mail Retention" will address topics such as what messages organizations need to keep, where the storage should be located, and how long messages must be archived. This free live event is Thursday, February 7, 12:00 p.m. ET. You can register here.

UPDATE: The live event from February 7, 2008, is now available as an On-Demand Web Seminar, which you can access here