Getting started with email archiving can seem to be an easy task at first. The goals are fairly straightforward: generating a copy of emails made and storing them for later retrieval. However, four big tasks soon become apparent in every system.

An archiving system will serve multiple masters. If this fact is not anticipated and planned for right away, then who gets access and demands use of the archiving can get out of hand.

A big challenge is that knowledge of an archive system will often generate litigation activity. Any company that starts an archive approach becomes a target for attorneys to produce such information in discovery. Even if a system is not fully ready or its practical scope is far less than desired, litigation can get uncomfortable demanding information that may not exist without additional creation.

Protection of confidential information is critical in ensuring company trade secrets are not inadvertently lost or leaked. With electronic communications able to move gigabytes of information at the push of a button, email archiving is critical to stay up to speed with users and what they are sending back and forth internally. The day is long gone when it took an entire library to steal a company’s treasures; it can now be done with an email attachment or a flash drive.

Finally, storage becomes a huge task to handle. A gigabyte can represent a lot of emails and data, but active archiving can eat even this much storage up very quickly, especially when each user is actively creating 50 or more emails a day. A terabyte is easily the more common storage range on active servers as a starting point. Of course, this means the same has to be backed up for disaster recovery as well, doubling the effective storage demand.