March 31, 2022 by Steven Tobolar

Exchange Journaling 101: All You Need to Know

Many business emails contain valuable or potentially sensitive information about business operations, initiatives, products and services, customer data, performance metrics, and other topics. Given the nature of these conversations, it’s in your best interests to develop and keep a corporate record of all emails, which you may then review at any time.

Email journaling in Microsoft Exchange is one of the means by which an organization can keep a corporate record of all email communications.

What Is Email Journaling and How Is It Different From Email Archiving?

Email journaling is the technique of creating shadow copies of every incoming and outgoing email and storing them in their own mailbox for an infinite amount of time.

It might sound the same as email archiving, but email journaling and email archiving are two distinct concepts.

Email journaling, as previously said, creates a copy of an email and keeps it in a mailbox on your main server. Email archiving, on the other hand, saves important storage space by moving the original copy of an email to off-site storage — generally a hosted, cloud-based server.

In terms of searchability, email archives are more user-friendly than journal mailboxes. In addition, unlike the contents of an email archive, the contents of a journal mailbox can be erased by any user with administrative access.

Both practices have their own set of benefits, and when combined, they make for effective regulatory compliance tools for replicating evidence in the event of an ediscovery or FOIA request or lawsuit.

Related: Email Archiving vs. Email Journaling – What Do You Need?

What Is Exchange Journaling and How Does It Work?

The Exchange Journal Mailbox was originally introduced in 2010 in response to a new requirement from the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).

Exchange’s built-in journaling agent captures messages, which are known as journal reports. Journal report is then saved as an unalterable file attachment and creates summary information from the original message, which is a method known as envelope journaling. The sender’s and recipient’s email addresses, as well as the email’s subject, are included in this summary information.

There are two email journaling modes available in Exchange Server: standard and premium journaling.

With standard journaling, all messages delivered to or received by mailboxes inside a given mailbox database are captured

On the other hand, premium journaling allows authorized users to configure journaling rules within Active Directory (AD). These rules specify which messages the journaling agent should collect, and they should include the:

  • journal recipient,
  • journal rule scope and
  • journaling mailbox.

The journal recipient and journal mailbox have a direct impact on your storage resources. Selecting individual recipients or groups of recipients for journal recipients, rather than your entire organization, can drastically minimize the amount of storage required for Exchange journaling.

Journaling mailboxes must be able to handle the maximum message size allowed in your organization; Microsoft advises that users disable storage quota constraints on journaling mailboxes based on this information.

Journal rule scope is a method that replicates any configuration changes made to journal rules stored in AD between domain controllers in your organization using the Transport service. Delays in replication can arise due to causes outside Exchange’s control.

If your Exchange Journal Mailbox becomes inaccessible for any reason, you can establish an alternate journaling mailbox to hold journal reports until your Exchange Journal Mailbox becomes available, rather than allowing them to languish in the Mailbox servers’ mail queues. Simply utilize the Send Again function to transmit journal reports to their original destination once your journaling mailbox is back online.

Cloud-based Exchange Journaling

If you want to use Exchange journaling but don’t want to use up valuable on-premises storage, there are cloud-based options.

If you’re currently using Exchange Server, for example, you might want to consider switching to Exchange Online, which is totally cloud-based and has Microsoft’s built-in disaster recovery capabilities.

Partnering with a third-party cloud provider is another option, though it’s crucial to thoroughly analyze each vendor’s criteria before making the transfer.

The Advantages of Exchange Journaling

Ensuring Regulatory Compliance

Whether your company is in the healthcare industry, the finance industry, or anywhere in between, you’re probably subject to a few rules, some of which may include explicit wording about record preservation. By establishing an immediately available, unimpeachable record of all email communications, Exchange journaling takes the guessing out of compliance.

The following is a summary of some of the more well-known US and international regulations where Exchange journaling can assist with compliance:

  • Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (SOX)
  • Security Exchange Commission Rule 17a-4 (SEC Rule 17a-4)
  • Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA)
  • Financial Institution Privacy Protection Act of 2001
  • Financial Institution Privacy Protection Act of 2003
  • Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (Financial Modernization Act)
  • Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (Patriot Act)
  • European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Proactive Ediscovery Planning

Exchange journaling makes it simple for enterprises to immediately reproduce journal reports in the case of an eDiscovery request by creating an accurate and unalterable record of all or selected email communications.

Tamper-proof Records

Exchange journaling creates a readily searchable archive of immutable information, whether you want to guarantee that your employees’ conversations with customers fulfill quality requirements or your HR department has to check journal reports as part of an ongoing internal investigation.

Best Practices for Journaling

After configuring Exchange journaling, you should follow these recommended practices to ensure that it functions as smoothly as possible:

  • To avoid performance difficulties, you should employ at least one journaling mailbox per mail server because Exchange can only support mailboxes under 5–10G.
  • When drafting journal rules, work closely with your organization’s legal and compliance departments to verify that they conform with all applicable legislation.
  • To save space on your hard drive, enable circular logging in your mailbox database.
  • To prevent unwanted users from accessing your journaling mailbox, create a strong mailbox password.
  • Ensure that your journaling mailbox only accepts mail from Microsoft Exchange and authorized senders.
  • To cover all of your bases, use real-time email archiving and email journaling.

Combine Exchange Journaling With Email Archiving

If you’re looking for an archiving solution to go along with your freshly installed Exchange journaling system, Jatheon is a good place to start. Jatheon’s email archiving solutions are the ideal companion to Microsoft Exchange, with comprehensive advanced search features, all-in-one ediscovery features, and three deployment choices — on-premise, virtual, and cloud email archiving.

To learn how Jatheon can help you meet compliance requirements in your industry, contact us or book a no-commitment demo of our system.

Read Next:

Five Reasons to Avoid Stubbing in Email Archiving

Microsoft Exchange vs. Outlook Comparison: Which One to Choose?

Five Best Microsoft Exchange Alternatives

About the Author
Steven Tobolar
Steven Tobolar is Jatheon’s Head of Tech Support and an experienced engineer specializing in large-scale migration projects, AWS, Exchange Servers, and Microsoft Azure. Outside work, he enjoys reading, movies, off-road driving, and mountain biking.

See how data archiving can simplify compliance and ediscovery for your organization

Book a short demo to see all the key features in action and get more information.

Get a Demo

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap