Massillon City School District is a public school district serving around 4000 students across 6 schools in the city of Massillon, Ohio. The District didn’t have an email archiving solution in place, but needed one to stay in compliance with state and federal record retention regulations.
The challenge Massillon City School District was facing was related to extensive requirements and guidelines for managing email and other electronic messages that meet the criteria for records as defined by the Ohio Revised Code.
According to ORC Section 149.43, “all public records need to be promptly prepared and made available for inspection to any person at all reasonable times”. The document also makes it clear that backing the email system onto tapes is not an appropriate strategy for handling email records. It also deems offline storage as adequate, as the email messages are no longer searchable or retrievable in electronic form. In Ohio, retention periods vary from 6 months to permanently, depending on record category and transience.
The Solution that Meets Multiple Needs
Massillon City School District had to take the state and federal rules of evidence requirements into consideration. For records maintained in electronic form, courts focus on the reliability of systems used to produce records, which is why the District needed an archiving solution that could allow the administrator to prevent destruction of records for legal and audit purposes.
James Thom, Director of Technology at Massillon City School District, explained the criteria the email archiving solution had to meet: “We needed an email archiving system that would retain email messages in accordance with general retention schedules, prevent premature destruction, enhance accessibility and facilitate record management. When you get a record request, even though the deadlines are not as strict as in some other states, you need time to search for relevant information and some more time to have it reviewed. That’s why we needed a solution with a fast search and great export capabilities”.
“We needed an email archiving system that would retain email messages in accordance with general retention schedules, prevent premature destruction, enhance accessibility and facilitate record management.”
James Thom, Director of Technology
As they didn’t have any previous experience with email archiving, James and his team from Massillon City School District needed to carefully evaluate vendors and estimate which solution best fit their needs.
They set out to find a solution which would not only meet their requirements, but also be reliable and reasonably priced, since the District has to justify all expenses. An additionally challenging aspect of their requirements was the fact that they were using GroupWise at the time and had to find a solution that could support Groupwise without issues.
Responsiveness, Easy Implementation and Support
After coming across Jatheon, they scheduled a demo with a sales representative and purchased Jatheon’s email archiving appliance soon after. Thom said that the decision had to be made fast, and that the representatives from Jatheon were very responsive and provided all the necessary clarifications, information and answers.
Since the implementation, James and his team have been very satisfied with the product. The District has since switched to Exchange, and then to Gmail, but have remained faithful to Jatheon for email archiving services. They are especially pleased with its ability to work with multiple email servers seamlessly.
They use it to handle information requests, which often come through the treasure office or the superintendent. After conducting a search, they export the search results to PST files, which James described as a straightforward and fast process.
The technology department is satisfied that the messages are maintained in a format that preserves metadata, which facilitates access and retrieval. Although they prefer to keep all their email records permanently and have almost 12 million emails in the archive, James likes that the solution can automatically delete messages once their retention periods expire.
The team is particularly satisfied with Jatheon Care, the company’s maintenance and tech support plan. “The support is outstanding. The vendor is continually monitoring the appliance and alerts the District if something is going on.“
In conclusion, James points out that the solution has been extremely reliable, that it’s not prone to breakdowns and that it’s a “set it and forget it” type of solution that he would recommend at any time.