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Interest Grows in Email Archiving Services

Like other segments of the software market, there is movement in email archiving to offer archiving services as a replacement for or a companion to traditional archiving systems. These services are usually offered under the SaaS, or software-as-a-service, label. And there is growing interest in these archiving services among companies that are looking to relieve overburdened IT staff or those that are seeking more features and functionality than they can afford to buy with tight budgets for new technology systems.

"Small and medium-sized businesses are becoming more interested in email archiving services, and SaaS is a good option for them," says Michael Osterman, principal analyst with Osterman Research , which expects these services to account for about two thirds of total archiving market revenues of $1.5 billion in 2011, compared to about one third of a $609 million market in 2008.

The rising interest has attracted a variety of outsourcers, service providers, and other vendors. Autonomy Corp. , Dell Inc. (Nasdaq: DELL), Global Relay, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), LiveOffice LLC , Mimecast, and Proofpoint Inc. are among the firms delivering these services. The number of options is expected to rise as message security service providers, Microsoft Exchange managed service suppliers, and online backup companies increasingly view archiving as a natural addition to their service menu.

There are a number of reasons why businesses and other enterprises are moving to SaaS offerings. First, these services offer companies the potential to save money. Paying a monthly charge will be less costly upfront -- and in some cases throughout the life of the service -- than purchasing email archiving software and servers. Reduced staffing is a related potential benefit. Companies will not have to hire IT staff to run the email archiving system and can hand that task off to a third party. In some cases, companies started out managing an email archive themselves and later decided to hand that task over to someone else.

While many companies start an SaaS examination by looking at the ways that outsourcing can save them money, there are other potential benefits. An outsourcer may be more familiar with email archiving problems and move to resolve them more quickly. There also is the potential for a service provider to be more innovative, add new features, or offer more flexible services than an in-house staff. Also, outsourcing can free up internal IT resources, so companies can focus on core business issues.

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