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More Companies Consider Cloud-based E-mail Management Services, Survey Finds

The ever-increasing load of E-mail that companies are amassing continues to be a top challenge for IT departments. To help manage all that data--and the issues that go along with it, such as over-burdened staff, overloaded storage solutions and legal and compliance policies--more and more organizations are considering cloud-based E-mail management solutions, according to new study conducted by IDG Research Services. The study was sponsored by Iron Mountain.

The study queried IT and business executives at 115 organizations in the United States in the first half of 2009 to better understand the current state of E-mail management. The strategies and tactics large companies are using to reduce the costs and risks associated with E-mail's growing complexity, according to Iron Mountain, a provider of records management and data protection solutions, includes a cloud-based E-mail management service.

Ensuring access to E-mail is critical. In fact, 82 percent of the respondents reported that E-mail downtime at their companies would have a critical or high impact on productivity. Even as E-mail access is vital, companies are struggling with the high-costs of managing it, particularly because many organizations' IT budgets are flat or even reduced, says Claire Lima, senior product manager for digital archive at Iron Mountain. According to the survey findings, 71 percent indicate their IT organizations have been tasked with finding more cost-effective ways to manage E-mail, and 57 percent have been asked to do so within the next 12 months.

It is important to note that while respondents cited cost as an area that needs the most improvement when considering their current E-mail solutions, cost ranked the lowest when those surveyed were asked what the top drivers were behind their E-mail management strategies. Business continuity, disaster recovery, compliance with federal, state and/or industry regulations, and eliminating E-mail downtime were the top drivers.
Lima says these seemingly opposing factors reveal that while "cost is highly important, companies are not looking for the cheapest solution out there."

That's likely because E-mail continues to grow in importance and complexity. "There is an incredible amount of complexity being thrown to the IT departments and they are struggling," Lima says. She adds that a few years back, companies sought out cloud-based or hosted E-mail management solutions for very specific reasons, most often to meet compliance guidelines, specifications or legislation. "But now we are seeing that companies are considering hosted e-mail for cost reasons, and for dealing with all the complexities of E-mail that add a lot of burden to IT," she says.

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