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More E-mail Management Tips

You can't have message management without messaging policies and you can't have policies until managers can decide and agree on what they should be. Ferris Research recently published a list of some of the key decisions in implementing messaging a document archiving projects.

The first thing on the list should be rather obvious, but determining who has responsibility for archiving can set the tone for the whole project. Raise your hand IT department because it can't be left up to users. Users will apply their own logic to the problem or just assume that someone else is doing it behind the scenes. And who else can build a policy-driven automated archiving system that makes you users' assumption valid?

The next tip from Ferris: make sure your mobile users are kept in the archiving loop. Not only do you need to make sure the documents housed on mobile devices get properly archived, those road warriors also need access to their archived messages. Ferris recommends they access their repositories in an offline state. That means you need to make it easy to sync with the archive when they connect to the network.

The next decision will cut across many functional boundaries and bring the legal and compliance folks to the table in a big way: deciding what types of documents need to be archived. This decision can cause so much internal debate that organizations end up throwing in the towel and instituting an archive-everything policy. There's not much to offer in the way of advice here because every organization has its unique requirements and obligations. Archiving everything might remove the debate but leave a mess on the back end when documents need to be discovered and produced. There are no standards to rely on here so if you opt for an archiving system with its own policy engine, do plenty of testing before you deploy to make sure it is archiving what you tell it to archive. For now, err on the side of caution.Here's some good advice: We all know how e-mail client applications allow users to set up their own rules for managing messages. But these rules don't migrate when their local PST files are stored in an archival repository. Ferris recommends scanning the user's MAPI profile, disabling the rules, and then manually mapping the client rules into server-side rules.

Likewise, the user's folder structure should also be maintained. Some archiving products preserve the folder structure by performing a folder synchronization to ascertain the message stub location. Ferris warns that privacy concerns are likely to surface as user folders get archived, so setting up access rights is critical.

And finally, a compliance concern: employees and their mailboxes tend to move around to different locations within a company and certain compliance rules may dictate that archived data from one location can not be co-mingled with data from another. If that is the case, you might have to leave the archived data behind when migrating mailboxes. If compliance is not a concern, Ferris recommends transferring the archive as part of the mailbox migration.