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Poll reveals IT managers' e-mail archiving concerns

Our online poll reveals users want to archive e-mail so they can retrieve messages efficiently. Yet, many still do not see archiving as a top priority.

The desire for improved data management and data recovery is driving many IT managers to buy e-mail archiving products. Yet, despite concerns about compliance and litigation, many still do not see e-mail archiving as a priority.

An ongoing online poll conducted by asked IT administrators to weigh in on their primary motivation for implementing an e-mail archiving product. Out of almost 100 administrators who responded, 36% said better data management and recovery was the driving factor for purchasing an archiving system.

"We do a lot of our order taking through e-mail, so we need to be able to retrieve information quickly," said Gary DeSando, a systems analyst with Brockway-Smith Company (Brosco), a millwork products distributor based in Andover, Mass. "We're trying to plan for a worst-case scenario."

Other users also want to plan for the future, but their concerns hinge more on the possibility of lawsuits, fines or worse. Citing existing laws, about 16% gave Sarbanes-Oxley or HIPAA as the reason they are putting a message archive system in place. About 18% said litigation concerns had them looking into archive products.

"You can still get in a lot of trouble, even though this stuff isn't very clear," said Mark Diamond, president of Contoural Inc., a data and storage consulting firm in Los Altos, Calif.

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E-mail archiving: Hot or not?

One size doesn't fit all e-mail archive policies and products

Yet, despite the implications of failing to comply with legislation, 29% said they currently have no plans to implement an e-mail archiving product. For some, the reason for passing on archive products is simple: Not everyone needs to archive their messages.

"We don't have the statutory requirements," said J. Phillip Miller, a professor and senior member of the IT management department at Washington University in St. Louis. "Now, some people archive e-mail forever and ever, but we don't have to."

Results for the poll are ongoing. Users can weigh in at

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