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Thanks to cloud, email migration doesn’t have to be a migraine

New cloud-based email management tools give enterprises better flexibility when it comes to email migration and archiving.

Cloud-based email eliminates IT's messaging infrastructure burdens and provides a number of benefits, but email migration to the cloud can be daunting. 

There are a number of tools, however, that simplify email migration for IT and provide additional services, such as email management, archiving and security.

This week, Metalogix Software, a content infrastructure provider, released its Total Email Management tool through Amazon Web Services (AWS). This tool will give enterprises several services to back data up into the cloud, including email archiving, security, migration and continuity.

The data can be migrated from anywhere, or in or out of the cloud. There are also additional services like encryption, protection of emails and not just for files, but protection from hacking and malware.

Emailing and archiving will be done solely through Metalogix, while other areas like security and email continuity will be in AWS, a company spokesperson said.

Time to ditch Exchange?

One of the reasons companies are moving away from on-premises email systems like Exchange Server to cloud-based ones is because they don’t have to deal with the work themselves.

“This is happening at an increasing pace,” said Alan Dayley, research director at Gartner Inc. in Stamford, Conn.

Organizations want to move from a Capex model to an Opex model and this is a natural step, he added.

“You don’t have all the capital costs and instead you have someone else do all the work,” said Laura DuBois, program vice president of storage for IDC Corp. in Framingham, Mass.

Metalogix's pricing varies based on customer needs. Factors such as the email system, amount of users, terabytes needed and what specifically needs to be done during the process are all taken into account.

For example, email archiving, security, server security, two Windows servers, one SQL , 1 TB of storage media, one year of support maintenance for 100 users and Microsoft Exchange would equal about $1,000 per month, a company spokesperson said.

Metalogix isn’t the first company to offer email archiving in the cloud.

Sonian offers cloud email archiving and they host it in AWS, too. EMC SourceOne and CommVault do this as well, but the difference is the user has to manually pick the cloud destination and that could be Amazon or Rackspace. Sonian and Metalogix both do the work themselves in Amazon, Daley said.

Email archiving in the cloud

Companies that choose to have a vendor help them move data off-premises to the cloud will find that there are a number of benefits.

“The benefit of archiving is you’ll have a copy of all your email records,” DuBois said. “You can find messages that were deleted. You’ll know they were retained based on regulatory rules [on deleted emails].”

Reducing costs is another benefit as cloud-based email allows companies to rid itself of expensive on-premises infrastructure, Dayley said.

“[They] don’t have to worry about doing upgrades," he said. "The overall costs can be lower when factoring in admin costs. They also can take advantage of new features in products faster.”

 Companies and IT should question what types of messages are necessary to retain.

“You have to balance how much you can keep and how much you can get rid of,” DuBois said. “Some emails are a waste of space. You want to retain records that are relevant to a particular subject. It’s not the message itself, but it’s the content of the message that matters.”

In addition, companies don’t have control over data if it’s in the cloud and no longer in a data facility.

“You’re basically entrusting someone else to protect your information,” said Colm Keegan, analyst at Storage Switzerland, LLC, an analyst focused on storage and the cloud, based in New York. “You assume they’re doing all the right things with your data.”

Another downside to email migration and archiving is discovery.

“If you’re trying to pull out a message for a lawsuit in court, it may take a while,” Keegan added. “The time to pull data out is time-consuming.”

On the flip side to saving money, according to one analyst, when archiving data to the cloud, the cost will depend on how a business model is built.

“The more you have to deal with legacy data, the more man power and service is required, therefore the fees will go up,” DuBois said.

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NSA PRISM documentations shows Public Cloud servers / Office 365 servers have Backdoor Access.
Don’t forget PST files that end users have on their systems. There could be very significant numbers of emails there that should really also be migrated into the cloud. Microsoft do provide a free tool for doing this, but it does have limitations and is only really suitable for smaller organisations. However there are some very good third-party PST migration tools available that are better suited for enterprise-level use.