There are times when you no doubt wish you hadn’t deleted an e-mail. But look at it this way, you’re probably not alone. Less than half of medium-sized businesses have implemented e-mail archiving, and of those that do, 1 in 4 tend to rely on end-users to do the backups themselves. That’s the finding of a new survey conducted by eMediaUSA on behalf of GFI Software—the latter being a developer of e-mail archiving solutions.
Earlier this year I wrote about the why’s and how’s e-mail archiving, but it does come as a bit of a shock that more than half of small companies in the U.S. do not currently have an e-mail archiving system in place.
The eMediaUSA survey also found that 33 percent of those backing up regularly still rely on tape backups. And among those companies that maintained e-mail (on tape or otherwise) the top reasons for retaining e-mails:
39 percent for internal inquiries and investigations
31 percent for backup of communications
28 percent for compliance purposes
27 percent for reducing the load of mail quotas on Exchange Servers
This eMediaUSA survey also found that about 35 percent of the companies that do archive e-mail actually rely on the individual end-user, the employee, to maintain their archives. That’s worrisome because backing up is not something employees always take seriously. Of those SMBs that did not back up, they gave the following reasons:
26 percent said the company was too small to need an archiving solution
21 percent said they are not impacted by compliance regulations
26 percent said there was simply no budget to do backups
23 percent said e-mail was already stored on a mail server
These numbers are surprising, especially the response that there is no budget to do backups. Apparently retention of sensitive information and communication isn’t in the budget? That’s particularly worrisome, and for many SMBs e-mail should be taken as seriously as other data.
As I touched on previously, employers should make a checklist to determine how important e-mail backup is to the business. This should include at minimum the following questions:
- Is company or federal regulation required for the archiving of industry communication?
- What types and how much e-mail communication should be backed up?
- Does this include e-mail from support staff, or just those with financial clients or others dealing with business arrangements?
- Do you have the personnel support and space for an additional server, should you opt for this method of backing up?
Some final numbers from the eMediaUSA survey show that in some cases it is actually better to be safe than sorry, and hopefully SMBs are getting the message:
25 percent archive e-mails indefinitely, while 21 percent keep them 6 months to a year
47 percent have had to at one point search for an old or deleted e-mail because of compliance purposes
29 percent say it typically takes less than an hour to find an e-mail from 15 months ago or longer
40 percent do not feel they are sufficiently informed about compliance and e-mail archiving issues.