Email Archiving has been around for quite a while now and according to a 2009 study (The Radicati Group “E-Mail Archiving Market, 2009-2013“) the market is predicted to grow from $2.1 billion back in 2009 to over $5.1 billion by 2013. The IT landscape has changed significantly since the first Email Archiving solutions emerged and some of these changes also seem to have an impact not only on the general SMB/SME email needs, but also on their email archiving needs.

Mailbox Limit

The growing popularity and widespread use of web based email has changed the way people use email. Google’s philosophy with Gmail to encourage users never to delete an email but to simply archive old emails was truly groundbreaking. Upon launch Gmail offered a massive 1 GB (now >7.4 GB) of free storage which dwarfed its competitors’ Microsoft Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail meagre 2 and 4 Mb respectively. A direct result of this has seen business users question their often very small business mailbox size limits and demand to be able to archive all business emails. Business users also want seamless access to all their emails including the archived ones.

Cloud

There has been a move from on-premise software solutions to cloud based Software as a Service or a hybrid mix of both. A number of businesses have taken the leap and removed their on-premise Microsoft Exchange mail server and now use a hosted Exchange Server or even a completely different type of email server altogether. From an email archiving point of view it would make sense for some organisation to have their entire email archive stored in the cloud as well, but there seems to be some wariness about its security and an uncertainty about any legal implications it may have.

Conversations, Folders and Tagging

Traditionally email clients were based around an inbox and sent items folder and users organized the emails they received in folders and sub-folders. Gmail was also one of the first to never look at emails as separate messages, but always presents emails in context as part of a conversation. Web 2.0 also popularized the practice of tagging. Gmail manages folders as merely tags and each email conversation can have more than one tag (e.g. “Inbox”, “Sales”, “Company X” …). From an email archive point of view, it makes perfect sense to organize archived emails as conversations using tags, especially for Retention, Compliance and eDiscovery purposes.

Instant Messaging

More and more businesses have started to use Instant Messaging as yet another communication channel. This means that these communication records may need to be retained in the same way emails are retained.

There are many more changes which have impacted the way the typical SMB/SME uses electronic messaging. What are the main features you require from your ideal archiving solution and would your business prefer an on-site, appliance or hosted solution?