Send It Out: The Resurgence Of Storage As A Service

If an in-house compliance archive is out of reach, consider outsourcing.
It used to be that IT groups resisted using external services for their compliance archives, concerned that putting valuable data in someone else's hands would heighten the risk of exposure, loss, and availability lapses. Today's online archive providers, including big players EDS, EMC, IBM Global Services, Network Appliance, and Sun Microsystems, have gone to great lengths to address these fears by hosting their archive infrastructures in state-of-the-art data centers with redundant power and Internet providers. The investment has paid off: In 2006, the worldwide storage service market was worth about $25 billion, according to Gartner; it should grow to $33 billion by 2010.

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Our take: When you must retrieve data fast--and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure now require that parties to a lawsuit produce evidence much more quickly than in the past--having access to a staff that lives and breathes archiving day in and day out is worth its weight in subpoenas. Applications that generate revenue, or help desk calls, get in-house admins' attention first.

To get started with storage as a service, consider e-mail. Because Exchange provides a journal interface for archiving, and e-mail has well-defined metadata in the header that can be used to set retention policies, a variety of providers have gotten into the act. Companies can implement online e-mail archiving with little to no capital expense in just a few days. In comparison, installing a fixed content storage system and integrating it with e-mail archiving software is a substantial project. This makes online archiving especially attractive to smaller organizations. Zantaz's First Archive on Demand service leverages its EAS e-mail archiving system to provide an online service, while MessageOne and Mimecast take a slightly different approach, building integrated e-mail management services that provide continuity and message management for Exchange as well as an archive.

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Data Compliance: Guilty Until Proven Tamperproof

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