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Startup Tackles E-Mail E-Discovery

Fortiva has launched an archiving service to address e-discovery for e-mail. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) demand that enterprises involved in litigation be able to produce relevant e-mails within prescribed time limits.
Fortiva has launched an archiving service to address e-discovery for e-mail. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP) demand that enterprises involved in litigation be able to produce relevant e-mails within prescribed time limits.Fortiva's SmartStore archiving service is aimed at businesses that want an alternative to deploying an e-discovery solution in-house.

Fortiva walks the line between a premises-based and fully outsourced solution. The company deploys an appliance on customer premises that integrates with Exchange and Active Directory to encrypt and send all messages to Fortiva's data centers. Customers create a retention policy, and all mail is archived with Fortiva according to that policy.

The service lets admins or legal run Web-based searches to produce relevant messages when demanded by litigants. It also can enforce litigation holds on e-mail to ensure that relevant messages aren't deleted.

The messaging infrastructure remains on premises and managed by your internal IT staff, but archiving and retention happen off-site. This can lower your TCO because you don't incur the capital and maintenance costs of an e-mail archiving system, while still retaining some control over your mail infrastructure. It also provides ad-hoc disaster recovery -- if your headquarters suffers a flood, fire, or other catastrophe, your e-mail stores are off-site.

The market is bustling with variations on this semi-SaaS model. Google, which acquired the e-mail SaaS vendor Postini, takes a similar approach. Instead of an appliance, you simply redirect your Exchange MX record to point to the Postini/Google data center. Google offers archiving and e-discovery services in addition to malware and spam-filtering capabilities.

Microsoft's hosted Exchange services, which were boosted by its acquisition of Frontbridge, also offers a similar feature set.

Other vendors include MessageOne, which provides a similar set of services to Fortiva.

Fortiva's SmartStore archive starts at $1.10 per user per month for 1,000 users. There's also a one-time setup fee for the appliance.