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The Archive In The Sky

LiveOffice launches an e-mail archiving service, but competitors abound.

LiveOffice launches an e-mail archiving service, but competitors abound.Yesterday, LiveOffice launched LiveOffice Mail Archive. It plucks a copy of all mail from your Exchange servers and sends it to the company's data centers, where it is indexed for search and stored for as long as you like. The company targets small and medium-sized businesses. Its sweet spot is organizations with 1,000 to 1,200 mail boxes.

Mail Archive complements LiveOffice's original SaaS archiving service, which is aimed specifically at the financial services sector.

Mail Archive has a number of features to help companies find e-mail relevant to litigation -- a key driver of e-mail archiving. It uses the open-source Lucene search engine to index message headers, message content, and attachments. The resulting index assists in legal discovery searches or internal investigations.

Adminstrators or counsel can tag searched e-mail with a case number, which automatically enforces a legal hold that prevents tagged messages from being deleted. The service also provides single-instance storage, so that only one copy of each message and attachment actually gets stored.

LiveOffice creates a unique identifier for each message by running a hash algorithm. The hash signature can be used to demonstrate the message hasn't been changed or tampered with.

Mail also can be exported in PST format. This is useful if mail needs to be imported into a litigation support tool for further analysis. Opposing parties and courts also may want evidentiary e-mail produced in the PST format.

On the downside, while the company encrypts messages in transit from your mail servers to its data centers using TLS or a point-to-point VPN, it doesn't encrypt stored messages. To my mind, this is a significant oversight. It's hard enough for a provider to earn customer trust; storing messages in the clear raises that hurdle.

It also hurts on the competitive front, given that archiving service providers such as MessageOne and Fortiva do encrypt stored messages.

LiveOffice recently hired Nick Mehta as its CEO. Before taking over the company, Mehta was VP and General Manager of Symantec Enterprise Vault, the market-leading premises archive product.

Pricing for the archive service starts at $8 per user per month. The cost goes down based on the number of mail boxes supported. The company also offers a hosted Exchange service, and can bundle it with the archive features.

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