Compliance is not just archiving

Alasdair Kilgour, managing director of CommVault UK and Ireland looks at email archiving.

Since the collapse of Worldcom and Enron, organizations have been faced with an increasing number of compliance regulations, such as the Data Protection Act (DPA), the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Sarbanes Oxley and HIPPA . 
Given how pervasive email has become, it now has to be a central part of any compliance strategy. However, is compliance just about archiving? Well, it could cost a lot of money to think in that way.
When an email compliance request is raised it requires all of the information relating to the subject or individual concerned to be provided. Some of this may be in a compliance archive, some may be in a backup environment, some will be in a high availability production environment.

If several different software solutions - even if they are all supplied by one vendor - are managing each of these environments, then it requires a coordinated effort from several administrators to extract the data from each of the disparate environments because different skills are needed to manage each environment.
The complexity of this approach results in extra time and effort being expended - therefore it costs more to fulfil.

Combine that with the fact that many compliance requests legally require the data to be provided in a relatively short time scale or face a stiff financial penalty, then the risk that this approach introduces could be very costly indeed.
That is why organizations need to look for vendors that can assist them to meet the increased demands of the corporate compliancy by taking a unified approach to data management.

A unified approach data management means that all the software tools used to manage the data are built on a common code.

This means that to fulfil a compliance request one administrator can use a common search window that will search across all aspects of the data environment - the archive, the backup and the high availability production environment reducing complexity, time, cost (administration and hardware) and risk in one fell swoop. 

It's worth looking at more than just archiving for compliancy. Archiving is one part of the process but if the archiving tool is disconnected from the rest of the data management toolset it will have significant downsides and it will mainly be extra cost.

This article first appeared in ITNOWextra November 2006.