The negative consequences of poor information management practices are starting to pile up.
According to Symantec's recently released 2010 Information Management Health Check
Survey, three-quarters of enterprise backups are configured for infinite retention or are on legal hold. The same survey found that while nearly 90% of enterprises believe in the value of a formal information retention plan, less than half actually have one.
And the consequences? They include rampant storage growth, unsustainable backup windows, increased litigation risk, and expensive and inefficient discovery processes.
Given the current economic climate, this state of affairs can’t continue.
Enterprise Vault 9.0, the latest release in Symantec’s Information Management Strategy, can help organizations manage these information challenges. Enterprise Vault enables organizations to delete confidently, discover efficiently, protect information completely, and deduplicate everywhere to eliminate redundant data. The bottom line: less time and money are spent on information management and e-discovery.
Continue reading to learn how Enterprise Vault is being used today to reduce email storage costs, improve workforce productivity, and better organize unstructured content for legal holds and record retention purposes.
In recent years, a leading food retailer in the U.K. has come to rely almost exclusively on email to manage its network of wholesale suppliers. Using email to negotiate prices and finalize deals simplifies the business process for the retailer’s buyers, but it also creates a potential liability.
For example, rather than attempt to decide which emails to keep and which to discard, employees routinely stored all of their emails. When the retailer issued rules capping the size of personal email boxes at 32 megabytes, many employees bypassed these controls through the use of personal mailboxes (PSTs), resulting in mailboxes as large as 2 gigabytes.
In addition, the retailer was experiencing a loss of productivity because employees couldn’t find the emails they needed. Hours were spent searching through saved and archived files for critical documents, ranging from contracts to new product announcements to financial reports. The IT staff was unable to deal with the volume of requests due to the administrative overhead involved with maintaining the day-to-day system.
As the head of corporate business control acknowledged at the time, there had to be a better way to handle email.
Following a three-month trial period, the retailer moved to a full deployment of Enterprise Vault, which now provides an audit trail for more than 20 million emails.
Instead of scrolling through long lists of saved emails, users can now search and retrieve content from an optional shortcut in their Microsoft Outlook interfaces or through Web-based search. The system compresses emails to reduce their volume, eliminating PST files and keeping a single copy of an attachment, regardless of how many people are copied.
“Now employees can forget about managing email for compliance and use their archived emails to improve productivity by quickly finding the information they are looking for,” says the head of corporate business control. “Our compliance solution works automatically behind the scenes. I’ve never lost a single email since we installed Symantec Enterprise Vault. And because we have proof of the terms and conditions our suppliers have agreed to, none of our legal disputes has ever gone to court. The number of disputes headed to our legal department for further action has also decreased—making my life much easier.”
The retailer now keeps all emails for a minimum of six years and then decides, based on business rules written into the system, whether to expunge them or retain them for a longer period.
The retailer estimates that Enterprise Vault has helped recover more than £15 million ($30 million) in unpaid supplier invoices over five years. In addition:
- By retrieving historical emails from one of the retailer’s buying departments, the IT team was able to retrieve £660,000 ($1.32 million) in unpaid supplier invoices. When confronted with the unpaid invoices, the supplier denied their existence, but the historical email correspondence proved otherwise.
- More than £300,000 ($600,000) was retrieved from a joint venture partnership. The legal fees associated with the partnership hadn’t been paid, and email evidence proved this—resulting in payment by the partner.
- One of the retailer’s suppliers went into receivership. The retailer had an outstanding claim of hundreds of thousands of pounds and provided the receivers with 973 emails supporting its case.
According to the head of corporate business control, Enterprise Vault has helped reduce email storage requirements by 30% while decreasing email storage growth by 50%. He estimates that the retailer achieved a 100% return on investment within four months.
“Enterprise Vault has helped us take a large, unmanaged mass of data and turn it into a corporate asset,” he says.
Several years ago, Symantec sought an archiving solution to support an internal Corporate Records Retention Program, an initiative that leveraged key legal, IT, product, and consulting personnel. Program goals were straightforward: greater operational efficiency, lower costs, and the ability to benefit from the company’s own technology.
Symantec faced several technology challenges as the program got under way. Chief among them was the need to consolidate the company’s email infrastructure. Symantec IT was managing approximately 100 Microsoft Exchange servers globally and purchasing more every year. Symantec wanted to reduce the number of servers throughout the company as a way to lower hardware, software, and maintenance costs.
At the same time, IT sought to develop a high-availability architecture for its Exchange environment. Normally when a server went down, IT would have to manually rebuild it. Clustering mailbox servers would minimize the impact of server maintenance or failures.
IT also needed to reduce email storage requirements. Given the cost of high-performance “tier 1” storage, IT wanted to compress email archives and incorporate lower-cost storage for email and journal archiving. It was also decided that no storage-related changes would be allowed to compromise access to information.
Following an initial deployment to the company’s executive team and select administrators, Enterprise Vault was rolled out to all 17,500 Symantec employees over the course of five months. The benefits were almost immediately apparent:
- Coinciding with the Enterprise Vault rollout, the Microsoft Exchange consolidation and clustering project reduced the number of servers by 54%--from 100 to 46. The Alchemy Solutions Group, in an economic impact analysis, estimated that Symantec saved more than $2.6 million in server hardware, software, maintenance, and IT labor costs from May 2006 through December 2009.
- Higher availability realized from clustering the Exchange servers enhanced both employee and IT productivity. Previously, server crashes occurred four times per year, with each occurrence affecting 1,000 employees and lasting 12 hours. With clustering, each server crash affects 3,000 employees for 1.5 hours. The Alchemy Group estimated that Symantec realized nearly $3.3 million in savings by consolidating and clustering Exchange servers between May 2006 and December 2009.
- Compressing tier 1 storage by 40% with Enterprise Vault saved Symantec nearly $800,000 from August 2007 through December 2009. In addition, as a result of archiving email with Enterprise Vault on less expensive disk space, Symantec reduced its storage costs by just over $1 million from August 2007 through December 2009.
- Enterprise Vault Discovery Accelerator, deployed to the e-discovery group, enabled Symantec to reduce the cost of outsourced external processing and hosting fees. Discovery Accelerator allowed Symantec to produce smaller, more targeted email data sets for outside counsel in litigation cases.
Enterprise Vault enables users to store, manage, and discover unstructured information across the organization. It helps customers deduplicate information at the source to reduce costs, protect information completely, delete information confidently, and discover information efficiently. As the two use cases above demonstrate, the robust archiving and retrieval capabilities of Enterprise Vault provide an opportunity for organizations to save costs and improve workforce productivity.