IT organizations that take on archive administration in-house wrestle with some unique challenges today.
These organizations typically have several dedicated resources assigned specifically to archiving tasks. Those employees tend to be well paid, as their archiving skills are extremely specialized. They require special training and frequent refresher courses to maintain their knowledge and expertise. Should any of these employees leave the organization, the company immediately loses its investment in that IP and now faces the additional unforeseen costs of rehiring and retraining.
In organizations that don’t have dedicated resources, email administrators are often tapped to cross-train in the chosen archiving technology. These employees tend to be over-utilized and find themselves stretched pretty thin as they juggle archiving duties and email administrative activities.
But staffing complexities are just one of the critical challenges these organizations face. Key challenges for effective archiving also include:
- Elusive service levels. In many cases, archiving solutions are loosely managed. That results in a lack of SLAs (Service Level Agreements) and performance metrics. And that, in turn, can result in a general lack of confidence in data integrity. Small wonder that, according to Forrester Research Inc.’s Q1 2011 Global Message Archiving Online Survey, only 31% of message archiving owners reported that they have confidence in their archived data.
- Archiving solution inefficiencies. Organizations also often fail to realize the full value of new archiving technologies. They don’t take advantage of features that enable such archiving functionality as eDiscovery, Journaling, and Compliance. Other inefficiencies are introduced when policies aren’t well defined and enforced. This can occur when older, less frequently accessed data remains on primary storage instead of being moved to cheaper disk or tape. According to Gartner, approximately 70% of corporate data is duplicate and hasn’t been accessed in over 90 days.¹ So why keep it on top-tier storage?
- Variable costs. All companies feel the pressure to use existing resources for core revenue-generating projects. That can have an adverse effect on an organization’s archive operation. In many cases, organizations also struggle to achieve predictable archiving costs or to accurately forecast resource consumption. The sheer volume of information that continues to be generated only exacerbates this situation.
Given these ongoing challenges, what alternatives do organizations have?
For many organizations, cloud-based archiving services are the answer. They say they can eliminate the stress of data burdening their in-house IT structure—and in-house IT team. There’s also minimal or no hardware or software installed on-site. And operating expenditures are predictable, avoiding the use of Cap Ex to provide for—and anticipate uncertain future—storage needs.
But while cloud-based solutions can offer a fast track to best practice, it’s important to keep in mind that not all cloud vendors function at the same level. For example, not all vendors offer unlimited storage and retention. Nor do all vendors provide you with the same degree of control, customization, or product features. Organizations exploring a cloud solution also need assurance that their vendor can keep their sensitive data safe and help them meet compliance, legal, and regulatory requirements.
To provide enterprises with an efficient archive alternative, Symantec recently introduced Managed Enterprise Vault, a post-implementation monitoring, management, and support solution delivered by the company’s Business Critical Services team. Managed Enterprise Vault is intended for organizations that need to keep their sensitive data in-house but want to leverage the benefits associated with a remotely managed solution.
The service is delivered in collaboration with an organization’s IT team, which is then freed from day-to-day administrative tasks to concentrate on more strategic projects. However, relinquishing the daily duties associated with Enterprise Vault doesn’t mean giving up total control of the environment or the archived data itself. Managed Enterprise Vault plugs into the organization’s archive environment remotely to enable 24x7 monitoring, incident remediation, and regular reporting. This allows an organization to retain its server, storage, and data in-house, preserving its capital investment and maintaining control of the underlying hardware and network infrastructure.
Managed Enterprise Vault delivers to these strict service levels:
- 99.9% application availability for Enterprise Vault
- Archiving rate according to the performance guide
- Priority 1 incident response times of 15 minutes
- Monthly management reports that provide solution transparency and peace of mind
Because of the Business Critical Services team’s close ties to the Enterprise Vault engineering team, organizations also benefit as new features and functions become available in Enterprise Vault.
Bottom line: Managed Enterprise Vault can deliver consistent service at a predictable cost.
IT organizations today are challenged to store, manage, and discover an unprecedented amount of unstructured information, including messaging systems, file servers, social media communications, and collaborative systems. As a result, they must ensure that their archiving “ecosystem” is operating efficiently to realize the full value of their technology investment. For organizations that need to retain sensitive data on premise, while maximizing their archived data integrity, Managed Enterprise Vault offers a compelling alternative.
- ¹ “New Archiving Technologies That Deliver Cost Savings and More,” Sheila Childs, Gartner, December 2009