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Office 365 Email Archiving – The 8 Pitfalls

If you have just moved to Office 365 or are thinking about a move, it’s time to pay attention. Here are the top 8 pitfalls of Office 365 Email Archiving.

As organizations herd towards Office 365 as a one-stop shop for the management of email, social networking, and conferencing, some of them are also consider embracing the Office 365 email archiving capabilities. As part of Microsoft’s pitch, they offer Exchange online archiving and vows to solve eDiscovery, regulatory and compliance challenges.

Today we are here to ask the question – can Office 365 email archiving match the functionality, capabilities, usability, and performance offered by dedicated third-party solutions? Let’s review in more detail. 

The attraction of Office 365 is that it offers an organization multiple plans for multiple types of business and their specific user needs. However, with these range of plans comes a variation in functionality. For example, with some plan’s users have access to Office 365 Email Archiving capabilities through exchange online, these plans boast functionality for legal discovery and compliance and analysis of data. The advertisement that Exchange Online gives a company “archiving ability,” is not the full story and here is why.

If you have just moved to Office 365 or are thinking about a move, it’s time to pay attention.

Here are the top 8 pitfalls of Office 365 Email Archiving.

1. Legacy Email Import and Exporting Emails in Office 365 Email Archiving

Migrating to Office 365 is not for the faint-hearted. The process of migrating legacy emails creates a period of limbo where users do not know where to access their emails, as well as being a time-consuming process that requires not only suitable time management but also additional tools and resources.

There is also the risk of data loss when migrating to Office 365, for the process to go smoothly it will require additional resources or the support of Microsoft. Which can add more expensive to an already costly solution.

3rd party solutions like MailMeter with Office 365 provides a safety blanket by creating a copy of your data before it is migrated. This provides you with a fall back if something goes wrong, or the process is delayed. Users can also access this copy of your data during the migration process meaning they will still have access to their historical mail. 

MailMeter improves Office 365 by giving you an archive that the entire company can search through. Also using MailMeter you can also restore emails to a mailbox rather than creating untrustworthy .pst files.

2. Proactive vs Reactive Archiving –

Best practice suggests that archiving policy decision making should occur at a corporate level or at least by a dedicated administrator with that responsibility. Best practice also suggests that organizations should archive all incoming and outgoing email across the entire business. The decision on which emails to archive and which to delete should not end up in the hands of all employees. This is for many reasons, an email gets deleted that should have been saved, internal disputes, someone covering their tracks, an email deleted in error, loss in productivity as users are wasting too much time making judgement calls on each email. When a user misplaces an email or deletes it later realizing that it was in fact needed, they will typically contact their Office 365 administrator to try and retrieve the email. However, it will not be there are it was never archived in the first place. Defeating the whole purpose of archiving.

3. Running a Search on Exchange Search

The search functionality on Office 365 email archive/ Exchange Search is not without its limitations. The main concern is that Exchange search is unable to search for misspellings and proximity parameters.

Third-party archiving solutions have the advantageous benefit of powerful and customizable search tools that allow quick access to your archived information when time matters the most. It has search abilities that let you search through terabytes of data using Boolean, proximity, fuzzy, boosted, and regular expressions (REGEX) searches. You can then narrow down your search and filter the search results, leaving you with a manageable amount of data. Searches can be saved, and previous searches can be re-executed.

Third party solutions for Office 365 email archiving like MailMeter, can capture an absolute copy of all emails sent and received by your organization. Journaling and Historical Capture helps ensure full message capture for compliance and eDiscovery purposes–even if an end-user deletes or alters a message in Office 365, the original, unaltered copy remains in the archive. All emails are single instance, digitally stamped and encrypted so you can prove the email has not been edited or tampered with.

4. In-Place Hold, Litigation Hold, and In-Place Discovery

As mentioned above Office 365 gives end users freedom to manage and manipulate their email and does not offer much control over what they do. The application does offer the functionality of in place hold, litigation hold and in place eDiscovery for an organizations regulatory compliance, however the retention capabilities are considerably basic where users can apply tags to retain their own emails. However, organizations need to ask themselves is this enough, will this ensure full compliance with regulatory bodies.

Do not forget that to ensure full compliance and prevent premeditated or unintended deletion of important business data, such responsibilities should not be left to the end users.

Having an unaltered archive is vital for successful eDiscovery and compliance audits. If an end users can delete or modify email data, as they can in Office 365, it is unlikely that your organization will be able to prove compliance.

The information an organization chooses not to retain is as important as the information they choose to retain. MailMeter allows you to implement retention policies to meet regulations, by users, departments, keywords, phrases, attachments to meet the various complex retention regulations in your sector and not just by a generic date. Keep what you need, which is key article under GDPR and best practice data protection.

5. Easy to Use and Useful Features –

The interface of office 365 email archive is overwhelming,even as an administrator the platform requires a serious amount of effort to use. Tasks that are simple in third party email archiving solutions such as assigning roles to users and setting up user permissions are complex.

Organizations need to search through millions of email and file data in seconds. Third Party solutions like MailMeter use an advanced search interface that provides extremely fast response times, enabling you to respond to legal discovery requests quickly and easily.

MailMeter can be used straight away by everyone, end users, legal, governance and IT departments to efficiently preserve, collect, search, and prove data management. There is no requirement for expensive training and additional resources to perform eDiscovery and litigation requests.

6. Single Vendor Dependency

Microsoft is so prevalent in businesses that in many cases organizations often must “buy” the product or software. Microsoft has long used vendor lock in to grow and maintain its customer base. Once you have grown dependent on using a certain application for managing your data or for your data communications, you are unlikely to switch to another program if it is going to be difficult to take your data with you.  Companies can then increase prices over time or add additional necessary software, confident that most customers will have no other choice but to continue paying.

Lock in does not have to be an all or nothing approach, it can be broken down and various tools and strategies are out the to help mitigate it. The best way to start is to avoid having all your “eggs in one basket”. For example, with Microsoft, identify areas where a third part solution could provide a higher quality yet less expensive alternative to certain bundle solutions.

For example, a third-party email archiving solution can be a key component when it comes to protecting and retaining business-critical emails in the long term. But a decision as to which solution is best suited to the needs of a company is often not an easy one to take.

MailMeter Cloud provides a separate repository for your eDiscovery outside of your email tenant. With much of the workforce working in a remote environment, this is particularly important.

7. Microsoft Administrators and Training

The costs involved in hiring external consultants in the event of an eDiscovery case can be significant. As mentioned above Office 365 email archiving can be cumbersome. eDiscovery requests can cost an organization thousands’ and can often require the need to hire outsourced firms or paralegals to perform these searches.

Our solution also includes access to our expert eDiscovery consultants for assistance with complex searches and providing best practice. Office 365 eDiscovery and compliance require complex planning and implementation, with slow and sampled search results that are difficult to review, retrieve, and export. Sampled results mean you can’t see if the search is correct or contains huge amounts of non-relevant information, you only find out when you’ve completed your download which could take hours or days and results in a completely new search.

8. Price and Increasing Costs

To provide eDiscovery, retention, compliance, and visibility O365 requires E3 with add-ons or E5 licenses for every user including Shared, Inactive, Ex-Users and Legacy users. 

MailMeter Cloud is a cost-effective add on to your current O365 subscription and an alternative to the E3 and E5 plans without the requirement for expensive compliance add-ons. Use the licenses you have and only change when you need to. MailMeter works with EVERY license, so you only pay for the license you need. Find more information on how to reduce you Office 365 costs here-

Compliance should be, a big concern for your company, which is why you should seriously consider third-party email archiving solutions that can work in coherence with your Office 365 environment.

At Waterford Technologies, we have seen a successful partnership evolving with our MailMeter clients moving to Office 365™ – make sure you also have the perfect partner.

Microsoft Office 365 email platform provides easy access to email anywhere on any device not to mention greater collaboration ability and removes the need for an on-premises exchange server. Organizations continue to move to the cloud with Microsoft Office 365. However, making the move should not be taken lightly there are a lot of considerations to be made when moving your organizations valuable email data to the cloud, for instance:

• Security

• Data integrity

• Business continuity risks.

That is why a 3rd party provider is essential in ensuring your organization is not left exposed! So whether you are about to move to the cloud or have already moved MailMeter Cloud is an essential tool to provide your organization with a bullet proof infrastructure. After all, your data is your organization!

Why You Need MailMeter Cloud

• No Hardware or software to maintain and manage

• Unified eDiscovery and Compliance regardless of mix of O365 or Google plans

• Separate repository for your eDiscovery outside of your email tenant

• Respond to Data Subject Access Requests (DSAR) promptly.

• Retention Management to meet GDPR requirements.

• Scalable – resourced to meet your organizations individual needs

• Cost effective – no need to upgrade to E3, E5 or Google Vault

• Data Sovereignty – region closest to your organization

• Easy Set-up. Be up and running in one day!

Trusted by many brands across multiple industries, our MailMeter solution works seamlessly with Office 365 and Exchange. Our experts are ready to talk to you one on one to suggest archival best practices, to help you manage email storage and discovery better, learn how to make use of all the archived business email for business intelligence and stay ready for regulation compliance.