Not long ago, it would have been unthinkable to store data as sensitive as employees’ e-mail  in the cloud. Now, hosted e-mail archiving is not only commonplace, it’s the best choice for many businesses. Here are a few points to consider while thinking about moving your company’s message archive to the cloud.
In this economy, it’s all about savings — and hosted e-mail archiving saves both time and money.
One of the major benefits of hosted e-mail archiving is that each user can have a personal archive login, from which they can search and retrieve all of their own historical messages.
They’ll never need to ask the help desk to recover a lost or deleted e-mail message again. Because every message is automatically captured in one central place, inbox size issues and PST file management headaches are no longer a problem.
In addition, a hosted archive lets management and HR search among current and past employees’ messages from any computer, without having to go through the IT department.
As for cost savings, it’s hard to ignore the financial benefits of moving to a hosted message archive. With no hardware or software to manage, cloud-based archiving costs just 25 percent to 50 percent of a comparable onsite message archiving solution.
The need for costly software upgrades is also eliminated: Hosted message archiving providers keep pace with changes in messaging protocols, so the IT staff has one less task to worry about. Shift to hosted message archiving, and the CFO will be appreciative.
It’s important to seek a provider that can support all the message types used in the organization.
Do users communicate via public IM networks, BlackBerry text messaging or through social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook? Does the company use Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters or other financial messaging platforms?
Make sure the archiving provider can integrate every message format into a single, searchable archive.
Also, ensure that the archiving provider supports the mobile devices the company uses or will likely use in the future. The best archiving providers offer archive search apps for BlackBerry, iPhone, iPad and Android. Whether at an airport, in a taxi or at a client meeting, users will appreciate the ability to retrieve any archived message on the fly.
Once the company moves to the cloud, how does the IT staff know that its data is safe? IT professionals need to establish whether their provider’s data security practices are trustworthy.
Seek independent validation: Does the provider have SAS70 Type II– certified data centers? Is there independent documentation attesting to the provider’s security, business and operational controls? What is the provider’s track record?
The best hosted archiving companies inspire confidence by validating the soundness of their systems.
Hosted archiving should be quick and straightforward to set up. Most providers support virtually any e-mail environment — in-house or hosted — and should have dedicated departments to ease the process of importing the organization’s historical messaging.
Whether the company has two users or 20,000, the case for hosted e-mail archiving is a clear one: Go with the cloud.