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By: Admin on November 13th, 2015

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To Migrate or Not to Migrate… That’s a Good Question!

Archive Migration Considerations

Email archive solutions were a big deal 10 years ago. Everyone was scrambling to be sure they were capturing all email for regulatory and eDiscovery reasons. With Microsoft Exchange 2013, the need for a separate email archive system is quickly disappearing. Exchange 2013 has an archive capability built right into it as well as retention policies, regulatory compliance functionality and litigation hold/eDiscovery features. If you are planning on moving to Exchange 2013, three questions arise:

  1. Do I need a separate email archive?
  2. Should I keep my existing, expensive, and probably obsolete email archive if I’m moving to Exchange 2013?
  3. If I don’t need my existing email archive, what should I do with it and the archive email?

Microsoft has brought Exchange to the point of compliance and eDiscovery functionality that many of us have been hoping for since 2005. Therefore, to answer the first question above, the answer is probably not. The vast majority of corporate users will find all they need in Exchange 2013. The only caveat here is around the prescriptive (detailed) retention requirements around the financial industry including the FINRA supervision of communications of brokers rule.

Is my email archive obsolete?

The answer to the second question, should I keep my existing email archive, is …it depends but probably not. If you are in the highly regulated financial industry and currently have an email archive that meets all of your regulatory requirements and is still being supported by the manufacturer, then it might make sense to leave it be. However, if you aren’t in the financial sector, then it probably makes financial sense to shut it down and move to Exchange 2013.

The answer to question three is hopefully obvious (if you’ve read the earlier blogs). You should migrate all of the content out of the old email archive and then cull (filter) the migrated content down to just that email you need to keep for compliance, eDiscovery and business reasons. Once you’ve done that, migrate the email you have decided to retain into Exchange 2013 and defensibly delete the rest. You’ll be surprised at how much of the old archived email can be disposed of – usually between 50 and 80%. One additional benefit is that you’ll be able to stop paying the annual software support fees on the email archive.

Email migration is not always easy (unless completely understood)

Please keep in mind, an email migration might seem pretty straight forward (gee, I can do that myself) but you should be aware of the potential gotchas that can cause you problems later. The main problem that has tripped up many organizations is around the email metadata. To keep the fidelity of the messages unchanged, the migration application must be able to migrate the data without changing the existing email metadata. For future legal reasons, being able to say that the email is the original data and has not been compromised or changed in any way, will save you money and heartache later. This “content of record” issue highlights questions around the admissibility of the data. Even if data has been inadvertently altered (this includes metadata) due to a botched migration, then to the court it’s not the original data and will be ruled as inadmissible in the case. This can be painful if the data was going to be used to help prove your case. Based on this gotcha, be aware and ask the migration software or service provider to stipulate that the migration process will not change the data in any way – including the metadata.

Archive360’s Archive 2-Anywhere Mimosa NearPoint Edition is a high performance software application which extracts all the data out of Mimosa NearPoint and can put it anywhere including directly into Microsoft Exchange, Office365, or into its original native Exchange .MSG format, PST Containers or EML. In most cases we suggest migration out of the archive and into a format that can be easily searched later.