You’ve decided to migrate Exchange Server to Office 365 but your email migration service provider has correctly asked if you have an email archive as well and if yes, if you had employed the email stubbing feature. Email stubbing is an email archive feature to reduce Exchange Server size by moving an email and/or attachment to the archive and replacing it with a stub or pointer.
If a live mailbox that contains stubs is blindly migrated to Office 365, the stubs will cause major issues for users and IT support personnel alike. That’s because the email stubs (now residing in Office 365) are pointing to email in the old archive that Office 365 does not have access to. So when a stub is clicked on, the end-user will receive an error message and call the IT help desk. Multiply that by millions or hundreds of millions and you can imagine the size of the problem.
To prevent the issue, many email archive migration service providers recommend that you simply delete the stubs from the Exchange Server and migrate all the archive email to Office 365 as planned. The stubs are just pointers with no value anyway, right? Wrong! You should be aware that email stubs can acquire new metadata over time. For example, an end user can assign a flag to an email stub in their mailbox, categorize it, mark it as read or unread, assign a retention policy to it, move it to another folder, or delete it – all actions that would cause additional metadata to be added to the email stub.
You may be asking yourself; so what, all I want/need is the original archived email, why should I care about email stubs – even if they do have metadata attached? In reality, you should care because that additional stub metadata could contain discoverable content in litigation. The fact is the American Judicial system is slow and the time it takes for a lawsuit to reach the discovery phase (from filing or even anticipation of a law suit) can take years. How you handle potentially responsive data years before a lawsuit materializes, can in some instances, adversely affect your case.
The best practice is to get a written opinion from your legal department before the migration begins. The bottom line is email stubs can matter and that email archive migrations should be done correctly including the rehydration of email stubs with the original archived email so that later, you are not put in a risky legal position.
Managing stubs with Archive2Anywhere
Archive2Anywhere uses a proprietary stub management process that recombines (rehydrates) the message stub with the body and any attachments of the archived email. Archive360’s Stub Rehydration™ process matches up each message stub/shortcut in the live Exchange mailbox with the original archived message in the legacy email archive. Next, it performs the in-place restoration (or rehydrating) of the live Exchange message stub/shortcut with the archived message; thus preserving metadata and producing forensically complete and legally defensible messages.
Archive360 is the only technology provider that offers this legally defensible and patent pending stub rehydration capability.
For further information, please read the following blog.