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Meeting the Email Retention Requirements of Educational Institutions with GWArchive

Novell Cool Solutions: Feature
By Messaging Architects

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Posted: 2 Oct 2007

Last week GroupWise expert and GWArchive architect Greg Smith discussed the imperatives for email retention in the academic sector and offered advice on what schools, colleges, and universities need to consider when designing their email archiving policy - read the article here. In the article below, Greg discusses a typical email archiving scenario for educational institutions that can be accomplished simply and elegantly with GWArchive.

Typical GWArchive Policy Scenario for Educational Institutions

The typical retention polices created for the majority of educational organizations is one of 100% retention with separated trash. In this scenario, a GWArchive policy is configured to capture all email. The system allocates two separate repositories for the archived email: one for email messages in users' inboxes and Cabinet folders, and one for the trash.

This scenario meets the following objectives:

  • 100% of the information is kept for a specified number of days that correlates with the organization's backup tape destruction policy. This way, in the event of an electronic discovery request, there is no need to restore backup tapes.
  • Trash can be subject to a different retention policy from that of the remaining email. If users are allowed to delete non-business-related/transient messages, the trash can be kept and audited separately.
  • Trash can either be shown or hidden from users when they access their personal archives. In the latter case, users are left with the illusion that email is not being kept, so there will be fewer requests to allow them to delete it.

The typical policy as illustrated introduces an overlap of information between the live and archive systems. This is necessary to balance 100% retention with the ability to purge trash from the system in a timely fashion and to ensure ease of searching of more current messages. Typically, there is a 7-day grace period, or "Action Delay", prior to items being captured and placed into the archive. This approach to retention provides users with a one-week window within which to action a message item by opening it, deleting it, or moving it into a specific folder. It is important to configure the action delay period in such a way as to provide a balance between retained trash and users' processing of messages, since at the point of capture the system takes a snapshot of the mailbox and includes all message properties and message locations to incorporate to add into the archive repository.

With some education institutions such as K12, there may be times, such as spring break, Christmas, and summer vacation, when users may not access their mailboxes at all. During these times, the 7-day cycle may or may not be appropriate. In these instances, the solution is to simply suspend message processing during this time or create specific policies to be run during holidays which dictate a higher action delay threshold.

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