Email Storage Tips

Email Visulaization

 

What is the best way to store email?

Below we discuss the near-line, on-line, off-line and near-line/off-line hybrid storage options in detail. While a near-line storage solution would be optimum, reality typically dictates one's best course of action is to utilize an on-line storage option of maintaining it in the email system, especially if the messages are retained on the server, not the desktop.

 

Near-line Storage

Near-line storage requires the removal of the email message, its metadata, and attachments from the email system to store it in an electronic records management system (ERMS). Since the messages are to be stored in an ERMS, it is presumed that the decision making process has been made in declaring the messages as records or non-records, and that the appropriate filing decisions are being made to effectively and efficiently manage the life cycle of the messages.

  • Advantages: Ability to "fix" and declare it as a record; automated life cycle management; ease and timeliness of access; searchability.
  • Disadvantages: Loss of functionality as an email and subsequent re-use. [top]

 


On-line Storage

On-line storage is the storing of email messages, along with their metadata and attachments, in the email system. If one is choosing this option, an organization should maintain its storage folders, messages and attachments on the email server or a network attached server, as opposed to a desktop computer in local folders. This is due to the fact the the servers are typically backed up on a regular schedule in an automated fashion, whereas desktop computers are rarely if ever backed up. In the event of a disaster, one needs to able to restore their records to maintain business continuity. Further, when choosing this method one has to be diligent in deleting of non-records immediately and disposing transient/transitory records as soon as possible on a regular basis, so as to not "bog-down" the email operating system.

  • Advantages: Ease and timeliness of access; searchability; re-use.
  • Disadvantages: Unable to truly "fix" email as a record; manually manage the life cycle.[top]

 


Off-line Storage

Off-line storage is the printing, filing and storing of e-mail messages and attachments in a paper-based filing system. One has to be deliberate in capturing both the message and its attachments.

  • Advantages: Ability to "fix" and declare it as a record; ability to integrate with other paper-based records.
  • Disadvantages: Loss of functionality as an email and subsequent re-use; potential loss of metadata; not electronically searchable and retrievable.[top]

 


Near-line/Off-line Hybrid

Near-line/Off-line storage is the "printing" e-mail messages and attachments to an electronic file format such as a TIFF image or a PDF. The resultant files can then be stored in a near-line or off-line manner (in this instance off-line meaning the desktop computer or other storage server). One has to be deliberate in capturing both the message and its attachments.

  • Advantages: Ability to "fix" and declare it as a record; electronically searchable and retrievable.
  • Disadvantages: Loss of functionality as an email and subsequent re-use; potential loss of metadata; may not actively be managed in an ERMS.[top]