Cloud Based Email Archiving
Everything you need to know
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Email is widely accepted as the standard of information exchange worldwide. Researchers indicate in 2011, on average, corporate users send as many as 112 emails per day and the figure is increasing at a rapid pace;
consequently creating storage, management and security issues for organizations. Organizations are in pressing need of systems capable of storing and retrieving data efficiently, inexpensively, securely all while maintaining regulatory compliance. Email archiving is the one solution for accommodating all the organizational concerns. Email archives integrate with in-house email servers or hosted email and provide interactive, long-term, read-only storage of email in a separate file store. Email archives make this possible by indexing emails, encrypting the data, and providing search functionality to facilitate easy and quick search and retrieval. Authorized users and compliance officers are enabled to access and work with messages archived in their original form at any time. Cloud based email archiving solutions include hosted email archiving solutions delivered as services that are more affordable, secure and extremely easy to deploy.
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Email for your Organization
With the advancement of technology, email has become the principal channel of business communication; largely replacing faxes, print medium and particularly phone calls. The usage of emails in the business sector continues to escalate as email promises to provide a cost effective (almost free) well-timed mean for correspondence across organizations regardless of proximity, time zones, or bandwidth issues.
In a survey by IMERGE Consulting Inc. over 60% of IT and business professionals named email as the most critical enterprise application.
Another research shows that email (handling, sending, replying etc.) consumes almost one-quarter of working time of an employee. Email is one of the Internet’s most enduring “killer applications” with over 1.8 billion users and 2.9 billion accounts worldwide, as of 2010 [Radicati Inc.]
In “Email Statistics Report, 2012-2016” The Radicati Group, Inc. states that “Most of the world’s email traffic comes from the corporate world. In 2012, the number of businesses emails sent and received per day total 89 billion. This figure is expected to grow at an average annual rate of 13% over the next four years, reaching over 143 billion by year-end 2016.”
Figure 1: Email Sent/Received per Day, 2011 Radicati Report “Survey Corporate Email 2011-2012”
In another report “Corporate IT and Business User Survey, 2012-2013” the firm reveals “on average, survey respondents sent 36 email messages per day, and receive approximately 78 email messages per day”. It is interesting to note here that despite the popularity of social media in the corporate world as a communication and marketing tool, the survey reports that most of business users (60%) said they do not foresee social media as a replacement to email and hence the use of social media does not decrease the amount of email sent and received every day.
Research by Osterman shows as much as 75% of a company’s intellectual property is contained within email and messaging systems.
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Figure 2: Worldwide Daily Email Traffic Radicati Report “Email Statics Report 2012-2016”
The overwhelming email stats and figures elicited by the study, perhaps ascertains the importance of email for a corporation. As email assumes to be the integral element in any organization’s workflow, there surface several worrisome ramifications for corporations regarding management, security and long-term storage and fast retrieval of ever-growing volume of enterprise-wide email.
Enterprises are in intense need of sophisticated methods for not only managing emails efficiently but they require solutions that are capable of regulatory compliance, long retention periods, reliable storage, easy and rapid email retrieval when required and facilitate individuals to be more productive with the organization’s email system.
The Solution: Email Archiving
On an average, in the U.S., small to medium size Enterprise (SME) can have as many as 1,500 employees (according to Wikipedia); where each employee receives 60 legitimate email messages per day and sends 36 email messages in response, on average (according to Radicati Inc.). This amounts to 114 emails per employee and 171,000 emails per SME per day which calculates to over 62 million emails per year. This is a daunting figure of emails messages to be retained by a small to medium businesses. The concern of email management will evidently intensify with the increase in the size and number of employees in an enterprise. One automatically thinks of email servers for email management and storage; but it must be noted that regular mail servers are not at an ideal place to store all organizational emails.
This is because typical mail servers will severely decline in performance as the volume of emails increases on it over the course of time. An archive is also better placed in a separate location to avoid losing the email server and the archive if a disaster strikes.
Organizations require an easy to manage, accessible, affordable and scalable email management solution that also complies with regulatory directive such as commitment to ensure privacy and monitor the content of messages. All of this and much more can be achieved by a quality email archiving solution.
Because email is practically replacing formal business documentation it constitutes an invaluable information store that needs to be securely retained for a substantial period.
Pressure on corporate is exacerbated by of spam emails. According to Radicati Group, 19 % of emails received daily in cooperates are spam.
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What is Email Archiving?
Put simply an email archive can be thought of as a sophisticated repository to preserve large volumes of emails. An email archiving system manages emails by extracting content from messages and attachments from all emails being received by and sent from the organization, automatically. Once the content is extracted it is indexed and eventually stored in read-only format to guarantee that the emails/records archived are retained in their original condition.
Typically the archive will be operated from a separate environment from the email servers to comply with some regularity mandates (SEC 17a-4 and others) and for operational disaster recovery purposes.
All email archiving solutions share common features like the ability to store email/data for extended periods of time; the ability to facilitate searching by authorized personnel and in some cases the ability of individual users to search the archive for emails to or from them. However, the prime characteristics of an email archive that makes it superior to any other email storage technique is that email archives consumes less physical storage, are cost-effective, are stored in non-rewritable encrypted format and are completely scalable; that is it can grow with the volume of incoming emails.
According to Radicati Inc. “Corporate IT and Business User Survey, 2012-2013” “Reducing IT Costs” was the top IT priority with survey respondents in 2012. Followed by “Improving Security” in second place and “Improving our Email System” in third place.
Figure 3: Main IT priorities 2012 Radicati Report “Corporate IT and Business User Survey 2012-2013”
An email archive is one example of a life-logging device that captures and stores different forms of personal data across a long period of time J.
Gemmell, G. Bell, and R. Lueder. MyLifeBits: a personal database for everything.
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Key Features of Effective Email Archiving Solutions
Research indicates that email archiving providers are continually enriching their archiving portfolios through additional services and support for other types of electronic content, for example, instant messaging, tweets and Facebook communication. However typical email Archiving system shares the following key features:
1. Data retention coupled with monitoring: An ideal email archive system must primarily store all email and provide an efficient method for finding emails and presenting them to the person searching the archive. Email archive solutions must be customizable to the extent of allowing administrators to
decide certain archiving criteria according to their requirements without compromising the integrity of the archive.
For instance, email archiving solution must allow archiving of all messages to and from their specific domains and email addresses. Archives should eliminate the likelihood of some email not being archived which could result in an incomplete or inadmissible set of search results. The solution also must have some modifiable retention policy that allows the business to control for how long e-mail messages are retained in the system.
2. Search Capability: Archived email must be fully searchable.
Also the dependency of users on PST files must be minimal.
The archive’s search engine must be flexible so as to enable the user to search emails and conversations, from or to
particular email addresses, organizations or persons, for certain periods of time and even for certain words or phrases. Search tools in the archive must be fast, efficient, precise, easy to configure and use. Today email archive tools offer advanced searching features like the ability to store search parameters for later reference and use.
3. Scalability: An ideal email archiving solution should scale dynamically to embrace the burgeoning volume of email, new users and email content. This should happen without user intervention or require anything from the company paying for the archiving solution.
4. Accessibility: To ascertain the data is available to legitimate users it is imperative that email archive provides excellent accessibility to retrieve email/record stored within. The email archive must be designed so that accessing even very old records is painless and fast.
5. Regulatory compliance: An email archiving system allows companies to meet necessary regulatory requirements. It must facilitate the compliance officers’ efforts to quickly search email stored in the archive and perform periodic reviews.
Advanced archives should allow the user to specify specific words or phrases that get highlighted or flagged for immediate review so as not to rely on future reviews to uncover
6. Data integrity: Data integrity is of utmost important for regulatory compliance. Email archiving solutions must ensure data’s original state is preserved while storing and retrieving email records. The archive should be non-rewritable.
How to store? What to store and for how long?
eDiscovery solutions enable organizations to identify, collect, analyze, process, and present data stored in various corporate repositories. The data may be collected in response to lawsuits, internal investigations, or regulatory compliance requests
As organizations continue to mature their information becomes more and more precious.
In order to protect this valuable information, standards and government regulations have been set that require certain retention and timely response to legal and information queries from organizations
Email archive solutions must embody some mechanism to prevent alteration of data to guarantee data integrity
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7. Security: Email archive must employ some mechanism of privilege levels or role-based access controls to only allow authorized access to data in order to offer infallible security. The data should also be stored in an encrypted state to further protect the clients’ data.
Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act 2002 and Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules, public companies must prove that their internal controls and audit trails are sound and that their processes are capable of producing certifiably correct data.
8. Data Preservation: Archiving solutions should have advanced electronic data supervision features that enable companies to prevent loss of data or loss of activity logs from occurring.
9. Well designed & Easy to Manage: An email archive must implant seamlessly into an organization’s work flow with a minimum learning curve for management and usage. The management of the tool must be straightforward and require minimal time. Ideally email archives must work in parallel to organizations’ email server and must have no impact on its functioning and performance.
10. Cost effectiveness: Cost can be a major concern for any organization. Besides the obvious initial investment and cost of ownership, the maintenance cost can be daunting especially as corporations grow and their archive expands in size. For in-house email archives hardware cost and staffing are important factors to consider.
11. Other features: Email archives cannot enable let users choose the emails they wish to archive. Archives should not be the type that allows users to manually archive a single email or even a whole folder of emails. The archive should store ALL EMAIL FROM ALL USERS and the email repository must have minimal human intervention to ensure high levels of security and to provide proof of a complete and unaltered
record of email communications. Email archiving tools must support multiple database and easy integration with existing business workflow. Some advanced email archiving tools also provide screening of not only spam but of organization-defined inappropriate words or phrases. Email archives must reduce the demand for storage space by reducing the number of emails needed on the mail server.
Why Business Should Use Email Archiving Solutions?
Email archives are, with time, becoming widely used across industries. More and more organizations are opting to implement email archiving techniques. This section throws light on some reasons that make email archiving vital for an organization.
Email in organizations has turned out to be the de facto medium of communication. Emails contain valuable information about any organization that is undocumented otherwise. As pointed out previously, companies’ intellectual property is contained within email and messaging systems. Email archives can serve as all- in-one electronic storage for all email and therefore become a knowledge management system for the organization. In addition, as email archives aid with eDiscovery, email archives become even more usable and hence beneficial, saving both time and money for an organization. In contrast to other storage medium email archives are more secure, more easily accessible and provide a vast array of information quickly.
Under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act 2002 and Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) rules, Companies must retain all correspondence created, sent, or received in connection with an audit or review of a public company for a period of seven years, during which time these records must remain non- erasable and non-rewritable.
According to a Symantec Intelligence Report issued in February 2012, global spam accounts for 68% of global email traffic.
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As the use of electronic media for communication increases in corporations, storage requirements continue to grow. According to Radicati Inc. Report “Survey Corporate Email 2011- 2012” the average storage per user was 18 GB. This was up considerably from the last year when the average storage per user was 10 GB.
This poses significant challenges to organizations that are under pressure to have well-organized and efficient systems of storage.
Email archives also serve as a cost effective and scalable way to store substantially large volumes of organization- wide email. As email archives offer centralized accessibility and availability the data becomes easier to access for an enterprise. Email archives should have redundant copies of the data on encrypted non-rewritable media, which when housed in a separate location reduces the risk of lost emails and valuable information due to technical glitches.
Email archives can be helpful to maximize the potential of your organizations email systems. Having email records saved in a centralized location, where authorized personnel can access information anytime can significantly increase productivity of employees. Email archives save significant time for employees searching for information embedded in emails.
Storing huge amounts of data and records in the form of email can only be useful for an organization if the data is searchable.
As the organization’s data continues to gain volume over time, search capabilities can be substantially costly. In almost all cases email archiving presents the best possible solution by providing centralized storage, simple management and full search capabilities. Preserving data in read-only format on parallel media mostly do not provide search capabilities and hence the value of the data is considerably lessened.
With the popularity of email, most countries have imposed email compliance laws or regulations requiring companies to retain their emails for use in litigation or audits. Various pieces of legislations have been enacted to enforce corporate governance standards, maintain ethical conduct and protect personal privacy.
This has further lead to the use of email archives in organizations wishing to maintain a record that is completely searchable and compiles with
regulations. It must be noted that Securities and Exchange Commission levies heavy penalties on companies that fail to comply with regulations specifically covering email archiving and searching.
Today courts widely accept emails as evidence in legal disputes. Not having email data stored in any way can be
problematic and easily result in fines by the court or act as a severe hindrance in litigation. Similarly, having emails saved on tapes or other media can result in high litigation discover-related expenses such as restoring required data from the tapes and checking users’ email files to make sure there aren’t stores of email on users’ hard drives that extend past the company’s published retention period, sometimes called “shadow archives”. On the contrary email archives being easily searchable, can be ideal solution. By implementing a complete and certified tamper-proof archive of all emails an organization can help you have an edge during litigation
According to an estimate, one in every four organizations experiences a storage management growth in excess of 25% per year.
The average daily number of emails with attachments has increased from
an average of 14 emails in 2010, to an average of 24 emails in 2011.
Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA), Gramm- Leach, Bliley Act (GLBA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Freedom of
Information Act (FOIA) are some examples of such regulations.
HIPAA contains clauses that require institutions to retain emails concerning details of patient’s medical history until two years after a patient’s death.
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Improve Email Server functionality
As old emails are shifted to a separate archive this subsequently reduces the load on the email server and hence improves the performance of email server. The archive also serves as a backup copy of all emails in case the email server or service goes down.
While organizations might be intimidated with the thought of the cost of installing an email archive it must be noted that the cost of implementing email archives is usually low and pays off with time as a result of reduced storage and server requirements. The cost of installing and maintaining an email archive is considerably lower than the cost of upgrading and maintaining overloaded email servers, managing complex data backups and dealing with the labor and time associated with the recovery of data that organization will otherwise face.
Types of Email Archiving
Primary email archiving solutions:
1. On-premise Email Archiving: In On-Premise, or in-house, email archiving , a data repository is installed on a dedicated server(s) in the same data center as the email server(s).
2. Cloud Based Email Archiving: include hosted email archiving solutions delivered as services.
With the popularity of cloud computing for enterprises, email archiving solutions hosted in the Cloud are quickly attracting corporate users. The following section compares the two types of techniques in detail.
On-premises vs. Cloud Based Email Archiving
Cloud computing is an attractive alternative to on-premises storage particularly for SMBs who seek to reduce software licensing and maintenance cost. The following table shows comparison of the two systems.
Comparison Cloud Based email Archiving and On-premises Email Archiving
With the reduced cost of bandwidth SMBs have the option to opt for on-premises archiving solutions or storage in the cloud. The choice greatly depends on SMBs business priorities and policies; the key
however is successful deployment of either technology.
Features Cloud Based Email Archiving In House Email Archiving
Email Storage/Archiving All corporate data and records are saved in geographically diverse infrastructure owned by a third party.
Corporate data is preserved and handled internally within the organization.
Up-Front Cost In most cases there can be a setup fee or if you shop around you can find a vendor with no upfront investment just pay as you use.
Initial investment needed, pays off with time. Initial investment typically range anywhere from $30,000 to over
Hardware/Software Costs No initial investment on hardware or software.
Substantial hardware cost depending on enterprise size.
Implementation/Installation Easy and quick implementation, sometimes within 30 minutes.
Implementation time may vary from few weeks to a year, depending on size of enterprises.
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Features Cloud Based Email Archiving In House Email Archiving
Cost Total expenditures are less due to
paying for just what you need and not having excess capacity or licenses.
Total cost of installation and management can be higher.
On-site Staff All the maintenance and work is done by 3rd parties hence organizations free up their own IT staffs for other tasks.
Requires dedicated IT staff for maintenance and support.
eDiscovery eDiscovery is fast and efficient. On-premises solutions may offer fast and efficient eDiscovery provided single central storage.
Accessibility/Server Uptime Online server has a higher uptime as hosting providers use failover clusters to prevent hardware malfunction interfering with service delivery. They also use redundant infrastructure to eliminate downtime..
On-premises server downtime can be problematic owing to power failures, hardware malfunction, and other unpredictable circumstances.
Management Control Management control can be broad giving managers access to the archive, user lists, policies and logs.
Complete management control
Regulatory Compliance Regulatory compliance, high degree of regulatory compliance can be met by tracking and encryption of messages and by management by a third-party (which is required by the SEC).
Satisfactory Regulatory compliance
Figure 4: Comparison On-premises Email Archive vs. Email Archive in cloud
The table clearly indicates the superiority of cloud-based email archiving solutions over in-house solutions. Nevertheless it must be noted that no model is perfect and selection of either model for your business is influenced by the type of business you manage, business priorities and policies. The following figure compares the two types of archiving solutions further.
In-House Email Archiving Cloud Based Email Archiving
In-house storage is prone to tampering
More email means more hardware Storage growth is included
Less uptime More uptime
Maintenance costs Service Level Agreements
Management, planning, purchasing, and more resources are required
Timely upgrades Legal holds are simple Easy demployment eDiscovery support
Figure 5: On-premises Email Archive vs. Email Archive in cloud
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Unique Benefits of Email Archiving in the Cloud
Cloud based email archiving solutions have exclusive benefits that on-premise email archiving solutions fail to deliver.
A few are highlighted below:
Figure: 6 Unique features of Email Archive in cloud
Uniform Policies throughout Geographic Regions:
Usually email archives in the cloud tend to apply archiving policies more uniformly to users in various geographic locations, including users who are traveling.
This can further increase the accessibility and productivity of employees.
Better scalability management:
Researches indicate enormous growth in the volume of messages that need to be archived; from about 11 MB per user/
day in 2011, to about 15 MB per user per day in 2014. Scaling on-premises email archive to match such a fast pace is certainly time and money consuming.
Additionally most on-premise solutions require significant infrastructure upgrades to expand. In contrast archives in the cloud can rapidly expand to cope up with the organizations’
needs. Scaling in the cloud is also simple, cost-effective and time-saving.
As much storage as you need:
Most cloud archiving solution providers offer flat fee per user, unlimited bandwidth & services like storing and managing an unlimited amount of data per user; In contrast, in-house solutions which will require purchases of additional servers and storage as a consequence of having more data and additional archive.
Pay-as-you-Use, Predictable Costs:
Email archiving solutions in the cloud typically requires you to pay on a per user per month basis. This payment model favors business budges greatly as now organizations can accurately pre-calculate future expenditures and plan investments accordingly. Plus, if you reduce headcount your reduce archiving expenses.
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Cloud based Email Archiving, the security concerns
One concern that has prevented widespread adoption of cloud computing in the past few years is security. However as cloud computing has registered success stories refuting misconceptions concerning its security, enterprises are compelled to rethink about the cloud. A recent article published in the Wall Street Journal takes into account trends of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) regarding the cloud security. The findings of the survey are shown in the following figure:
Figure 7: Cloud Security Concerns (SME), by WSJ
It may be surprising to some but email archiving solutions in the cloud provides better security features than in-house. Almost all cloud-based email archiving solutions store your data and logs in encrypted form;
additionally data is protected by encryption while in transit. Data stored in the cloud is further secured by multiple backup features. Owing to multiple backup copies of your data, it will never be lost in case of hardware glitches or power failure, or in any other emergency. As your data and records do not reside in a known location (i.e. in your office) and lives on an unknown/protected server it is secure from ill-intentioned employees. Also, in case of natural calamity such as flood/earthquakes etc. your data will remain secure in the cloud!
As pointed out above, one purpose of email archiving is to keep a tamperproof record of all organizational emails so as to use emails as proof in civil and criminal cases. In this context, it is easier to prove that an email stored in archive in the cloud is preserved in its original state and has not been tampered with. This is because when saving an email in the cloud, you are handing custody to a third/neutral party who has agreed in writing to store and protect your data. Of course any email stored in-house can be tampered with by IT personnel or others in your office. It is easier to prove the authenticity of records in the cloud which can help achieve regulatory compliance by getting the provider to agree to comply with all regulatory requirements and to assist with any audit or investigation. Furthermore, even if we say the third-party owners want to tamper with the data for any reason; achieving this will be quiet difficult owing to encryption, physical security, access logs and other multiple levels of security built into the system.
Multiple data backup
Protection against accidents
Protection against theft
Protection against natural calamity
Easy to prove authenticity of data
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Email Archiving Trends
In another report “Corporate IT and Business User Survey, 2012-2013” the organization notes that “A growing number of organizations are deploying an email archiving solution (70% of respondents) driven mainly by storage concerns.
eDiscovery and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) are also seeing strong uptake across all verticals”
According to the “Email Archiving market 2011-2015” published by Radicati Inc. the worldwide archiving market, including both on-premises and cloud (i.e. hosted) solutions, is expected to reach nearly $2.5 billion in revenues by the end of 2011, and grow to over $4.8 billion by 2015.
Figure 7: Worldwide Email Archiving Revenue, 2011-2015 Radicati Inc.
According to a survey by Radicati Inc. over 73% of all email archiving users are utilizing an on-premises solution today, while only 27% of users are relying on a cloud email archiving service.
Figure 8: In house vs. Cloud Usage Statics, Radicati Inc.
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However the trend continues to change in favor of cloud based archives at a pace much faster than on-premise solution. This parallels the fact that concerns regarding Cloud computing itself are losing ground and we witness a rush to could computing, especially from the business sector. According to an estimate over 1/3rd of IT budgets are spent on the cloud in 2012.
According to the same report referenced above “more businesses have turned to cloud services during the recent economic downturn because these services offer more predictable monthly costs and require smaller initial investments”. Another report emphasizes enterprises inclination to move toward cloud solutions; the report states
“Improving Security” was the top IT priority with survey respondents in 2011. That was followed by “Moving to Cloud Services” and “Reducing IT Costs”. Another survey by Radicati Inc states “the main reason organizations are moving to the cloud is to reduce costs. However, increasingly other motivations such as easier anywhere access, backup etc. are leading organizations of all sizes to consider cloud-based solutions”
With the continuation of email as an effective communication tool in the business workflow email archiving solutions are becoming must-haves for all organizations. Deploying cloud-based archiving solutions requires less time, effort, up-front investment and manpower. Cloud based archiving solutions are more secure as cloud services offer multiple backup and encryption methods. Moreover as the data resides with the third party authenticity of the preserved records is guaranteed in case of a lawsuit or audit.
About GridWatch Messaging
GridWatch Messaging provides cloud-based archiving solutions that are unique, reliable and provide clients with full compliance and eDiscovery tools. Our email archiving solutions integrate seamlessly with your existing in-house email servers, automatically archiving email into a single and central store. Old emails are preserved in a separate database in turn freeing your mail server from the load owing to enormous flood of email consequently ensuring high email server performance.
Deploying email archiving solutions in our cloud is a matter of minutes rather than months or years. Our solutions are completely scalable to cope with your organizations growing storage requirements. Scaling with our cloud archiving system is cost-effective and quick. Security of your data is our paramount priority. Our email archiving solutions integrate multiple permissions to enable only authorized access to data and we host in SAS70 compliant data centers while also providing PCI compliance for banking regulation compliance.
Features are highlighted:
• Archiving of all email (inbound, outbound and internal)
• Easy-to-use search capability to quickly and easily deal with audits and investigations
• eDiscovery requests are made easy with search and export tools
• Works with Exchange, GroupWise, Domino, POP3, Postfix and more
• Exporting of e-mail to .pst or .eml format
• Archive, scan and view attachments
• Multiple permission levels - Admin, Group Admin, Group Reviewer, and User
• Flexible reporting options
• Audit trails provide comprehensive activity logs
• “Sticky Note” capability Surveillance of multiple languages
• Audit support
• Pre-defined and customizable policies to flag words or phrases such as those that would be classified as harassment, intellectual property theft, customer dissatisfaction, and more.
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A Short Case Study Problem
A small Registered Investment Advisor was sued by a client. The client’s attorney asked for email containing certain phrases, to or from the client and related parties.
GridWatch Messaging’s software as-a-solution (SaaS) offering was in place at the RIA. Plus, GridWatch Messaging had imported the email that existed prior to the archiving service being implemented. The implementation involved zero setup fees and took less than 30 minutes of the RIA staff’s time.
The result of implementing GridWatch Messaging was not
only compliance with SEC and FINRA requirements and
ease of dealing with SEC & FINRA audits but also huge cost
containment because of the potential expenses faced by the RIA
had they not implemented GridWatch Messaging’s solution.
Emails Requested Initially 98,000
Emails Requested after pre-trial discovery conference 3,131
Average Time to review each email 0.25 minutes
Attorney’s Time Minutes Hours Rate (per hour) Cost
Without GridWatch Messaging 24,500 408 300 122,500
With GridWatch Messaging 783 13 300 3914