Email is still the dominant form of communication in businesses today. It pervades almost every system and transaction and still remains a quick, casual form of communication. Email has become a mission critical application within businesses because of the importance of the data transacted through, and stored in, email environments.
A decade or so ago, as IT departments began to recognize the growing importance of the corporate email environment, they started to add supporting services and platforms around the core server environment, which is predominantly Microsoft Exchange. Appliances, applications and services to protect and store email were added, usually driven by business problems as well as changing corporate governance requirements.
Email archiving was one such platform, and remains of critical importance today. Email archiving systems were first added to our networks in the mid to late 1990s, initially designed to solve storage management problems, but more recently utilized to enable businesses to retain a complete record of their corporate knowledge and intellectual property. Long term retention of email nowadays is invariably driven by a need to respond to legal obligations under subpoena or eDiscovery request, or mitigate against the threat of data loss due to disaster or accident.
The advent of Cloud Computing in the same timeframe has disrupted these traditional on-premise email archiving markets. Cloud Computing has permeated almost every industry in ways even the most forward thinking IT departments could never have imagined. The result is a paradigm shift in modern computing. The rise of the Cloud could even be described as the dawn of a new computing age.
Those old on-premise archives are being eclipsed by the capabilities of a new type of Cloud-based email archive, an Interactive Archive.
The Interactive Archive, driven by the Cloud, is a more useful, valuable and interactive archiving platform for business users. The Interactive Archive allows users to leverage the archive and data therein for business intelligence, as well as end user productivity, ubiquitous access, and the corporate governance and compliance requirements that underpin the archive itself.
The concept of an Interactive Archive delivered from the Cloud requires a new way realizing value in a computing platform. The Interactive Archive is one that will be deployed from the Cloud, but not all Cloud archives are created in the same way. Simply archiving email in the Cloud only removes the local storage overhead and expenditure, while giving the users a degree of flexibility in terms of access – in fact, most Cloud archives are still about storage and eDiscovery.
The Interactive Archive is about much more - it's about extending beyond this ‘simply-storage’ model by offering to leverage more of the value in the archived data. It's a platform that puts the productivity benefits of using email back in the users’ hands by making their personal archives available in many ways - as well as including sources of information that would otherwise need a change in work flow for end users.
The Interactive Archive is one that acquires and consolidates the user’s desktop applications as a source of information - their web applications and services, their corporate information flows in platforms like email and mobile platforms - then provides a central and single copy under management. Importantly a single view of all these information streams also gives the business a concise, forensic and complete repository for eDiscovery, compliance and business intelligence use. The important concept of ‘interactiveness’ comes from the end users and the business can make use of the data; platforms such as Outlook, SharePoint, mobile devices and APIs all bring new ways to leverage the accumulated data. Delivering business intelligence back to the organization by leveraging the data-exhaust of the Interactive Archive now becomes possible too; in short making the data within the archive worth more than simply an eDiscovery tool.
To find out more about Mimecast's vision for the Interactive Archive, download our Whitepaper - "Is your Email Archive a Goldmine or a Black Hole?"