Over half of SMBs say they have not implemented email archiving

August 19, 2008 - 12:00

One in four that do, rely on end-users to archive emails themselves

Raleigh, N.C., US, – A new survey shows that over half of small companies in the United States do not currently have an email archiving system implemented in their organization, while one in four that do rely on end-users to manage email archiving on their own.

The survey of 421 IT executives at small- and medium-sized businesses in the United States found that 53 percent of those surveyed have not implemented an email archiving system within their organization. The research was carried out by eMediaUSA on behalf of GFI, an international developer of email archiving software.

The survey also found among those companies currently using an email archiving solution, that 35 percent are relying on end-users to maintain their own email archives, while 35 percent use an in-house solution to archive emails, and 33 percent use tape backups.

Top reasons given for retaining emails included: for internal inquiries and investigations (39 percent), for backup (31 percent), for compliance purposes (28 percent), and for reducing the load of mail quotas on Exchange Server (27 percent).

Various reasons were given by those SMBs who said they did not use an email archiving solution and these included: the company is too small to need an archiving product (26 percent), they are not impacted by compliance regulations (21 percent), no budget (26 percent), and emails are stored on the mail server (23 percent).

According to David Vella, director of product management at GFI Software, these results highlight the overall lack of awareness among small- and medium-sized businesses on the importance of email archiving and the impact it can have on the security of a company. “The first and most important key in email archiving is to understand that you need one. However, since IT administrators in SMEs are often overworked and required to do tasks that an administrator in a large business would never dream of doing, it comes as no surprise that many do rely on end-users to manage it themselves. This can cause even bigger problems, as human error is probably the most critical security vulnerability facing storage environments in small and medium sized enterprises.”

On a positive note, the survey found that 36 percent of respondents consider email archiving important, and 23 percent find it very important.  And more than half that use an email archiving solution have had a positive experience using one.

Other key findings from the survey include:
• 25 percent archive emails indefinitely, while 21 percent keep them for 6 months to a year.
• 47 percent have had to at one point search for an old or deleted email because of compliance purposes.
• 29 percent say it typically takes less than an hour to find an email from 15 months ago or longer.
• 40 percent do not feel they are sufficiently informed about compliance and email archiving issues.

Commenting on this last point, Vella said that education continues to play an important role in storage and security for small- and medium-sized business.

“For businesses around the world, email has become the primary means of communication with people inside and outside of the organization. Yet businesses fail to realize that each email communication sent or received is probably the only record they have of important transactions with a customer or between members of staff. Many organizations underestimate the value of knowledge that is stored in corporate email. Email contains the bulk of the information that individuals use on a daily basis, therefore, the amount of corporate knowledge stored in email is enough to justify its safekeeping over long periods of time.”

A copy of the results can be found at:

About GFI
GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. With award-winning technology, an aggressive pricing strategy and a strong focus on small-to-medium sized businesses, GFI is able to satisfy the need for business continuity and productivity encountered by organizations on a global scale. GFI has offices in the US, Malta, UK, Hong Kong and Australia which support more than 200,000 installations worldwide. GFI is a channel-focused company with over 10,000 partners worldwide. GFI is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. More information about GFI can be found at http://www.gfi.com.