Postini, a provider of off-site e-mail security and management solutions has just launched Personal Archive.
The service allows corporate users to store their e-mail and instant messages permanently, and enjoy real-time access and search capabilities within those archives.
This could be a boon to network administrators, who are caught between the rock of double-digit growth in e-mail usage, and the hard place of business and regulatory demands for increased storage capacity.
Andrew Lochart, senior director of marketing for Postini, told internetnews.com that the service will allow users to archive 1 gigabyte of e-mail and instant messages per year.
That's ten times the amount of storage available to users of typical corporate Exchange or Domino servers, according to Michael Osterman of Osterman Research, a Seattle-based consulting and research firm specialized in messaging.
In addition to giving users more storage capacity, the service provides users with real-time access to their archives--in contrast to archives that are backed up on corporate servers, or as typically befuddling .pst files.
Moreover, Postini is able to include IMs in e-mail searches by linking individuals' IM screen names to their corporate e-mail accounts.
"That's where the real gain is--a single view," said Lochart.
Users will also be able to run full text searches of their e-mail and IMs, as well as all attachments.
According to Lochart, being able to retrieve communications and documents in this manner represents a huge advantage for end-users.
"These days, every kind of document that gets created ends up being sent via e-mail," he said.
Osterman likened e-mail to a giant junk drawer. Many users see their e-mail as the dumping ground for all the documents they create, send and receive, said Osterman, because it's a freeform filing system.
"People are using it as de facto storage," he told internetnews.com.
The irony, of course, is that e-mail servers were never intended to be a company's most important database. Now, they are coping with growth in both the volume and the size of the messages.
According to a study conducted by Osterman in January of this year, corporate users are sending and receiving 17 percent to 20 percent more messages than last year.
Even more impressive--or frightening--e-mail storage needs have grown by more than 40 percent.
The Postini solution may also help improve employee productivity.
"Having an archive relieves users of the tasks of having to do e-mail management," said Osterman. He added that managers typically spend between 30 and 60 minutes per week managing their mailbox.
Personal Archive also helps companies manage compliance and litigation risks, said Lochart.
"It used to be companies had a policy of deleting anything older than 6 months," he said.
Now, e-mail is considered discoverable, and companies must not only archive e-mail for compliance purposes, but most also take reasonable measures to ensure their security.
"Many companies still have a 60-day deletion policy in place," said Osterman. "That's not a very wise policy."
Using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, Postini provides a range of corporate e-mail solutions, including screening and encryption of both inbound and outbound traffic, as well as storage.
It will charge companies from $90 to $300 per user per year for the Personal Archive, depending on number of subscribers.
This is distinct from the corporate Archive Manager, which has been available since December 2005, and for which it charges $33 per user per year.
Postini is a privately-held company, but Lochart said that it has been profitable for the last two years and grew revenues by 45 percent in 2005 compared to 2004.