This is a question we regularlay get asked. With the advent of regulations, companies in the financial services industry are required to maintain copies of all emails sent to and received from clients. Emails now form the basis of many legal actions and so being able to maintain a record of all emails sent and received by your organisation has fast become a necessity.

But how do you know if your email is safe and what are the different options available?

There are 3 main way in which mail is delivered these days:
  1. POP email: this is email which is downloaded from your mail provider. Once downloaded, the only copy exists in your mail client (e.g. Outlook) and your mail provider will not keep copies of these emails.
  2. In-house Exchange: This is used when your company has an internal server running Exchange. The email is downloaded to your server and lives there. When you open Outlook and connect to the server, you retrieve your entire mailbox. When you delete a mail in Outlook, it automatically removes it permanently from the server
  3. Hosted Email Solution (such as Exchange Online, Google Apps): This works the same as above, except that the server is hosted in a data centre. This is generally a more robust solution as the data centre will take care of backups on your behalf.
The only way to keep a copy of all incoming and outgoing emails is to setup an email archive which takes a copy of all emails and stores them in a separate database. This always remains intact and is not affected by employees deleting emails en masse.

However, with any of the above solutions, an email archive does not form part of the standard service. One can easily be added on to either the in-house or hosted mail server, but this needs to be specified and configured. Costs for in-house solutions are generally expensive, and you are still responsible for backing this up.

First prize, however, goes to the Hosted Solution which is inexpensive to implement and provides a no-hassle solution to this problem. For about £10/month per user, you can have your email both hosted and archived by a Hosted Email provider. The data is automatically backed up and the host takes care of redundancy and any issues which may arise.

Please do comment in get in touch if you'd like some advice on how to approach this important aspect of your business.