Email Archiving Helps Brunel University Halve Its Data Back-up Time

Brunel University has been able to more than double its data back-up speed with the help of an email archive system.

It rolled out the Integrated Archive Platform (IAP) software from HP for 2,500 staff in 2008, which, alongside improvements to back-up systems, has enabled the university to reduce its daily back-up time from 24 hours to 11. The software stores emails in a separate archive system, which means that email messages no longer have to be backed up along with other data.

"We've got two copies of everything so we don't need to back it up," said Iain Liddell, policy development manager at Brunel University.

"With the back-ups being managed better, [Microsoft] Exchange quotas can be smaller. The main saving is not having had to buy so much in the way of Exchange storage," said Liddell.

Emails currently sit in Exchange for six months, which Brunel University is hoping to reduce further through journaling, so that as soon as messages are sent, they immediately go into the archive. The university is also trying to change the culture of its staff to actively archive emails.

Liddell explained: "We encourage that any message that is of potential importance to the university, for example, a student appeal, is archived immediately. Staff now have the power to manage their own quotas for mail, and can access their own archive an nobody else's."

The email archive system also allows Brunel to ensure compliance with data protection regulations. Only one compliance account can access the whole of the archive, and each access is logged.

"That's to make sure staff can trust the system implicitly and there's no data leakage," said Liddell.

Furthermore, it also helps compliance with regulations such as Freedom of Information requests, which have to be responded to in a limited timeframe.

"We can trawl the email archive for all the emails about a particular subject, and we can know who has the relevant emails for an FOI [without having to spend time finding out who has the relevant emails]," he added.

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