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SOX Socks It to Email Administrators

The third reason for the growing interest in email archiving applications is regulatory compliance.

Time was when the only thing email system administrators had to worry about was restoring the email database if the server crashed. That time is past. Now email system administrators have to be able to dig out specific sequences of messages from specific individuals in a specific time frame, and do it fast.

Of course, talking about compliance raises the question, "Compliance with what?" Enterprises have to comply with multiple laws and regulations: Sarbanes-Oxley for public companies, HIPAA for organizations handling healthcare information, SEC and NASD regulations for securities dealers, and many others. All of them have different requirements, and in some cases those requirements clearly weren’t written with the realities of computer systems administration in mind.

For example, under the provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley, public companies may have less than a week to respond to requests for general information from regulators. Since the messages have to be reviewed for relevance to decide what gets turned over to the regulators, getting the right messages back—all the right messages—is time-critical.

Of course, this issue extends to more than email. If your company uses the calendar function in Outlook, the personal calendars of executives may also be covered by records-retention requirements.

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