Email archiving can be a tricky but helpful process in the business world today. One thing I have noticed in the industry is that storage always runs short and email mailboxes take up a good bit of that limited space. Office 365 offers 50gb of storage- that is unless you have either an E3 or E5 license in which your allotted 100gb. On premise Exchange servers require on site storage which can drive up cost for businesses as well. Archiving can help save space for cloud and onsite storage- but there are good ways to do it and bad ways to do it.
Office 365 Archiving: Don't: save archives on your computer in places likely to be deleted:
In Office 365, when the 49gb warning displays, the most common way to reduce your inbox size by archiving is to build an archive on the C drive of the user’s computer. What this does is take the email out of the Office 365 server(cloud) and put it locally on the C drive of that specific machine. This setup is nice, but it does require coaching and educating the user. It is important for them to know that the email they used is no longer in the cloud and if deleted, there might not be a way to get it back.
You can choose where this archive directory lives as well so it’s worth putting it somewhere where data is not deleted regularly. This happened at a client of mine where the archive was being hosted in downloads of that user’s computer, and when the user was cleaning out their downloads folder, they accidently deleted the email archive.
Office 365 Archiving: Do: Move your archive folder to an easy location:
Another thing to note: archiving will move the archived emails outside of Outlook as well. Archived emails will be saved to your computer, and if you search your inbox for an email that has since been archived, you will not find it unless you specifically search the archived folder. To move your archive folder to a more convenient and visible location, you will see an archive tab under ‘inbox’ which will host the emails you decide to move there. You can do this by holding down 'left click' and dragging the archive tab to favorites at the top of Outlook, so it’s never out of view. These practices can save you so much time and frustration when trying to decide if email archiving is a solution for you.
On-Premise Server: Do: Archive with Office 365
On premise exchange is a bit trickier as far as archiving. I recommend creating an Office 365 (cloud) archive- which requires a few things to configure first. You are first required to setup an Office 365 account with Exchange Online Archiving with an Exchange Server license. You also need the Azure Active Directory Sync tool installed on your domain controller. This tool syncs your Active Directory with Office 365. This will now host the email you choose to be archived in Office 365 and not on the exchange server. Because this is a more complicated process, your IT provider can certainly assist you with this.
At LIVE Consulting, we recommend using Office 365 because 50gb is a larger inbox size than most users need and the archiving process requires less licensing and hardware. The archiving process for on premise exchange is more complex and has more room for error.