Richard Hall explains how a financial software company is getting a grip on years of e-mails and other documents
Compliance and Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) have become the buzzwords of the industry in recent months and while many are still gathering information, there are those businesses that have already taken the leap and implemented a complete storage compliance system. Financial accounting software provider Coda is one of those companies.
We have implemented Hewlett-Packard's Reference Information Storage System (RISS), enabling systems and processes to manage our business information effectively.
E-mail is one of Coda's primary means of communication, and much of it contains sensitive information relating to customer contracts and software licensing.
The sheer scale of the tasks involved to ensure repeatable, auditable regulatory compliance requires the support of automated systems.
The business was dealing with back-up issues and ever-increasing storage demands and was spending hours on manual back-up and information retrieval of business-critical e-mails.
With millions of e-mails passing through the company every year, it was time- and cost-intensive to archive and search them and there was awareness that the business was open to risk.
Also, for e-mails and other documents to be admissible in court, it is crucial to prove items have not been tampered with.
Coda also helps its customers deal with compliance issues and sells products to tackle them, and felt strongly that it therefore needed to improve its own storage infrastructure and archiving to enable auditable compliance.
We began our search by looking for a simple e-mail archiving solution, assessing a number of solutions, finally realising our requirements were more complex than just storage and that ILM should be considered as a more all-encompassing strategy.
RISS is an all-in-one solution provided and supported by HP. It will store e-mails and prevent them from being tampered with, while providing complete access to years of e-mail, PDFs and other documents in digital format.
Coda has overhauled its IT compliance strategy to ensure it can meet internal and external policy guidelines, and be in a position to easily accommodate any future regulations or requirements. Paper documents can also be scanned and filed into the RISS architecture.
Based on the company's estimates - Coda employees send and receive more than six millione-mails every year, a number that is growing exponentially year on year - we believe it will make huge efficiency savings and will see a return on investment in the next two years.
The solution also means that there are no longer risks associated with decentralised, unsecured personal e-mail folders, so Coda's number one information asset is secured.
Information stores in Microsoft Exchange have been reduced, thereby reducing time and resource requirements for backups, and offline maintenance is quicker and less painful to perform.
We now have peace of mind around our entire electronic storage system. Not many companies can claim that.
Richard Hall is group IT manager for Coda. He is presenting a case study at Storage Expo
This was first published in October 2005