Intel Upfront About the

By Chris Preimesberger Print this article Print

Updated: News Analysis: A judge gives the company 30 days to find missing e-mails; meanwhile, Intel's foibles reveal a prime example of what businesses of all sizes now face since the institution of new f


Intel Upfront About the Issues

To its credit, Santa Clara, Calif.-based Intel is being upfront and transparent about the problems it is experiencing in maintaining and accessing old e-mail records. It's an issue that affects every business that uses e-mail in its daily routine, and that entails just about all businesses—even IT giants.

"I can just imagine the look on the face of the [storage] guy at Intel—or at any company—when he's asked, 'We have to get this [particular] e-mail out of the [tape] archives, and we have to get it fast," Matt Smith, founder and president of e-mail archiving provider LiveOffice in Torrance, Calif., told eWEEK.

"It's a real needle in a haystack. There's always a mountain of backup data involving tape cassettes, especially for a company the size of Intel. First, you have to find the right tapes; then, to find specific e-mails on those tapes is a real chore."

A typical Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes environment (Intel uses MS Exchange Server, an Intel spokesperson told eWEEK) usually has to rely on individual backup, said Alan Armstrong, vice president of product management at e-mail archiving system maker Fortiva. This indeed was the case with Intel.

"Backup is expensive, to do it right," Armstrong said from his home office in Toronto. "If you don't have a system in place, you have to rely on your users to back up their own documents in good faith and good practice in an organized behavior. But whenever there's trust involved, you're taking a risk.

"You don't trust all your users to sign checks, do you? Yet [many] companies trust their employees to backup their own documents."

Fortiva CEO Eric Goodwin told eWEEK that Intel's biggest mistake—as is the case with numerous companies—is that e-mail archiving is not considered a core competency.

"I'm not nasty toward Intel at all," Goodwin said. "I empathize with them. But let's face it: E-mail archiving is a third-class application; it's not the CRM [customer relationship management] or ERP [enterprise resource planning] app that is more exciting for IT guys to work on, and which are considered core to a business that relies on SAAS [software as a service]. So companies put their second-tier IT guys on e-mail archiving. It's like, 'When we get some extra time, then we'll do the e-mail.'"

LiveOffice's Smith agreed that companies often make the mistake of not paying enough attention to archiving their data, so that it can be accessed in a reasonable amount of time.

"With the new [FRCP] guidelines, they [Intel] had to tell the court, 'We just don't have access to these certain e-mails ... our system was not designed to retain it,'" Smith said. "You throw in human error into the mix, there's just no way for them to find those e-mails. If you don't have a proactive system in place, taking the e-mails as they come in so that there's no chance to have human error, and then placing them into a redundant archive ... then you'll have the same issues Intel now has."

Next Page: Financial services companies ahead of the curve.

This article was originally published on 2012-05-04
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