"No one can support ever-increasing mailbox sizes," he says. "At the same time, we have to ensure the safety and security of sensitive data being transmitted. We have to ensure the availability of emails archived by users on their laptops or desktops."
As a divisional CIO within a multinational organization, Jetly also cites as a challenge getting email from continent to continent. "It gets very tricky when different government [regulations] and private-sector contracts restrict email routing," he explains. For instance, certain PCI-DSS regulations require that emails originating in the U.S. stay in the U.S.
The oncoming trend of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) also worries him. "If an organization needs encrypted email but also supports BYOD, supporting access to corporate email on personal devices becomes a never-ending challenge," Jetly says. "And if a user loses a personal device, who has liability for the loss of data?" he asks.
Pete Kardiasmenos, systems architect at SBLI USA, the New York City-based insurance company, manages the firm's Exchange servers and gets involved with "anything relating to email." His biggest issue: users turning to external, free email systems, such as Yahoo and Gmail, to circumvent the company's storage limits.
"They don't have bad intentions. They want to know why they're limited to 500 megabytes when Gmail is unlimited. It's because the more space you have, the more time backup takes, the more complicated disaster recovery is. We have to constantly communicate our policies," he says. Like a lot of enterprise organizations, SBLI USA has had to block the use of public email systems from company-owned computers as a security measure, and limit space in Exchange for most users because of storage cost issues.
Even then, he says, email is still a headache for the company. "People keep email in their inbox the same way they keep files on their desktop, to keep them handy. They send the same file back and forth as an attachment until you have 10 versions that you have to store."
For Oakland County's Bertolini, it's the management that's the challenge -- managing passwords, and managing Outlook's .pst backup files when they get too big. At least, he says, when those files get too large, they start to generate error messages. "We find out about it when [users] have a problem," sighs Bertolini.
"In one case, we discovered thousands of emails dating back to 2001," Bertolini relates. "And the real problem is that most of them dealt with trivia like meeting for lunch. There's a cost to maintaining and managing email over time."
The largest burden for IT, Radicati says, is simply uptime. "The overriding concern for IT is making sure that it's up and running and available," she says.
Email in the cloud