According to a recent survey conducted by a leading analyst firm in the messaging space, the total cost of ownership (TCO) for email archiving is often significantly higher for in-house solutions than for an outsourced option. The survey, conducted by Osterman Research for email archiving provider Fortiva, reveals the TCO for maintaining an in-house archiving capability is $4.53 per user per month for a mid-sized organization over a three-year period. This works out to be 26 per cent higher than Fortiva's managed email archiving solution, which provides similar capacity at a cost $3.58 per user per month.

The survey also found that those who are planning on implementing an email archiving solution are underestimating how much IT labor will cost. Organizations without an email archiving system in place expected the labor component to be half of their total costs, while those who have actually deployed an archiving solution said labor costs accounted for two-thirds of their total costs.

According to Osterman Research, the top three most time-consuming activities for IT staff are providing technical support to end users, backing up the archive, and administering archive users. The survey, which was conducted between July 25 and August 18, 2006 among North American organizations, considered costs incurred both during and after installation, including storage, maintenance and ongoing labor costs.

"Traditionally, outsourcing email archiving has been seen as more cost-effective for small or midsized companies. What this research proves is that even for enterprises with 10,000 users or more, there may not be a strong TCO argument for in-house solutions," said Michael Osterman, President, Osterman Research. "When you consider the additional benefits of outsourcing to a company like Fortiva, such as scalability, security, and SLA performance guarantees, not to mention reduced hassles, the pendulum is clearly swinging toward outsourcing."

A full report by Osterman Research based on the survey results is available for download at

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