Email Archiving Benefits: Cost Savings

Who likes saving money? Cost savings may not be the most important benefit to archiving your data, but it is up there, right? It it…

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Que Mangus

August 13, 20146 minute read

Who likes saving money? Cost savings may not be the most important benefit to archiving your data, but it is up there, right? It it must be taken into consideration. You may not believe me, but archiving your company’s email can truly be a cost savings. Maybe a few examples can help you to visualize how much there really is to gain and you’ll see where these cost savings can be found and quantified, based on some standard functions of archiving software.

Email Archiving Cost Savings Examples:

Provide End-user Access to the Archive

Without archiving

Users will periodically delete the email that they will need to recover at some point. For example, if you have a 500-person organization and each employee needs to recover just one email per month, that equals 6,000 emails to be recovered each year! If your IT department requires an average of 30 minutes to recover each email from a backup tape, they will spend a total of 3,000 hours annually recovering this content.
The total cost of email recovery without archiving…$115,385:
the equivalent of 1.44 full-time IT staff members.

With archiving

Now, let’s instead suppose that the organization has deployed an archiving system that has been configured to allow individual users to access their own archived content. It might take just five minutes for the employee to recover the email. If the employee’s salary is identical to that of IT staff members, then the total cost of employees recovering their own documents will be $19,230 annually.

That is a cost savings of $96,154 per year!
(minus the average cost of the archiving system ~$10,000 per year)


There are many fundamental problems with storing content “live” on email servers instead of storing that content in an email archive. The most glaring problem with this is the space requirements for data. When the system crash occurs, the need to store very large amounts of content on email servers can make server restoration a much more lengthy and costly process that impacts user productivity.

Let’s say that your email servers crash only once per year, and that each server supports 500 users, with a restoration time frame of six hours to completion, compared to just two hours with an email archive. If the average user salary is $40 per hour, and users are 25% less productive during the downtime, the costs are as follows:

Without archiving

$30,000 ($40 x 500 users x six hours x 25% lower productivity)

With archiving

$10,000 ($40 x 500 users x two hours x 25% lower productivity)

The total productivity cost savings to have one email restored would be $20,000!


Without archiving

Imagine that a 500-seat organization must respond to an e-discovery or regulatory audit request. All of its relevant electronic content is stored on 500 backup tapes. Let’s suggest that IT will spend a total of 30 minutes loading each tape into a recovery server and copying the data to a central repository for processing by legal staff. Another 24 hours of IT staff time is required to address issues like corrupted .PST files, tapes that cannot be read, etc. Let’s also say that the legal staff will require 320 man-hours to search through this repository for relevant content (the equivalent of one person working full time for eight weeks). This figure can vary widely, based on the type of data through which legal must search, but this figure is based on a real-world example.

Using the example above, that organization would spend 250 man-hours of IT staff time at a total cost of $10,538 (250 hours x $38.46/hour) to recover the data from the backup tapes. But the cost of legal staff is $64,000 (320 hours x $200 per hour), yielding a total labor cost of $74,538 to respond to a single e-discovery request or regulatory audit.

With archiving

Now, if our organization has an archiving system in place that can be accessed by legal staff directly, the costs change dramatically. Although archiving systems can vary widely in price based on their feature set, licensing costs and other factors, let’s assume a three-year cost of $60 per seat (including acquisition, support and maintenance costs), or $30,000 for the entire organizationfor three years. We’ll further assume that our organization will need to undertake just 10 eDiscovery or regulatory audit requests over a three-year period. If we spread the cost of the archiving system over just these requests, that results in a cost per request of $3,000 for the archiving system.

By using an email archiving solution, we can completely eliminate the IT cost in this scenario. The legal staff can access the archive directly. Because the archived information has already been indexed in the archiving process, eDiscovery will be much simpler and faster.

If we conservatively assume that the legal staff time will be halved when using an archive, the legal labor cost is $32,000 (160 hours x $200 per hour), although in many cases the reduction in time spent by legal will be significantly greater than this. Based on these assumptions, the cost of a single eDiscovery exercise or regulatory audit is $35,000 ($32,000 in labor and $3,000 for the archiving system), resulting in a dramatic net savings per request. Based on our rather conservative assumption of ten eDiscovery requests every three years, that results in a total savings of roughly $395,000 over a three-year period.

There are other cost savings and benefits an archiving system can provide any organization, but these are difficult to quantify. They include the ability to eliminate data leaks, conducting assessments for fine-tuning email use or retention policies, continually improving efficiency or effectiveness, or improving employee morale by empowering employees to search through their own content instead of waiting for IT to respond to employee requests.

This is the final post in a four part series on the benefits of archiving your organizations email. Make sure you also read the previous posts in the series:
Email Archiving Benefits, The Top 5 Reasons to Archive Email, and Email Archiving Benefits – Monitoring & Analytics.

So which email archiving solution should you use?

We suggest Retain Unified Archiving. Retain archives multiple email platforms in addition to social media and mobile communication data into one central archive. This archive can be easily accessed and searched, through the use of the application’s powerful built-in eDiscovery tools. This solution will enable you to realize your own cost savings, like those discussed in this post. Who likes saving money now?

For more information about Retain and the need for archiving, visit:

You can also download your Free 30-day trial of Retain.

Download your Free 30-day trial of Retain today!

Much of the information for this post is from the Osterman Whitepaper Using Email, File, Social Media and Mobile Archiving to Grow Your Business.

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Photo Credit: Analyzing Financial Data by Dave Dugdale is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Que Mangus

Que Mangus manages the product marketing for OpenText host connectivity solutions. Que has 14+ years of experience in software solutions marketing and received ITIL version 3 Foundation Certification in 2010. Que graduated from Utah Valley University located in Orem, UT, USA with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management.

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