Best practices for AXS-One archive migration

By Bill Tolson | 21 May 2018

If your company has traditionally depended on AXS-One email archiving software to help meet your business needs, you’re not alone. Many organizations used the AXS-One archiving solution for everything from managing the size of their Exchange mailbox to providing support for eDiscovery and compliance.

But times change. For one thing, AXS-One has been bought and sold three times in the last decade—most recently by OpenText. Because of this organizational instability that has led, among other concerns, to a significant reduction in support and R&D staff, many in the AXS-One customer base have understandably concluded that the email archive has reached its de facto end-of-life.

Is your migration helping or hurting?

Whether you’re worried about the implications of using unsupported (or perhaps soon-to-be obsolete) technology, or are preparing to shift to a cloud-based email client like Gmail or Office 365 and have found that AXS-One archiving no longer meets your business needs, a new challenge awaits you. That challenge is determining how to address your future email archiving needs and what exactly to do with the large volume of email that you currently have stored in your AXS-One archive.

But if not done properly, the very process of email migration can introduce risk on a number of levels, for example if the archived data is changed or data corruption occurs. There are a plethora of considerations to address when it comes to tackling email archive migration, which include figuring out:

  • The amount of data contained in your archive
  • What kind of data you’re storing
  • If the chain of custody is documented at message level
  • How much key current data you have versus “dark data”—for example, archived messages from inactive users and former employees that’s being stored primarily for compliance purposes
  • If you must migrate the entire archive and the journal archive
  • What process is used for migrating stubbed or shortcut messages, what happens to these messages, and if accessing them is compromised
  • If you can still migrate your email if your company is currently involved in litigation or has pending litigation
  • If you’ll be able to account for all of your archived email
  • The speed of the process and the length of time a full migration will take
  • Whether migrating your archive will cause delays in your Exchange implementation project
  • How to ensure all data is migrated in a manner that’s legally defensible

Ensuring full fidelity during migration

This last point on data accuracy and fidelity is of particular concern to regulated industries like financial services. If not done properly, the very process of email migration can introduce risk of losing legal defensibility if the archived data becomes modified or gets corrupted along the way.

As one of the most highly regulated industries on the planet, the finance industry has no choice but to place premium importance on the preservation of email data archive fidelity, which comes down to making smart choices about the migration process itself. In addition to the long list of concerns above, when considering solutions, financial firms must ask the following questions about what happens during the migration process to ensure data accuracy:

  • Is a conversion process required, and if so, what change is required to the data?
  • Will the archived email stay in its native format?
  • Will changes be made to the archived email metadata, such as file time stamps?
  • Will the archived email retain its original properties?
  • How are corrupt or orphaned messages processed?

Avoiding common pitfalls

All of this emphasizes that even though you know its time, migrating your AXS-One archive is a tricky task. Doing migration wrong leads to wasted hours and unnecessary expenses. So as you prepare to migrate your aging AXS-One archive, your goal should be to find a solution that can:

  • Know how to handle duplicate messages in a way that’s legally defensible.
  • Provide proven work-arounds in response to recognizing failed rollbacks of past archival attempts that ended in error.
  • Effectively work with multiple data types—rather than concentrating only on Lotus Notes and Exchange email, the goal is to allow extraction of all data types ever archived with AXS-One archive.
  • Deal with AXS-One complex archive setups. AXS-One was known for commonly having complex archival processes that included “operational-over-compliance,” multiple retention layers, and Lotus Notes to exchange migrations. Avoid solutions that offer a single standard approach that may fail to address the complexities of a specific need. Ideally, you want the capability to call on custom approaches for extraction that will help meet your company’s specific needs.
  • Offer a health check. This is a fine-tuning and analysis of the AXS-One archive, which in many cases has not been kept up to date or reviewed for a considerable amount of time. This will ensure the migration is tuned for the highest performance and the best chance for trouble-free migration.
  • Know how to properly process the journal. The journal presents a special challenge to many AXS-One Archive migration customers, the mishandling of which can lead to serious issues down the road with industry compliance requirements. Select an AXS-One archive migration that can ensure the entire journal gets relocated without data or meta-data loss during the migration process. Ask if compliance journals can be kept whole instead of being split into separate messages, since the latter process can potentially nullify regulatory compliance.
  • Deal with the details. It’s also important to have guidance in dealing with little known requirements like how to handle distribution lists and BCCs. Your migration solution should be able to correctly expand distribution lists that are stored in original emails, as well as include BCCs when applicable.

In short, finance firms need a solution for AXS-One archive migration that’s easy to manage, and that can export data quickly, with little or no intervention. The last thing you want to worry about when making this type of migration is potentially losing emails or having data become corrupted along the way that you may need for regulatory compliance. It’s okay to move on—and in fact, it’s important to do so—when a product like the AXS-One email archive reaches the end of the road. Just be sure that when you’re ready to decommission your AXS-One legacy email archive and migrate its contents to a new platform on-premise or in the cloud, that you take care to get the support you need to reach your goals.

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