Information Technology support isn’t just about hands on patching your computer systems, ripping the sides off machines, resetting passwords or turning stuff off and back on again.

Sometimes you have to manage people, not necessarily a skill you would expect from a computer nerd.

This morning I spoke to a client of ours, the IT manager for a landscaping distributor looking after 50-60 users. Their server is limited to just 75GB of email storage and it’s pretty close to spilling over.

Our client wanted to know whether email archiving might help reduce the amount of storage being taken up by email.

Email archiving is about managing your email correspondence; that might be regulatory or compliance reasons, to meet legislation or perhaps something else.

Most email archiving works by grabbing a copy of the mail as it passes by, and then applying rules as to how it should be managed. You can do this with software on your server, an appliance in your server room, or through a hosted service like GFI MAX Mail Archive.

Unfortunately it was not good news for our client. Because email archiving works on a copy of the original email message, unless users proactively bin email they don’t need, the storage requirement increases rather than going down.

So instead of managing the email system, you need to manage the email users. Enter stage right: the warm, cuddly, fluffy IT person.

Carrot or the stick?

Sitting in front of your computer, trudging through piles of old email that date back to the last century is boring as hell. Nobody wants to do it, and I don’t know anybody that has.

How do you get your users to clean up their act?

The stick is to start enforcing quotas and limit how much email users are allowed to keep, tell the server to start rejecting email when the limit is exceeded.

Follow the stick with a carrot; spending just five minutes each day clearing down old and unwanted email will speed the system up, everybody loves a faster computer system.

There are lots of other non-technical ways to reduce the burden on your inbox (if you are the user) and your email server (if you are the administrator) – we’ll blog about those soon.

If you can’t wait and need some help now why not give us a call – 0845 004 3025.