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"MessageLabs, now part of Symantec,
provides a range of managed services to protect, control,
encrypt and archive electronic communications. Listed as a
leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant and many other analyst
reports, and with more than 19,000 clients ranging from small
business to the Fortune 500 located in more than 86 countries,
MessageLabs services are widely recognized as a market leader in
the messaging and web security market."
Source : MessageLabs
Why E-mail Must Operate 24/7 and How to Make This Happen
Email Uptime is also known as :
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Email Uptime Reports,
Uptime Sends You Email,
Email Uptime VPS Hosting,
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Server Monitoring Software Site Uptime,
Site Uptime Website Monitoring Script,
Receive Monthly Email Uptime Reports,
Continuous Email Uptime,
Designs Email Systems,
Get Email Continuity Free,
Managing Email Uptime,
Having Email Troubles,
Busting the Myths of Email Outsourcing,
Web Site Uptime Alert,
Discussing Email Uptime,
Web Site Uptime Alert and Email Report Samples,
Ensure Email Uptime with Email Continuity,
Current Linux Uptime,
Email Uptime Monitoring,
Multiple Email and SMS Alert Contacts,
Uptime Monitor Email Notification,
Accounts Receive Monthly Email Uptime,
Uptime Monitoring Report Triggering,
Server Uptime Email,
Check Website Uptime Notification Email.
Why You Should Read This White Paper
Email is absolutely critical to organizations of all sizes: it is the primary
way that individuals communicate, it is the primary way that users send files to
others inside and outside their organization, and a growing proportion of
organizations use email as the backbone for transaction processing, order
processing, customer relationship management, and other mission critical
processes. Email use continues to grow and will remain the dominant form of
corporate communication for many years to come.
However, email systems are not completely reliable. Systems go down as a
result of natural disasters, as well as less dramatic problems like a local
power outage, a leaky sprinkler pipe above a server or even a planned server
outage. Most often, disruptions can occur from something as simple as server
patches that are not fully tested or shifting loads that unexpectedly crash a
server. The bottom line, however, is that email systems rarely operate 100% of
the time despite the need for them to do so.
The results of this downtime can be devastating and can include lost revenue,
lost employee productivity, loss of reputation and lost opportunities of which
an organization might not even be aware.
How Can You Improve Email Uptime?
Organizations faced with the growing criticality of email and the need to
make email outages invisible to end users, whether planned or unplanned, must
implement some form of email continuity capability. There are three options to
email continuity: hardware, software and hosted services. This white paper
focuses on hosted email continuity, the benefits of which include, but are not
- Email server and infrastructure outages are invisible to the end user
- Little or no up-front deployment costs
- Low total cost of ownership
- Predictable operating costs
- Virtually no IT staff investments to manage the capability
- High levels of scalability
- Reduced system complexity and administrative headaches
About This White Paper
This white paper, sponsored by MessageLabs, now a part of Symantec, discusses
the growing importance of email, the consequences of email operating at less
than 100% uptime, the expense of some methods to ensure very high levels of
email uptime, and the benefits of a hosted email continuity service.
Email is Absolutely Critical
Email is the Primary Communications Tool
Email truly has become the primary communications medium for most
organizations and it is the communications tool that users can least afford to
be without. The vast majority of email users rely more on email than on any
other communication modes they use: telephone, instant messaging, face-to-face
meetings, faxes, etc. Because corporate email is used at all times ' during
normal business hours, when employees are at home, or by employees in multiple
time zones ' email must remain continually available. An email downtime of even
30 minutes can have serious ramifications for employee productivity and
corporate revenue. Email must remain continually available because business must
remain continually available.
In a recent Osterman Research survey of email users, the importance of email
was underscored by the following results:
- The average user sends 40 emails and receives 96 emails on a typical
workday, or one email sent or received every 3.5 minutes (assuming an eight-hour
- 74% of all communication sent by a typical user is sent through email.
- 75% of users check their work-related email from home on weekdays, 74% do so
on weekends and 52% do so while on vacation.
- Users feel that 55% of the email they receive is either important or
- 92% of users feel that email is either important or critical in helping them
get their work done.
Email has become the De Facto File Transport System
While email has become the most important communication tool for users in
organizations of all sizes, email has also become the de facto method for
sending files to others inside and outside of the organization. While many
organizations maintain FTP systems that are designed to handle file transfers,
the vast majority of users take advantage of email's ubiquity and ease of use to
send documents, spreadsheets, presentations and other content.
One of the consequences of the use of email for file transport is that email
has also become the primary repository of critical business information. In
effect, it has become an enormous "filing cabinet" of structured and
unstructured information. Numerous Osterman Research surveys1 over the past
three years have demonstrated that growth in email storage ' a direct
consequence of using email so freely as a file transport system ' is the leading
problem in managing messaging systems, worse than malware or spam.
Email is the Way that Organizations do Business
With most organizations using email to send business-critical content and
documents and the number of emails increasing each year, businesses need to
better protect their email infrastructures from instances of downtime and gain
better insight into the issues causing outages. Osterman Research has found that
four out of five organizations use email to send, receive and store critical
business documents, including contracts, purchase orders, personnel records and
other critical business information. As a result, organizations that rely on
email for conducting business must have continual access to it to maintain the
normal operation of their business.
Growth in the Use of Email
Despite the growth of alternatives to email, such as real-time communications
tools like instant messaging or the use of wikis to share business information,
email will continue to be the primary communications and file transport
mechanism for most business users and most organizations for many years to come.
There are four basic reasons that will continue to make email the dominant
business communications platform:
- Email is ubiquitous in the workplace, at home and on mobile platforms.
- Virtually all email systems can communicate with each other.
- Email is already present and does not require a new system to be deployed.
- Email requires little, if any, training, relieving the burden on IT to
deploy new systems.
Maintaining Email Continuity is Vital
Microsoft Exchange&8482; is the dominant email platform used in the corporate
world with an estimated 48% of the North American installed base in 2008,
growing to 51% by 20102. However, despite the dominance of Exchange and its many
robust features, it does not have continuity inherently built-in. Failover
technology can be used to shift loads between systems, but this is not invisible
to the end users of the system. Long-term, there are no built-in methods of
providing alternate access to stored messages. However, end users store
documents via Microsoft Exchange&8482; every day. Losing access to these documents
could mean a loss in revenue for the company and productivity loss for
Clearly, then, the importance of email to virtually all users and
organizations, coupled with the growing criticality of the data sent through and
stored in these systems, means that email must remain up and running as close to
24x7 as possible. In short, organizations of every size and in every industry
should have a way to maintain continuity of the email system regardless of the
external or internal influences that might bring it down. Although there are
many good continuity options available, they can be expensive. Further, they
require additional IT staff time to architect, deploy and manage. IT staff time
devoted to managing these backup capabilities is time that cannot be used for
projects that might provide more value to an organization.
Email Systems go down
A recent Osterman Research survey found that in mid-sized and large
organizations, email systems experience a mean of 53 minutes of unplanned
downtime during a typical month. That means that during a one-year period, a
typical email system will be down for 10.6 hours. This does not include the
scheduled maintenance or other scheduled outages that happen on a regular basis.
A company considering email recovery or continuity needs to understand the
importance of email and its tolerance for email outages. Decision makers need to
understand exactly what impact an email outage can have on their business,
although many of them do not understand the full impact of an outage.
Emai l Downtime can have Damaging Consequences
The consequences of downtime can be serious and dramatic. Among the many
ramifications of email downtime are:
- Loss employee productivity
Osterman Research has found that the average email user is about 25% less
productive during an email outage. If we assume that the typical user
experiences 10 hours of downtime each year, that means there is 2.5 hours of
productive time lost for each user. For an organization of 1,000 users, 2,500
productive work hours are lost each year, or the equivalent of 1.2 personyears
- Lost revenue
Email downtime can also result in lost revenue for an organization, particularly
for organizations that use email for transaction processing, such as receiving
orders, sending shipment notifications, and the like. For example, construction
management firm Native American Sciences Corporation believes that a major email
downtime incident cost the company a $75 million sale3. In addition to this
quite serious impact of email downtime is the potential to miss inquiries from
potential customers, resulting in further lost sales opportunities.
Related to loss of revenue (and often more damaging) is the potential for
being out of compliance with government or legal mandates for preserving
content. For example, an email system that goes down will prevent time-sensitive
information from being communicated, such as email between a hospital and a lab.
Or an email outage can result in emails not being archived according to
statutory requirements, a particularly serious problem for financial services
- Intangible and unidentifiable consequences
Email downtime can also result in a variety of consequences that are difficult
to quantify or identify. For example, an email system that is down will result
in email messages that are bounced back to the sender. If the sender is a
potential customer, he or she might assume that a company has gone out of
business. A sender, not seeing the bounceback message, might also assume that
his or her message was simply ignored. Or, the sender might assume that the
organization does not have the technical expertise to manage an email system
properly. Regardless of how a bounceback is interpreted, none of the results
will be beneficial to an organization whose email system is down.
Some Downtime Issues are Beyond your Control
Email downtime can result from a variety of actions that are well beyond the
control of email administrators. Among the most common causes of email outages
- A storage area network or other storage system has failed
- Databases have become corrupted
- Connectivity can fail as a result of storms or nearby construction work
- Server hardware can fail
Downtime can also result from simple human errors, such as kicking the power
plug of a server or rack, failures caused by an Internet Service Provider, the
failure of a telecommunications link, the failure of a hard disk or other server
component, software failures introduced by a faulty patch or a failure of Active
Directory®, migrations to a new messaging system, earthquakes, floods, etc. In
short, many ' if not most ' email outages are caused by factors over which IT
staff has little or no control.
In most organizations, email recovery time objectives
(RTO) are not aligned with users' expectations. Typically, organizations
settle for an RTO of 4-24 hours. Unfortunately, this number is not in line with
executive expectations that email will always be available. A recent survey
indicated that users found email outages become extremely painful after a period
of about 10 minutes. Even in organizations where all stakeholders have agreed on
a 24-hour RTO, a lengthy email outage may put IT jobs at risk.
While users expect a very quick RTO, the reality is that most organizations
are not prepared to meet a 24-hour RTO for email. Organizations that rely on
clustering, replication, and tape backup have no protection from data
corruption, configuration problems, Active Directory® corruption, Windows®
viruses and malware, or other failures. When these strike, there is no option
but to rebuild from tape ' a process that can take as long as 48-72 hours.
For most email administrators, disaster recovery remains painful, expensive,
and fraught with potential risks. IT managers should implement a solution that
provides continual email service, full recovery, and low RTO.
Why Many don't opt for Email Continuity
Email downtime can be almost completely eliminated, although many
organizations for a variety of reasons have not yet implemented a capability to
ensure virtually 100% uptime. Some may not realize that Exchange does not
provide inherent failover capabilities, but for most the issue boils down to
either a) lack of knowledge or experience with the significant downside that
occurs because of downtime, or b) the solutions they have investigated are too
Some options for providing email continuity can be cost-prohibitive, an issue
to which some decision makers are particularly sensitive in a soft economy. For
example, an organization can implement a redundant data center that mirrors its
primary data center, uses redundant telecommunications links, and so forth. If
there is a failure of the primary email system, the secondary data center can be
brought online very quickly to provide continuity of the email system. However,
this solution is generally very expensive to deploy and maintain.
Another option is to use backup appliances or servers to provide redundant
capabilities for rapid failover in the event of a failure of the primary system.
Ideally, these backup systems will be located in a geographically separate
location in order to minimize the impact of downtime caused by natural
disasters, power outages or problems that impact a large geographic area. While
there are many good continuity systems available, they are not inexpensive,
particularly for smaller organizations.
Why Hosted Email Continuity Makes Sense
A hosted email continuity service that provides continuous availability of
email can ensure that email stays up and running virtually 100% of the time,
allowing an organization to avoid the lost productivity, lost revenue and other
consequences arising from email outages. A hosted email continuity service helps
an organization to avoid almost all of the disruption and productivity issues
inherent with email downtime, it helps IT to avoid the manual maintenance
headaches while providing users and IT with access to necessary data during
outages, and it reduces system complexity and administrative headaches with a
simple and secure portal interface for administrative functions and reporting.
Further, a hosted continuity service offers a number of other advantages,
- The ability to shift capital expenses to operating expenses. This is
particularly important during periods of economic uncertainty and flat or
declining IT budgets, since this allows organizations to implement new
capabilities with little or no up-front expenses. For larger organizations, the
shift away from capital expenses might also provide tax advantages, as well.
- A hosted continuity service greatly simplifies the duplicate costs of
scaling and maintaining discrete systems.
- IT costs are lower. Subscription to hosted services allows an organization
to avoid the overhead associated with implementing and managing conventional
software or hardware. This makes the overall system scalable at a far lower cost
and enables predictable budget planning.
- Costs are more predictable. Again, because the cost of a hosted service is
normally static for the length of a contract period, per-seat and total costs
are more predictable than can be the case for on-premise solutions.
- A hosted email continuity service requires little or no investment by IT
staff, freeing them for other tasks.
- A hosted continuity service can save IT staff time because many typical
implementation tasks associated with licensed software are eliminated. This
makes deployment time shorter and easier than is the case with appliances or
software-based project implementations. For example a hosted email continuity
service can typically be implemented in one to three days.
Email is absolutely vital to the operation of most organizations and for the
productivity of users who rely on email to get their work done. Consequently,
when email is not available for any reason ' even for as little as a few minutes
' user productivity suffers, revenue can be lost, prospective customers can be
alienated, and an organization's reputation can be damaged.
To avoid these consequences, an email continuity service should be deployed
to ensure that email operates as close to 100% of the time as possible. While
there are other continuity solutions available, a hosted email continuity
service offers a number of important business advantages. These include
significantly reduced capital expenditures, more predictable costs, minimal
impacts on IT staff time, the ability to scale to very large numbers of users,
and reduced system complexity.
About MessageLabs Email Continuity Service
MessageLabs Email Continuity Service helps organizations to maximize email
availability and guard against the disruption and data loss that can result from
an email outage. The service provides organizations with an on-demand Email
Failover system can be activated within 60 seconds when an outage occurs. This
service allows email users to continue sending and receiving messages through
Outlook, Lotus Notes, a Web browser, or BlackBerry devices ' without
interruption ' guarding against data loss or bounced messages during an outage.
Why use MessageLab s Emai l Co ntinuity Servi ce?
With MessageLabs Email Continuity Service, the backup email system is
permanently primed to come on stream at the flick of a switch that customers
control. Hosted in top-tier data centers and easily administered from a single
Web console, the service enables email to remain fully functional in spite of a
full or partial system failure ' and regardless of where users are located.
Features of the system include:
- Adaptable configuration options provide continuity for selected users or
locations so that organizations can deploy high availability only to those users
that truly require it.
- Seamless and intuitive access through the use of an Outlook plug-in for
users so that additional training is not required in order to use the system
- Guards against data loss gap or bounced messages during outages, including
historical retention of emails, resulting in a more professional image to the
outside world and continuous access to content (particularly important for
organizations that must archive content)
- BlackBerry support to provide continuity for mobile users (generally the
most critical users in most organizations)
- Forensic data on emails, critical for e-discovery and regulatory compliance
- MessageLabs, now a part of Symantec, offers industry-leading service level
agreements for businesses and other organizations focused on availability and
MessageLabs, now a part of Symantec, extends 24/7/365 local security experts
who can offer its customers service in the local language, becoming a part of
their organization. MessageLabs, now a part of Symantec, believes its clients
deserve nothing less than around the clock telephone, email and Web-based
support. Wherever its customers do business, they can depend on MessageLabs
Services global infrastructure of client service experts, engineers and support
personnel to make sure their business is protected.
MessageLabs Services are delivered across a distributed, load-balanced
infrastructure in 14 data centers in four continents, and supported 24/7/365 by
multiple Network Operation Centers. The company's hosted services offer a
secure, robust and scalable system architecture designed for optimum
performance, improved operating costs and comprehensive administration and
reporting via a secure, intuitive Web-based portal.
To Learn More
For more information about the MessageLabs Email Continuity Service, call
866-460-0000 or visit: