Survey Shows IT Departments Respond to an Average of 191 Email Search and Discovery Requests Each Year

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Discovery requirements putting strain on IT resources; Reliance on backup tapes exposing businesses to legal risks.


By eliminating the need to restore from backups, PSTs and email servers, an email archive is becoming a requirement for businesses that want to safely respond to discovery requests for legal and business reasons.

According to a recent survey conducted by Osterman Research for email archiving provider Fortiva, email discovery requests are putting a significant strain on IT resources. The survey shows that IT departments face an average of 22 litigation-related requests annually; for organizations with over 1000 employees that number jumps to 37 litigation-related requests each year. In addition to legal discovery requests, the survey reports that IT departments receive an average of 37 business requests, 25 regulatory or audit-related requests, and 107 end-user requests annually.

“The number of requests to recover email has risen sharply over the past decade, but very few businesses have a true understanding of the impact this is having on their IT resources,” said Eric Goodwin, CEO, Fortiva. “These statistics reinforce why so many companies are now turning to email archiving to simplify data retrieval. With an archive in place, a discovery request that used to take months can be competed in under a day – and the exposure to legal risks is significantly reduced.”

According to the survey, retrieving raw email data for a single legal discovery request takes almost a month. Since this does not take into account the time required for a legal review of the data, IT teams may also be required to spend additional time supporting the legal discovery review.

“Based on our research, 75 percent of businesses are still relying on backup tapes to recover information for discovery. This is concerning not only because tapes can be very time-consuming to restore, but also because they have a high rate of failure and corruption – which can make it impossible to satisfy a request,” said Michael Osterman, Osterman Research. “By eliminating the need to restore from backups, PSTs and email servers, an email archive is becoming a requirement for businesses that want to safely respond to discovery requests for legal and business reasons.”

Other findings from the survey include:

  • In addition to being time-consuming, discovery requests are having a negative impact on other projects. One in four businesses surveyed has delayed a business or IT initiative in order to meet legal discovery requirements.
  • For each discovery request, over half of the time spent by IT (58 percent) is spent gathering, restoring and searching through backups, while the remainder is spent finding and searching through PST files (25 percent) and searching through the email server (17 percent).
  • On average, businesses keep 24 months’ worth of data on backup tapes.
  • IT departments bear the bulk of the costs of recovering data for legal discovery, representing an average of 62 percent of the total costs involved.

Survey Methodology
The survey was conducted by Osterman Research between July 1 and July 19, 2007 among 102 North American organizations with a median of 1000 employees that do not have an email archive in place.

About Fortiva
Fortiva is the leading provider of on-demand email archiving solutions for Microsoft Exchange providing storage reduction, legal discovery and regulatory compliance. With a global data center presence, Fortiva delivers its enterprise-grade solutions through a strong network of strategic partnerships, including Bell Canada, Mercury Technologies, MessageLabs, and Microsoft Managed Solutions (MMS). Fortiva is a privately-owned company, with investment from Cargill Ventures, Ventures West and McLean Watson Capital. For more information, visit

Media Inquiries Contact:

Dao Tran
dtran @     

Victoria Badgley
victoria.badgley @
416.366.6666 ext. 383


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