While exploring the depths of archived, deleted and old email stored by SMBs is not exactly an adventure worthy of Indiana Jones, this activity does offer MSPs the opportunity to help SMB customers improve productivity. According to a recent study of almost 200 IT decision-makers at SMBs from GFI Software, 69 percent of respondents indicate that employee requests for assistance retrieving deleted emails limits the productivity of their IT staff, and 45 percent admit to no IT solution for managing and automating email archive retention and retrieval.

Unlike some common IT needs of SMBs, in the case of effective email archiving and retrieval, the SMB community already has a good awareness of the value their email holds.  About one in five respondents (19%) say the information contained within their archived email is “priceless” to the organization, while three quarters (75%) value their organization’s archived email data at more than $100,000.

And SMBs are not arbitrarily assigning value to their email, either. Email is increasingly being used as a business intelligence tool, with the survey revealing that 75% of those questioned use email for communication trend analysis, while 76% use historical email to plot response times to customer queries, particularly in sales-driven environments.

SMB Email Processes Out of Date

Despite SMBs’ general awareness and usage of their archived email, many of them do not use modern storage and retrieval processes and systems. More than one third (37%) of those surveyed still employ manual processes for the retention of email, while 29% retain archives on individual users machines.

The use of web-based hosted email services in the workplace, such as Gmail, has had a significant impact on the way users retain email, with 30% of those surveyed using it for the storage of some or all archived email, a practice most prevalent among smaller organizations of 10-49 employees, where more than half (51%) utilize it. So it’s no surprise that 24% of respondents do not believe they are storing their email in the most cost-effective way, and another 25% do not even know if their current process is cost-effective.

Dr. Jones, I Presume

In the movies, when the forces of good need to keep Biblical relics out of the hands of Nazis or stop child slavery and human sacrifice in India, they call upon Indian Jones to come to the rescue. Real life being much less dramatic, when SMBs need help in updating their email archiving and retrieval processes and systems, they call upon MSPs. There is also nothing wrong with MSPs calling upon their SMB clients and offering to assess their email situation to see if improvements are needed.

This survey coincides with the launch of a new GFI email archiving/analysis tool, so naturally MSPs cannot automatically take all of its findings at face value. But unlike the adventures of Indiana Jones, SMB misadventures with archiving and retrieving email are very real, and MSPs can play the role of rescuing hero.