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  Apr 14, Update on Exchange Public Folders: What They Are
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Daily Digest: April 14, 2010
Archiving, E-Discovery, & Compliance

Sonian Selected by AlwaysOn as an OnDemand Top 100 Winner
Recognized for leveraging cloud computing platform to drive advanced email archiving and eDiscovery
AlwaysOn is a media outfit. I don't take most of such awards seriously, they are usually done without much investigation, and often there's an ulterior motive, eg to encourage advertising.

Consonus Unveils Robust SaaS Email and File System Archiving Framework
Consonus Extends SAFE, the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Delivery of Symantec Enterprise Vault, from Email Archiving to Address File System Archiving, Journaling, and eDiscovery
That's interesting: a hosted version of the market-leading Enterprise Vault. It's the first time I've heard of this. Most EV clients feel equivocally about EV, and would consider other alternatives if it weren't so hard to migrate away. If Consonus could make it easy to migrate to its hosted EV offering, and then to other more modern hosted archiving technology, that could be very attractive.

LiveOffice Named by AlwaysOn as OnDemand Top 100 Winner
Leading Email Archiving Provider Recognized as Rapidly Growing Private Company and Cloud Computing Pioneer
As per comment on Sonian, difficult to take these awards seriously. However, LiveOffice is interesting as the leading cloud-based email archiving firm, it's moving from a financial services focus to the horizontal market at large.

Abacus Solutions to Showcase "Enterprise Managed Archiver," The Next Generation Email Archiving Solution, at Interop Las Vegas 2010  
A new archiving entrant, hope to learn more about them. At a time when there's consolidation among archiving vendors, it's perhaps surprising that new names appear so frequently.

Symantec Helps Businesses Prevent Data Loss in Evolving IT Environments
Symantec Finds Social Media to be a Top Concerns of CIOs
Symantec is adding social media to the types of electronic structure it controls. A good step, and illustrative of the trend to supporting more media types. DLP in general has had very little traction. Looking at the larger picture, I lean to the view that it will be very hard, and usually impractical, to control most electronic information. Instead of trying to control its location and existence, I suspect we'll move towards legal and regulatory constraints on how electronic information can be used

Email, Messaging & Collaboration

Binary Tree Announces Immediate Availability of Products for Coexistence and Migration between Lotus Domino and Microsoft Exchange Server 2010
Leading provider of cross-platform messaging migration and coexistence software, announced today the immediate availability of their coexistence and migration products for customers who need to establish direct interoperability and a direct migration path between Lotus Domino and Microsoft Exchange Server 2010.

Corporate America Rallies to Attend Social Media Mega Event in Hopes of Fast Rewards
Guy Kawasaki keynotes Social Media Success Summit 2010—an online conference covering all aspects of social media marketing

Study Shows that Email has to Change!
Harris Poll Finds that Email Remains the Primary Method of Collaboration in the Workplace, but it's Time for Email to Evolve

Open-Xchange Provides Business-Class E-Mail and Groupware to Parallels Plesk Panel Users
4PSA software extension integrates Open-Xchange with Parallels Plesk Panel

Blog Item(s)

Update on Exchange Public Folders: What They Are

This is the first of a short series of bulletins on Exchange public folders. We discuss:

  • What they are and how they're used (this bulletin)
  • The problems of public folders (next bulletin)
  • The migration options and the main issues to consider when migrating (third bulletin)

What Public Folders Are

Public folders have been available since Exchange 4.0, which shipped in 1996. They represent an early attempt by Microsoft to provide a common space that users can work in. So they can be thought of as a precursor to SharePoint. In particular, public folders provide places where users can share email, files, calendars, and address book information.

Public folders are implemented as a MAPI folder hierarchy, potentially many folders deep. Most folders contain email messages, but in fact public folders can contain any Outlook/Exchange data type and conventional files.

As their name indicates, public folders are shared among users. Access controls can be defined on any part of the hierarchy, including the ability to delegate permission-setting to other users. Public folders reside on Exchange servers. To provide for ease of access for many users, they are typically replicated between different departmental servers.

To get a better feel for how they look from the user standpoint, see this 10-minute video.

How Public Folders Are Used

In a large organization, the top levels of the hierarchy typically represent a natural nesting of divisions, regions, departments, and so on, down to clusters of closely related users. The leaf folders contain actual information.

Common uses of leaf folders are:

  • Archives of email-based discussions on a topic.
  • Setting up meetings, through a shared calendar.
  • Sharing address book information.
  • Archiving emails with large attachments. Public folders aren't usually purged, so dragging an email over to a public folder is a way of keeping a copy. This frees up space in the user's main message store.
  • Storing of application-generated alerts.
  • Receiving email from outside. Public folders can be mail-enabled. So, for example, outsiders can send emails to sales-inquiries@megacorp.com, where staff can then respond.

In-house-developed public folder applications are also common, such as a help desk system, where forms are used to manage trouble tickets. The tickets are accessed via forms, and the information is stored in a public folder and its appropriate subfolder (e.g., "New Ticket," "Being Worked On," and "Resolved").

Finally, a variety of third-party applications are available that use public folders. An example is Pertrac's contact management applications, which are used by investment banking traders to share information about customers.

Access Controls

Two key roles must be defined:

  • Default. This is for most internal users, and defines what they can do. The default settings are normally set to give a lot of power to users, to create and manage public folders, and delegate permissions to others.
  • Anonymous. This is intended for external users, not identified in Active Directory. It lets them contribute items to a mail-enabled folder, but they cannot see it or modify the contents.

A wide variety of privileges can be assigned; administrator-only privileges include the definition of replication and limits settings. Access controls are inherited from higher folders, although they can be overridden.

... David Ferris and Rita Gurevich. Rita is founder of SPHERE Technology Solutions, a professional services organization that focuses on data management and clean-up initiatives in the Microsoft infrastructure.


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In short, our technology and industry depth helps you understand today's products, where they've come from, where they're going, and their value.

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