We are Replacing Your Email PST files

KCITLike many County employees, you may be using PST (Outlook data) files to store email that has outgrown your mailbox. Although using PSTs have been the County’s preferred practice for some time, this fall we are beginning the process to move all data contained in PSTs to Exchange Archive Mailboxes with the PST Replacement Project.

Please note that the ability to store a large volume of email records in the Exchange Archive Mailbox does not satisfy or remove your responsibility to manage your email.  Remember, your email records are County property which must be retained, managed and disposed of in accordance with a State approved retention schedule based on the email content.

Benefits of Exchange Archive Mailboxes:

  • Outlook Web App (OWA) users cannot open PST files. Using Exchange Archive Mailboxes you will be able to view emails through OWA.
  • Data Security will improve with Exchange Archive Mailboxes, since PST files on local hard drives are rarely backed up and PSTs on network drives are not supported by Microsoft and are prone to corruption.
  • Appropriate Records Management is a high priority for the County and moving from PSTs to Exchange Archive Mailboxes is a great opportunity to review your records management practices.
  • PST files create ‘storage areas’ not recommended under the County’s records management policies
  • It is difficult to apply retention schedules to PST files as messages with varied content and retention requirements are usually saved together
  • Public Disclosure and E-Discovery improvements can be made by moving distributed data to Exchange Archive Mailboxes
  • PST files are stored in a variety of locations that need to be manually searched for responsive public records and for litigation discovery purposes.  It’s not possible to search across multiple PST files in a single operation. Each PST file must be searched individually.
  • Moving PST files to Exchange Archive Mailboxes will greatly decrease the amount of time spent on administrative efforts across the county associated with PST file use.

We will begin introducing Exchange Archive Mailboxes in October of this year on a rolling schedule, and hope to complete the move in early 2015. All of your data in current PST files located on the network will be imported into your Exchange Archive Mailbox. To prepare for this work, please think about applying the appropriate records management and retention policies to email. Additional information on managing email as public records is available on the King County Records Management Program’s  intranet site at http://kcweb.metrokc.gov/archives/resources.aspx#email.

Users will notice very little difference between PST files and the new Exchange Archive Mailboxes, and we will circulate a user guide a few weeks in advance of the transition to answer questions about new functionality and slight changes in the look and feel of your mailboxes.

5 thoughts on “We are Replacing Your Email PST files

  1. Hi Carrie – thanks for this question. Yes, the functionality of Exchange Archive Mailboxes will be very similar to our current PST files – so any folders and subfolder filing system you have now can be replicated.

  2. Hi Douglas – great questions, thanks for posting. The new Exchange Archive Mailboxes will mirror the PSTs that you have already. So if you have an organizational structure that works for you, that will stay intact. We do understand that many employees use email for document management and storage, and are hoping to also use this opportunity to start a dialog about better ways to manage records.

  3. What does this look like, what is the capacity, how does it match up with the organizational structures that I have built to manage my email. Do you understand that for many of us email is our information and document management and storage system? Have you had any contact with end-users on how psts, email are used?

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