Pubic folders in Microsoft Outlook are a convenient way to share information such as contacts, calendar items, messages and journal entries with others. However, they are a double edged sword in IT terms. On the one hand, delegating ownership to the business community removes the need for technical resources to manage permissions, while on the other, a lack of housekeeping often results in an unstructured and bloated data repository. With changes made to the way public folders are stored in newer versions of Exchange, plus the emergence of dedicated document archiving solutions, public folder migration is now moving up the priority list for may IT departments. However, undertaking public folder migration is not necessarily as easy as it first appears.
Public Folder Owner Identification and Clean-up
Often the first stage of any public folder migration is to remove as much historical and unused data as possible. Understanding how old the data is can be a good indication as to whether it can be discarded; The impact to the business by simply deleting folders is however unlikely to be understood without communication with the data owners. Yet, with organisational changes and individuals joining and leaving a company, keeping track of ownership can be exceptionally difficult. Our software simplifies this notoriously difficult task by allowing administrators to understand the structure and scale of their public folder estate.
Extracting data from billions of messages can take time. As a result, the discovery process is split into two parts. The first pass builds a simple list of folders in the database. This allows progress to be tracked, system restarts to be managed and multithreaded technology to target more than one folder at a time. The second pass is about mining the data; each message is touched and information such as ownership, permissions, dates and attachment details is collected. Our software extracts data that cannot be viewed with native tools and uses unique algorithms to help identify ownership, so easing the identification and clean-up operation.
Public Folder Migration
Once a picture of the public folder estate has been constructed, automated notifications can be sent to suggested owners asking for confirmation of ownership. These individuals are also asked if they wish to keep or delete the folders. If the delete option is selected, the data can be scheduled for onward archival or simple removal. Once as much un-needed data as possible has been removed, the public folder migration phase can begin. It is here that the public folders are moved or copied to their final destination, recalling Enterprise Vault shortcuts in the process if necessary.