Public Folder Migration

Public Folder Migration

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.

The Issues

Public Folders have been used extensively by organisations for collaborating and sharing information between teams for decades. Hence, they can contain important details that must be kept for reference or regulatory compliancy reasons. However, there are issues with Public Folders that include:

Unstructured

Often having no centralised administration, public folder data often grows in an unstructured way. This can make it difficult to migrate to new destinations such as teams or other document management systesm.
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Old Data

Due to a lack of retention policies and age of data, public folders often include information which is decades old and no longer required.

Uncontrolled

With the uncontrolled nature of Public Folders, organisations often find that understanding who owns the data extremely difficult. This makes it difficult to identify suitable destinations which may include Team or shared mailboxes.

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Unsuitable formats

Public folders often become the dumping ground for data which should be stored elsewhere. SharePoint is an ideal location for some but not all of the data, but analysing everything is extremely difficult.

The only way to gain control of this unstructured data is to analyse the contents so that intelligent decisions can be made as to what to migrate and where it should be migrated to. Thankfully, help is at hand!

The Solution Part 1: 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.

Owner Assignment

Identifying owners is often the first stage to public folder management and complex algorithms and defined rules ensure integrity and accuracy of owner assignment. This minimises the risk of miss-assignment which is highly likely with manual methods.

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Automatic

With the potential of tens of thousands of public folders, manual discovery is generally not an option. Our software can be configured catalogue public folders automatically.

Distributed Architeture

The potentially geographically dispersed nature of public folders can be easily handled due to our distributed architecture. This allows the data to be catalogued as quickly as possible and with minimal disruption.

Detailed Reporting

The discovery process analyses public folders and collects data such as size, message count, attachment type, location and more – all this is made available to allow detailed project planning.

The Solution Part 2: 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.

Built-in Connectors

Built in connectors ensure that the public folders are migrated directly to destinations such as Exchange, O365, SharePoint, document management systems and many more.

Full Control

Built in scheduling, batch management and detailed control of message types and dates, plus comprehensive progress reporting provides full project control from start to finish.

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Intelligent Error Handling

Intelligent error recovery and reporting ensures that issues are flagged up and handled with minimal user intervention and in a timely manner.

Multi Threading

Ensures that the migration is performed in the most effective way, reducing time and cost.

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