As companies consider moving to cloud-based applications such as Office 365, there are implications for compliance and data security.
For example, companies facing legal actions are often required to produce data from applications in Office 365 -- whether that is an email message, a Yammer conversation among employees or a thread in SharePoint. But to date, Microsoft has been inconsistent about practices for Office 365 archiving. The methods for archiving and producing data in email differ from, say, enterprise social networking tools.
"It's difficult for organizations to go out and find all that content because there are so many places where it could be stored and not necessarily stored in the right way," notes Shawn Shell, vice president of consulting at Hitachi Consulting.
So while some estimates suggest that Office 365 adoption will more than double by 2017, there are some hurdles for companies. Organizations in regulated industries, in particular, need to be able to verify their practices for Office 365 archiving and compliance.
"With Office 365 in particular, it's not one product but a suite of products," Shell emphasizes. "And each one of these products operates differently and has a different purpose: SharePoint versus Exchange versus Skype for Business versus Delve versus Sway. While they' re in one suite, they operate differently and that presents slightly different challenges ... and what rules you have to adhere to in terms of compliance."
Shell notes that while archiving email in Office 365 follows a fairly well-established set of practices, archiving for new services like Yammer is far less mature.
"While Microsoft's Office 365 archiving practices are well-established in the context of Exchange, that's not true of all services," Shell says. "Email messaging is fairly well established, fairly well mature in the context of Office 365. If we look at Yammer, we have a different story. So it's not as simple as, 'Office 365 compliance, we've got that covered, let's move on.'"
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