In February 2002, then United States Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, gave this now infamous response to a member of the press: “ there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don't know we don't know.”
A corporate email archive is largely something of a known unknown. You may know more or less how many terabytes of archived mail you have. But do you truly know how much archived mail you have for former employees of the company? Or how much of the mail has been stubbed (sometimes referred to as shortcut)? Or the status of custodians in your Journal file? We’ve included this helpful checklist so that you can start to think about the kinds of questions you need to ask, if you’re planning to migrate your archive. If you’re interested in more details, the Discovery Workshop Product Overview will provide you and your team with some great information.
A successful email archive migration must be based on “known knowns”. Understanding the implications of stubbed mail, for instance, shouldn’t come as a surprise part way through your migration. So make sure that you, and the company you’ve engaged to do the migration, have assessed the contents of your archive with some specificity before you start your migration. Moreover, depending on the scope of your migration, we recommend that you validate that the migration software you’re planning to use will work in your environment. The best way to do that is to test it against a sample of your actual archived data. Modern migration software products should be able to install and start extracting data from your archive in a matter of minutes. You should be able to complete a proof of concept and arm yourself with assessment data in a matter of hours.
By now you know that data migration is complex. However, understanding what’s in your archive and confirming that your migration will work shouldn’t be. Make sure that your migration plan is built on “known knowns” and that your organization's migration team has a plan for how they will handle the inevitable “known unknowns”. Whatever you do, don’t head into your email archive migration with a plan based only on “unknown unknowns”.