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