Outlook Personal Storage Files (PST files) have been around since the mid 1990s. These files provide the ability to create local archives of server based email. They’re kind of like that bad 90s middle part bowl hair cut or the plaid short-sleeve shirts – great at the time but not something you want to keep wearing in 2016.
Email storage has never been as efficient as it is now. Historically Microsoft Exchange administrators were forced to reduce the amount of storage available to users on a server for improved performance, reduced back up times and overall smooth operations. As such, PST files became a way for users to expand their email storage by creating and maintaining one or more local archives.
But are PST files still relevant? As they were designed before archiving became a thing, PST files can be unstable especially in their compatibility with modern IT environments. The result of this instability is corrupt files and inaccessible emails that had your IT staff reaching for the Panadol. However, they can also have implications on businesses legal requirements – as PST files are often stored locally on end user’s computers, a simple system error or a crash in your system could wipe all the stored files and these are generally unrecoverable.
With more cons than pro’s, PST files don’t hold the same relevancy they did ten years ago. Still not convinced?
Here are 8 additional reasons why you should consider PST files to be irrelevant:
- Compliance issues: Security is ever present in the mind of any CIO and as technology becomes more advanced, so too do security threats. As organisations have data that is confidential or is required to be kept, any potential breach could see terrible consequences. PST files unfortunately, are more susceptible to these attacks.
- E-discovery: Because the data is stored outside of the mail server, it can be difficult to perform searches, complicating the e-discovery process.
- Not supported: As mentioned earlier, files are usually kept locally and not backed up. As Microsoft doesn’t support accessing PSTs on network shares, if an active file is placed on a network share, the chances of corruption increase tenfold.
- Device-specific: PST files can only be accessed from a specific device and not accessible from any other mailbox.
- PST files only work with Outlook: Mobile devices have no access PST files.
- Policy circumvention: They can be used to circumvent message lifecycle management policies as they are difficult to police
- Shared PSTs are problematic: PST files are easily corruptible which prevents sharing amongst multiple users
- Increased cost: PST files tend to result in more calls to service desks due to their need for constant administration. They can also end up being backed up multiple times when they are stored centrally.
If you’re looking to discuss your options or want to migrate your PST files to alternative solutions, get in touch with Insentra. If for some reason you have a requirement to keep PST files, we can help with strategies and toolsets to address e-discovery issues. We can help you with cost effective solutions that helps to make your data accessible to your business at any level.