Meeting Federal Legal Requirements:
On April 12, 2006 the United States Supreme Court laid down new rules that require companies, government agencies, and public school districts to have systems for retrieving email and other electronic data that might be needed for evidence in a court case. The new rules were updated later that year in December. What this means is that, if you are in charge of a school district's, or company's information technology, you are legally required to set up and maintain a system for archiving email, and for enabling quick and easy access to it.
There are a few products and services available for accomplishing this responsibility. According to an excellent article in Education Week's Digital Directions magazine, a school district in New Jersey spent about $50,000 on a system for archiving their email. There is a very informative article on the CompuThink website about the new rules, including links to the actual text of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
For smaller school districts and companies the available solutions are likely to be too expensive and complicated for them to implement. MailSteward Pro is a Macintosh-based solution that is easy to set up and maintain, providing automatic archiving and sophisticated searching of large volumes of email.
For organizations that are running their own mail server, MailSteward Pro can be set up to automatically archive all incoming and outgoing email. If the mail server is configured to put copies of all email coming in or going out, into a particular directory, MailSteward Pro can then be configured in the Settings to always import any email that exists in that directory. Simply check the box that says "Import email from this folder", and then click on "Choose..." to enter the path to the directory containing the copies of the email. If there are subdirectories, MailSteward Pro will also archive any email that they contain.
For organizations that are not running their own mail server, each individual in the organization can have a copy of MailSteward Pro that is set up to automatically, on a schedule, archive their email into a central MySQL database on a network server.