email as Public Information

A very small city uses a service company for email who actually specializes in web pages.  While the same company provides email service for the city, they don't profess to really be email specialists.  The city is planning to change email providers.  

One of the requirements comes from State law that requires that public information emails, including metadata, be archived.
Some guidance suggests that only Microsoft Exchange 2003 or 2007 formats are acceptable (presently) to the required archive system.  So, it appears the city will want to be using Microsoft Exchange-based  email services.
It's not going to be hosted in-house.

Microsoft's Exchange Online Plan 2 has been recommended at $84/year/mailbox.

It seems to me that there may be other adequate providers for less money.  Might you recommend any or comment in general?
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Fred MarshallPrincipalAsked:
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CompProbSolvCommented:
Does the Exchange Online Plan 2 include archiving of everything?  As I read on their site it archives old email.  This is not what you are looking for.
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Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
CompProbSolv:  Yes it is what they're looking for.  email archiving is all they are looking for.  Everything else is covered.  Or, do I misunderstand?
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CompProbSolvCommented:
A quick read at the Microsoft site is that they are just archiving old email.  For example, if you send an email to someone at the city and they delete it, I'll bet that it doesn't get archived.  

Think about the storage requirements for full archiving; it could be large.  I would expect that the mail provider would charge separately and based on storage limits for such archiving.

Exchange Server does have the capability to archive everything.  Is it really out of the question to have an in-house Exchange Server?  I realize that it is not inexpensive.

Some state governments have data centers that will handle email (for a fee) for local municipalities.  I'd also look into that.
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Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
Lots of questions but no answers to the original question.
It's not going to be hosted in-house.
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CompProbSolvCommented:
The original question was: "Might you recommend any or comment in general?".  You did get some "comments in general".  You also got a recommendation to look into whether or not your state government offers such services.

If you do an online search for "hosted email with archiving" you'll find plenty of companies that offer such services.  For example, take a look at rackspace.com or intermedia.net.   I would be careful with any email provider that provides archiving to ensure that what they are offering is what you really need.
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
put the mailboxes in litigation hold that keeps everything.

So its either E3 (with office) or Exchange Online Plan 2 (without office)
https://products.office.com/en-us/government/compare-office-365-government-plans
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Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
Exchange Online Plan 2 has been suggested.  I'm trying to assess the competition.

The State offers a "service" which requires Microsoft Exchange 2003 or 2007 formats.  So the City is on its own with respect to providing the service to users and in creating the data.
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Mohammed KhawajaManager - Infrastructure:  Information TechnologyCommented:
There are two things to consider when regulation says archiving.  In technical terms, archiving is a tool/methodology/process where messages older than specified number of days will have a copy on a systems external to the email system.  Journaling refers to the methodology/tool where all incoming/outgoing messages will have copy stored on an external system.  With government regulations, I believe your requirements should be journaling as archiving will result in missed messages (i.e. messages older than 60 days are to be archived, if deleted prior to 60 days, there will be nothing to archive).

From what I also understand is that Microsoft Office-365 does not provide journaling features, it is possible but you would either need a third-party or in-house solution.  I suggest you contact Fusemail.com as well as Mimecast.com as they provide email hosting with full archiving and journaling solutions including Exchange.
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
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Fred MarshallPrincipalAuthor Commented:
Thanks all.  I'm not trying to be an expert on this as we already have that capability in the staff.
I did investigate pricing and didn't find anything less expensive than the recommended approach - even though it seemed expensive to me at the time.
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