eDiscovery, which is the discovery of email, chat transactions and other electronic communication for legal purposes, made its impact felt in a big way in the recently concluded Apple-Samsung trials where Samsung was asked by a court to pay $1.05 billion to Apple because it infringed 6 of its patents. Internal email communication in both the companies was closely gone through by the legal teams of both the sides, and we got a good glimpse of how important it is for companies to effectively save their email transactions so that they can referred to in circumstances such as these.
Archiving emails and making them available for eDiscovery in a timely manner is now a compliance requirement for many industries and sectors, and not complying with these can lead to severe damages.
Google provides the service Postini to help companies retain email and make discovery possible. Additionally, Postini also provides spam protection and email security to its customers. Postini is used not only by companies that use Google Apps for their email, but also by companies using other email systems like Microsoft Exchange. Postini’s email archival and discovery is available to Google Apps customers for a price of $13-$33 per user per year, and for non Google Apps customers at $25 – $45 per user per year.
Google recently announced that they will be transitioning all existing Postini users to a new service called Google Apps Vault which would help archival and eDiscovery functionality to Google Apps at an additional price of $5 per user per month. This is a great move by Google, and has several important implications:
- All Google Apps users would get Postini’s email spam protection and security features bundled with their Google Apps account, at no additional cost.
- You can not use Vault unless you are already on Google Apps. What this means is, existing Postini users who want to have the archival and discovery functionality it offers would have to move to Google Apps and enable the Vault service through that.
- Google now allows you to have Google Apps running for your domain, and have your email hosted in some other system like an on-premises Microsoft Exchange deployment, using its super-smart email Routing Management. What that means is, you can now have your email elsewhere, and use Google Apps services like Docs, Drive etc. without any glitches.
Since tons of large enterprises already use Postini, this move by Google is going to give a lot of them a taste of Google Apps, and might actually go a long way in driving adoption of the full Google Apps suites in enterprises.