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We’re not in the 90’s anymore. Public Folder and PST Data in the Modern IT World

Jan 4, 2017 by Stefanie Elvers

In the days before the cloud, PST files and public folders fulfilled a necessary requirement in allowing users to share data and collaborate with each other. Today, organizations who haven’t yet migrated their PST files to Office 365 can find these technologies (first created in the 1990’s) cause your business many headaches, especially if you’ve chosen to avoid SharePoint or other methods of collaboration platforms.

PST files used to allow users to take their data with them, they could store files on their laptops, or copy them to a CD/DVD or USB stick in order to work from home. This posed a security risk, as it could potentially grant data access to unauthorized people (if the USB disk or laptop is stolen or lost) or potentially cause data loss (CD/DVD breakage, hard disk failure, and so on).

Like PST files, Public Folders can also be misused as the concept allowed users to share more than just e-mail data. We’ve found Excel Spreadsheets, Word Documents, PowerPoint presentations and all kinds of other weird and wonderful items in Public Folders. This may not seem very relevant – however if you want to move out of the Public Folder estate to, for example, Office 365, it can become a problem as such file types may not be suitable to be stored in Exchange Online and would be better stored in a SharePoint document library, or similar.

To add to the complexity, many customers find that since they introduced an archiving solution such as Enterprise Vault into their IT infrastructure, placeholders or stubs find their way into both PST files and Public Folders. These need to be dealt with otherwise you will find that these will break when the files are moved, which is yet another issue to conquer if an infrastructure change for that old data is on the cards.

It’s very easy to ignore or underestimate these problems, but as we begin the New Year – a time that’s often associated with plans for improvement, change and even transformation – perhaps it’s time to apply the same kind of thinking to your IT strategy? What could you do better, and are there areas of your current IT infrastructure that could cause potential problems?

Quadrotech’s Public Folder transformation and PST eradication toolsets could help you gain a more thorough understanding of your estate:

  • By analysing your Public Folder estate for a number of different criteria, such as number of root and subfolders, users and groups with access, number and size of items, message classes in use, whether or not a public folder is mail enabled, and much more…
  • By analysing your entire infrastructure to locate all PST files. It will determine the correct owner, using comprehensive multi-factor identification, and it can find out which PST files are attached to a user’s Outlook profile. Finally, the solution will show you the exact size of the problem, so that you can determine the correct resources to resolve the problem.

Happy New Year! We look forward to discussing your projects with you.

Stefanie Elvers is a Presales and Service Delivery engineer at Quadrotech with extensive experience in the fields of archiving, messaging and information intelligence spanning the past 15 years. Stefanie has a certification from the IT Infrastructure Library.