As the New York Attorney General continues to investigate analyst/investment banking conflicts of interest, e-mail seems to be the evidence of choice. And financial firms that deal with hundreds of thousands if not millions of e-mails are facing the costly and time consuming task of searching and retrieving those communications. Lehman Brothers recently enlisted the help of Iron Mountain, a provider of records and information management services, to handle its e-mail archiving.
Lehman Brothers is implementing Iron Mountain's Enterprise Value Archives Architecture to not only archive its e-mails, but also to help the firm index, search and retrieve e-mails when necessary. "We are taking a large back file of data and getting those into shape and then we're taking an ongoing stream of their e-mails on a regular basis," says Peter Delle Donne, president of the digital archives division at Iron Mountain.
The EVAA is being run on a Unix platform with Sun servers, which then creates the primary storage facility where WORM (Write Once Read Many) compliant silos of information are stored. "Then the Oracle 9i relational database has over 100 searchable cross indexes that allow Lehman to search for information for analysis," says Delle Donne.
The search capabilities are available either instantaneously, in real time, or on a gradual retrieval basis over a few minutes or a day. "This functionality is used for research and analysis, not for business continuity so sometimes clients are willing to take the gradual approach," says Delle Donne. He adds that a retention engine is then applied as well as a long-term-preservation engine, which includes document destruction functionality to get rid of messages after specified regulatory time periods.
"Companies like Lehman in the broker/dealer arena understand the complex litigation piece and the regulatory piece and they don't want to be in the news and not be compliant," says Delle Donne. The Lehman implementation is expected to take between four and seven weeks, depending on the back file of e-mail information. The e-mail data from Lehman will be stored electronically in Iron Mountain's Digital Archive Vaults located at both above- and below-ground sites.
And the amount and size of e-mail continues to grow, presenting challenges for financial-services firms looking to archive, search and retrieve messages quickly and effectively. "When we began to look at e-mail needs a year ago, the messages averaged between 11 and 18 kilobytes and now they're averaging between 32 and 36 kilobytes," he says adding that increase is mostly due to e-mail attachments and more explanations being done through e-mail. Delle Donne also estimates that the broker/dealer market of over 2,300 firms generate between 17 and 20 million e-mail messages per day.