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Highlights From Former Legacy On-Premises Archive Users—Now Using Proofpoint Enterprise Archive To Streamline Compliance Processes

Proofpoint Customers Describe Their Real-World Experiences Migrating From Legacy On-Premises Archives

By Vinny Choinski, ESG Senior Lab Analyst Christophe Bertrand, ESG Senior Analyst and Monya Keane, ESG Senior Research Analyst
JULY 2021

Market Landscape

The percentage of respondents who expected an increase in the number of eDiscovery requests their organizations would receive over the following 12 to 24 months.1
The percentage of organizations with improved operational efficiency as one of the most important objectives of their digital transformation efforts.2
ESG conducted a survey among IT professionals responsible for fulfilling eDiscovery requests (N=142) and legal/compliance line-of-business stakeholders knowledgeable about their organization’s eDiscovery processes and technologies (N=58). These professionals were employed at organizations with 1,000 or more employees across multiple industry verticals.3
According to that research, 53% of respondents expect an increase in the number of eDiscovery requests received by their organizations over the next 12 to 24 months. It is not uncommon for increases in the frequency of a complex process such as eDiscovery to inspire a business to transform. In the same survey, organizations reported eDiscovery request delivery times that varied widely from a few days to multiple months, but no matter how fast they can respond, the majority state a desire for increased agility.4 In addition, in a separate research survey, ESG found that 56% of organizations hope to improve operational efficiency with their digital transformation initiatives.5
Evolving regulations, like the California Privacy Rights Act of 2020 (CPRA), which revises and expands the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), combined with the penalty implications of new and existing regulations like GDPR, can put organizations without strong controls at risk. Supervision systems like Proofpoint can help organizations ensure compliance with regulations and avoid penalties.
Time is of the essence: 72% of organizations reported that they are under pressure to accelerate the time it takes to satisfy eDiscovery requests, and 75% said they are under pressure to meet mandated compliance timelines. While 18% of organizations report they are typically able to satisfy eDiscovery requests in a few days, 38% report the process usually takes several weeks or even multiple months.6

Proofpoint Enterprise Archive

Proofpoint Enterprise Archive is a cloud-based archiving solution that simplifies legal discovery, regulatory compliance, and data access for end-users. It provides a central, searchable repository that supports a wide range of content types. With Enterprise Archive, all of an organization’s critical data is stored securely. Users can quickly collect, search, and retrieve that data on demand. Businesses can also establish and enforce policies and review processes for specific regulations and geographies. By streamlining supervisory review and enhancing e-discovery processes, organizations can reduce the risk of costly fines, adverse inferences, and damaged reputations.
Proofpoint Enterprise Archive works across the industry’s broadest collection of electronically stored information (ESI) sources. That includes email, enterprise collaboration data, social media data, and SMS messages. With Proofpoint’s advanced eDiscovery features, legal and compliance teams can expedite early case assessments, empower their legal teams, and achieve proactive litigation readiness (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. Proofpoint Compliance Portfolio

Source: Enterprise Strategy Group

Proofpoint Intelligent Supervision is an optional module built to augment Enterprise Archive. With it, an organization’s compliance staff can systematically review messages and content from a number of sources, which include email, social media, and instant messaging, to enable regulatory compliance. Content may either be flagged for review as potential policy violations or chosen through a random sampling process. New machine learning capabilities delivered with Proofpoint NexusAI for Compliance enable customers to significantly reduce low-risk content (false positives) from their review queues.

Customer Sentiment Highlights

Every business has its share of industry-specific regulations. Managing an organization’s compliance with those regulations can be a daunting task. Requests to prove compliance are increasing for many businesses, and organizations are looking to transform and become more operationally efficient to address these challenges. ESG believes, as supported by customer interviews, that Proofpoint Enterprise Archive helps organizations significantly improve or transform the management and effectiveness of their compliance procedures. Here are highlights of ESG-collected field data from detailed interviews with customers who have deployed and are using Proofpoint Enterprise Archive.
Customer Experience 1: ‘With the Performance, There’s Really No Comparison’
Top three learnings:
Proofpoint’s performance is one of its key attributes.
Proofpoint’s performance is one of its key attributes.
Proofpoint’s performance is one of its key attributes.
ESG spoke with the VP of technology at a large financial and wealth management firm. He is in charge of managing electronic communications, regulated messaging, and anything to do with compliance regarding messaging capabilities.
The company he works for is one of the five largest independent financial companies in the US. It provides services to thousands of independent advisors, small advisory businesses, and small banks in the form of back-end infrastructure to support their work.
The VP has worked with a number of Proofpoint products since 2013, leveraging them over the years for various solutions that meet clients’ goals. Before the first Proofpoint migration effort in 2013, independent advisors were responsible for setting up their own email for archiving, including journaling them from their own email systems. However, regulatory inquiries of those messages sometimes wouldn't yield adequate results—because not all emails were being received from the independent advisors. Large fines imposed by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) resulted. Remediation began with the creation of an on-premises, multi-tenant Exchange infrastructure and migration of almost 5,000 advisor offices onto the platform. It did the trick, with Proofpoint helping provide secure email and spam/antivirus capabilities. The company also implemented a process to ensure all email received or sent reached the archiving and supervision system: Every email began going through the Proofpoint Compliance Gateway, tagged with an ID. This provides a transparent and automated way to demonstrate that each object captured in the archiving process is stored in Proofpoint Enterprise Archive.
These projects represented the beginning of a years-long relationship. The VP says, “Proofpoint solved our compliance problem very efficiently. Flash forward, that experience, especially the work that Proofpoint put into achieving a deep knowledge of our systems, was a factor that led us to investigate Proofpoint Archive more recently.”
They're making the right decisions and moving in the right direction to help corporate entities like ours. It’s why our people felt comfortable with these moves to Proofpoint.”
The company went through a fairly substantial RFP process. Proofpoint by that time had started building a strong, fast-running archiving supervision system. That fact, combined with Proofpoint’s existing knowledge of the company’s unique decentralized business model for compliance, made the decision to choose Proofpoint Enterprise Archive a fairly straightforward one.
Data migration occurred over the course of 2018. “Pretty soon, we were using Proofpoint more and more to do limited searches of data within the two-year retention period,” the VP says. “It had the right rules, a good interface, and the level of efficiency we needed for many supervisors to interact with it for eDiscovery/legal hold—while maintaining compliance with the regulations we are subject to.”
The Proofpoint Enterprise Archive covers more than just email; SMS, Slack conversations, and even Facebook chats originally collected via third-party systems are archived, too. Today, Proofpoint products manage the company’s spam-blocking, antivirus, secure mail, compliance gateway, and archiving supervision. The VP says, “They're making the right decisions and moving in the right direction to help corporate entities like ours. It’s why our people felt comfortable with these moves to Proofpoint.”
The Proofpoint Enterprise Archive has been in place for about 2 years. The company’s plan now is to keep sending archive data to Proofpoint exclusively going forward.
“We like that Proofpoint approached our needs with a very long-term vision and gave us a good pricing model to reflect that. One big advantage we have found with Proofpoint [is] an exit strategy with them is easier. Some other archive vendors stick you with paying a tremendous amount of money to pull data out or destroy it when a retention period expires. Proofpoint doesn't have that kind of fee structure. It doesn't cost us to pull data out, and they don't charge by storage used,” the VP explains. That’s especially important in an era in which social media posts, videos, images, gifs, etc., translate into a huge amount of data needing to be archived and retrieved quickly and efficiently. Proofpoint’s performance is one of its key attributes, in fact. “There's really no comparison. With our previous on-premises solution, it could take a couple of days just to get a request, and then get the results back out to the requestor. With Proofpoint, we’re talking just minutes for almost every search/retrieval operation performed. Interactive searches happen within seconds. We find it very efficient to use. Additionally, we are highly satisfied with the platform’s level of system availability,” the VP says. He also adds that “their dedication to help us fix any problem and make it right is a big part of what makes this partnership work.”
Customer Experience 2: ‘We Are Seeing Huge Savings in Terms of IT Efficiency’
Top three learnings:
The utility is especially pleased with the support it is receiving from Proofpoint.
The utility also appreciates Proofpoint’s cost benefits.
The utility’s risk level is lower now, too.
ESG spoke with a senior IT manager at a large electric and natural gas utility that maintains about 4,000 Exchange user mailboxes. Recently, she was part of a team that led a migration from on-premises Veritas Enterprise Vault to a hybrid cloud environment with Proofpoint Enterprise Archive.
The company purchased Proofpoint Enterprise Archive in March 2018. The migration then unfolded from April 2018 to late November 2018, with about 12 TB of email data moved. This utility typically retains its email data for two years unless the data is subject to legal hold, which can require a longer retention period.
The manager says, “As an energy company, we are subject to stringent compliance regulations related to cybersecurity, privacy, the supply chain, and more. Proofpoint allows us to own the encryption key, which is the only way we can get away with using a cloud-type system. Proofpoint was a huge win for us because we could deploy it in this hybrid state (on-premises Exchange servers archiving to Proofpoint in the cloud). It was perfect and worked out great—including passing all of our compliance tests.”
The team had already worked with the Proofpoint protection server (email gateway) for a couple of years and had a great experience with that product and the Proofpoint team behind it. They also were using a number of other Proofpoint tools. Those experiences encouraged them to evaluate Proofpoint Enterprise Archive.
But additional drivers also were behind the utility’s move to Proofpoint. The Enterprise Vault software version and associated hardware that the utility used were both nearing their end of life. Additionally, end-users were unhappy with Enterprise Vault. The manager says, “We were receiving way too many support calls about fixing issues related to formatting losses, data losses, and slow retrieval times. The amount of time it took our Legal, HR, and Labor Relations staff to conduct eDiscovery was ridiculous. We decided that if we were going to make a change, we would choose a platform that we actually like.”
The migration from Enterprise Vault to Proofpoint went very well. “The whole transition was beautiful, and the improvement was immediately obvious,” the manager says. For example, when she previously had to conduct searches and retrieve archive data using Enterprise Vault, it took her between four and eight hours. Using Proofpoint, she now pulls together those requests in 30 to 60 minutes.
The utility is especially pleased with the support it is receiving from Proofpoint. “The Proofpoint team is responsive and wonderful to work with,” the manager says. “Sometimes, they even pick up on an issue before we do. They also are very receptive to suggestions we may have, and they develop enhancements based on those suggestions.”
We are seeing huge savings in IT efficiency,” the manager says, “because it’s giving those of us in IT time back to work on other tasks. We are getting fewer help desk calls now. Less support is needed from us—less babysitting of software and hardware, and end-users are no longer frustrated.”
The utility’s end-users now can more easily search their own email archives going back two years. “We have a decent percentage of employees who use the Proofpoint Personal Archive, and we are getting absolutely great feedback on it,” the manager says.
The utility also appreciates Proofpoint’s cost benefits. “We are seeing huge savings in IT efficiency,” the manager says, “because it’s giving those of us in IT time back to work on other tasks. We are getting fewer help desk calls now. Less support is needed from us—less babysitting of software and hardware, and end-users are no longer frustrated.”
The utility’s risk level is lower now, too. Before deploying Proofpoint, they didn't trust that their data was going to be safe in the event of a legal hold. And if that data isn’t available, the utility faces huge daily penalties. But the manager feels very comfortable with the levels of reliability and security that Proofpoint offers. “The double-blind encryption in particular was an easy sell for us,” she says.
The Proofpoint solution is considerably better to work with overall. This utility needed a solution that accommodates multiple retentions and passes a security compliance review before data could be stored offsite. Implementing the Proofpoint archive also means that end-users no longer have to keep as much mail in their mailboxes.
The utility is also happy with another aspect of the Proofpoint solution—its ease of use. The manager says, “Proofpoint’s team gave us great product demos, and they always have a fast answer if we have a question. But honestly, just by reading the manual, I had all the information I needed.” Overall, this utility is highly satisfied with its cloud-based Proofpoint archiving solution so far. As the manager puts it, “I'm not tending to hardware. I'm not doing software installs. Our users are happy. It has changed my life as an administrator.”
Customer Experience 3: ‘We’re Very Happy with This Partnership’
Top three learnings:
End-users feel Proofpoint is very intuitive and is helping them to do their jobs more easily.
The company is most impressed with the improvement in service it is receiving from Proofpoint.
The company now has all the capabilities it needs contained in one solution.
ESG spoke with a senior manager at a 4,000-employee global investment firm that operates in all regions of the world. The firm is highly regulated in many jurisdictions and must comply with multiple financial regulations worldwide. The manager oversees the governance of the platform and serves as the program manager for the global e-surveillance program. His firm is using the Proofpoint Enterprise Archive supervision module, Intelligent Supervision, to manage a permanent repository of electronic communications approved for retention, including Outlook emails, Bloomberg messages and chats, and Slack conversations. The team set up the Proofpoint production environment (supervision portion) a little over a year ago. Now, about 20 reviewers around the globe report to their local compliance departments but are managed centrally with respect to their e-surveillance work.
The manager reports that the previous solution the firm used didn't have end-user search, and the supervision capabilities were inadequate. For example, until Proofpoint deployed, the firm did not have policies that distinguished between different types of records. They kept everything permanently. Now, retention spans about 10 years, although certain documents for legal entities have to be kept forever. Other records are kept only for six or seven years, depending on the jurisdiction. They are eager to finally have all the capabilities they need contained in one solution: Proofpoint. Specifically, Proofpoint Enterprise Archive gives them three main capabilities:

The central archive (a permanent record of electronic communication).

A supervision tool that is lexicon-based.

End-user search tools.

The manager reports that end-users feel Proofpoint is very intuitive and is helping them to do their jobs more easily. “The summary dashboard; the message cues, the functionality available for grouping messages by sender, subject, or conversation; and the ability to tag messages for escalation—all of those review-related capabilities perform well and are helping us now,” he says. The archive was initially implemented as a cloud-based solution starting with the most current archive data sets. When all data migration operations are completed over time, it will include ten years of historical data. For new messages coming in, Proofpoint enables the firm to monitor whether those messages are flagging for any risks that Proofpoint has been set up to detect. “We are seeing much shorter timeframes now for these tasks,” the manager says.
The manager is perhaps most impressed with the improvement in service he’s getting from Proofpoint: “The professional services team at Proofpoint helped us with configuring the supervision rules, and overall, it’s been a really nice change versus our previous vendor, whose service was frankly inadequate. We're very encouraged, very happy with this partnership, and very confident that any issues that might arise will be dealt with correctly.”

The Bigger Truth

The ability to perform thorough, reliable, and fast eDiscovery has become the name of the game for many organizations against a backdrop of regulation and litigation. Operational efficiency must be built into the processes and be supported by the right solution.
Based on ESG’s research and its direct interaction with Proofpoint’s customers, it is evident that using Proofpoint Enterprise Archive can help firms become less reactive and more proactive—to become industry-leading in their confidence that all archived data is properly in its place, able to be found as needed.
This is a story about a very sophisticated level of multi-tenancy at scale—a SaaS archiving solution that boasts superior supervision capabilities, performance, reliability, availability, and security to help companies maintain full regulatory compliance and avoid future fines.
But it’s also a story about partnership—from working together to build the right features and performance into the technology, to providing superior support to customers’ Proofpoint deployments over time.

Modern Compliance


This ESG Customer Experience White Paper was commissioned by Proofpoint and is distributed under license from ESG.

Source: ESG Custom Research commissioned by Proofpoint, Validating Archive and eDiscovery Market Requirements, Sep 2020.

Source: ESG Research Report, 2021 Technology Spending Intentions Survey, Jan 2021.

Source: ESG Custom Research commissioned by Proofpoint, Validating Archive and eDiscovery Market Requirements, Sep 2020.


Source: ESG Research Report, 2021 Technology Spending Intentions Survey, Jan 2021.

Source: ESG Research Report, Securing Modern Application Development Environments, Dec 2020.

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