ImageWe recently had a customer send in a Mac mini for their business data retention. I asked him to share a bit more with me to share with other customers.

In summary, he told me that because of the recent FRCP (Federal Rules of Civil Procedure) changes, he knew his company needed to be better about keeping full archived of all their email. It’s not enough to have nightly backups to disk or tape. He said, “What if I received an email from a customer and then delete the email. By the time the nightly backups run, that email will have come and gone. We needed something more thorough.”

He told me that in their mail server, they have the option to send all mail to a specific address. This would include all mail coming to their users, as well as mail that is sent from their servers. They decided to send a copy of all mail to macmini@businessdomain.com. Then, on the Mac mini they have in our data center, they have an account in Mail that is set up with POP retrieval of that email address. So everything is downloaded from the server and stored on the Mac mini in our data center. He also has that Mac mini cloned to an external drive here.

He said that there are a lot of other options out there for archiving mail, but he chose this option for three reasons.

First, the mail will be stored on their own hardware so they know it’s available and no one else has access to the email history.

Second, Using Mail.app gives you the benefit of spotlight searches. One of the new rules according to the FRCP is that the data should be searchable so quick and easy retrieval is possible for civil litigation.

Finally, he chose this way so hid email archives would be in a different physical location than his email server. He didn’t want his email server to also act as the archive to avoid loss from fire, theft, etc.

He also uses the Mac mini for archiving iChat transcripts in a similar way.

If you’re a business owner, it’s become quite critical to pay attention to data retention. Google has provided two great white papers on the FRCP changes and how best to align your company with the new guidelines. (I’ve made both available in a zip file here.)

ImageMac OS X has a great VPN server built into it. If you use the Server version, it provides a nice GUI to setting it up. Unfortunately, regular OS X doesn’t have that GUI. This is where iVPN comes is quite useful.

If you want to take advantage of the security that a VPN offers, iVPN makes it quite easy to setup a VPN. “All you have to do to set it up is to enter the user name and password that you want your VPN clients to use, the IP address range you want to give to your clients and then click start server. iVPN will handle all the other settings and start the VPN server.” Of course, this is especially useful if you have a Mac server that is always on and available at a static address.

iVPN is £14.99 and is available here.