Gwent Police

Gwent Police loves Netmail

Challenge

Gwent Police undertook an IT project to dramatically restructure its IT environment, and bring collaboration between members of the various local government groups to the next level in terms of efficiency and productivity. Part of that restructuring included an email migration project.

Solution

Gwent Police selected Netmail to assist them on the email migration, as the Force was already using Netmail to address their 100% email retention mandate. As a bonus, Netmail included the migration tool and didn't require any additional investment beyond the licensing costs.

Results

Beyond a successful migration within the stipulated timeframe and with no data corruption, Netmail also brought additional benefits to the police force by ensuring email requested as evidence in court is produced in a quick and timely manner, in a standards-based open format, with minimal overhead or discovery cost.

Overview

Gwent Police selected Netmail to assist them on the email migration. Netmail Archive, Netmail's cross-platform version of the archiving software Gwent Police already had in place, had the functionality to perform the migration from GroupWise 8 directly to Exchange 2010. Netmail Archive included the migration tool and didn't require additional investment beyond the Force's subscription contract. Netmail were also flexible in adapting to the organisation's procurement regulations and delivering the solution in line with the exceedingly tight timeline Gwent Police had to work with.

Background

Gwent Police cover an area of 600 square miles and serves a population of approximately 550,000 people. The Gwent policing area is mixed, rural and urban, and the road network carries large volumes of traffic. Gwent Police Authority work alongside the Force through a Joint Community Engagement Strategy to involve the community in the way local policing services are delivered. Recently, Gwent Police was restructured to provide a more efficient, modern structure to better serve the people of Gwent, tested to its full with the requirements of policing of the 2010 Ryder Cup golf tournament at Celtic Manor.

Gwent Police Authority was recently voted one of the top performing UK Police Authorities.

Recent Improvements to the Gwent Police IT Infrastructure

In line with the move towards modernising and improving public service, Gwent Police recently undertook an IT project to dramatically restructure its IT environment, and bring collaboration between members of the various local government groups to the next level in terms of efficiency and productivity.

Among other things, the move involved transitioning from a Novell-enabled infrastructure to an Active Directory-based architecture and a new way of user authentication. At the same time, the desktop environment was being upgraded from Windows XP to Windows 7. For email, the Novell to Microsoft platform switch translated into an email migration from GroupWise to Exchange.

Critical Requirements

  • Migrate several Terabytes of data from GroupWise 8 to Exchange 2010, injecting only a subset of the data into the new Exchange system, with minimal disruption to the productivity of 2500 email users.
  • Address eDiscovery requests swiftly in cases of disputes and litigation by having seamless access to the email archives of both the legacy GroupWise and Exchange data.
  • Remain compliant with legislation on records retention and access to information after the email system switch.

Outcome

"Netmail Archive enabled us to move the data according to plan with no loss of email. Since the solution includes the email migration utility, it provided us with a very cost-effective migration. By having access to the old GroupWise archives and the new Exchange archives, we are compliant with respect to FoIA, DPA, and other legislative requirements. We also have full control over retained data and can react quickly and efficiently when we need to produce evidence to the court. Overall, our email migration project was a success," says Paul Higgs, Infrastructure Services Manager at Gwent Police Authority.

Successfully Dealing with Email Migration Challenges

The Gwent Police IT Department dedicated time on determining the best scenario to handle the email migration. Following the meticulous planning stage, the requirements they established were:

  • Ability to migrate several Terabytes of email data with minimal disruption to the productivity of 2500 end users within a fairly short timeframe.
  • Ability to migrate all data types from GroupWise 8 to Exchange 2010.
  • Ability to inject only a subset of the email data onto the new Exchange system.
  • Ability to remain compliant with legislation on records retention and access to information after the email system switch.
  • Ability to address eDiscovery requests swiftly in cases of disputes and litigation by having seamless access to the email archives of both the legacy GroupWise and Exchange data.

After considering possible options, Gwent Police selected Netmail to assist them on the email migration. The two organisations already had an established relationship for over 5 years, as the Force were using GWArchive to address their 100% email retention mandate on GroupWise. Netmail Archive, Netmail's cross-platform version of the archiving software Gwent Police already had in place, had the functionality to perform the migration from GroupWise 8 directly to Exchange 2010. What's more, Netmail Archive included the migration tool and didn't require additional investment beyond their current subscription contract. Netmail was also flexible in adapting to the organisation's procurement regulations and delivering the solution in line with the exceedingly tight timeline Gwent Police had to work with.

As part of the project, Netmail's migration expert was able to review the migration plans and offer additional guidance before setting up the archiving system and configuring the necessary policies for the transfer of data based on the IT Department's requirements.

"The team from Netmail put in a lot of hard work and provided his expertise when we needed it," says Marc Coughlin, server engineer at Gwent, who was closely involved with the execution of the email migration. "I can say that we got our money's worth. Throughout the project, we have received very solid support on any issues that arose."

The migration is almost complete at Gwent Police. According to the initial plan, about 12 months' worth of users' data is injected into the new Exchange 2010 email system. The remaining email archives reside in the Netmail Archive server and are seamlessly accessible to users through the Outlook client or Outlook Web Access. Netmail Archive will continue to archive email on Exchange applying Gwent Police's email retention policies.

The Benefits of Email Archiving

Beyond enabling the Gwent Police IT Department to achieve a successful GroupWise to Exchange migration within the stipulated timeframe and with no data corruption, Netmail Archive brings additional benefits to the police force. It ensures that any email requested as evidence in court is produced in a quick and timely manner, in a standards-based open format, with minimal overhead or discovery cost. There are significant savings on the storage side, as well, since the majority of the data is offloaded from the Exchange server. From a compliance perspective, Netmail Archive facilitates production of email records for right of access.

The Bottom Line

Paul Higgs Infrastructure Services Manager, Gwent Police Authority