Equant Throws Hat Into E-Mail Archiving

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Managed hosting and networking provider Equant is expanding its $500 million IT services division with a new suite of managed hosting for e-mail and messaging.

The move would put the company in competition with storage players who offer cradle-to-grave systems called information lifecycle management (ILM), along with IBM’s on-demand offerings, and its usual rival AT&T in the managed hosting space.

In this case, Equant is offering storage hardware from EMC’s Legato division; the Paris-based Equant is banking on helping its global customers sort out how to comply with different countries’ data retention laws and regulations.

The service is being offered with Kahn Consulting, which plans to provide legal assessments for customers along with Equant. The range of services uses EMC’s Legato EmailXtender and EMC Legato EmailXaminer on multiple hardware platforms.

Equant, which services global customers, calls the offering its first end-to-end, fully managed archiving system that addresses a multinational’s key business concerns with e-mail storage and regulatory compliance.

Andy Earley, director for client partner sales and marketing, said hosting takes place across Equant’s global hosting centers in Atlanta, London, Rennes, France and Sydney, Australia. Or it can take place on the customer’s site.

Pricing varies, depending on how many users are being served, how many terabytes of storage are needed, how much of it needs to be migrated to other backup systems. “Typically, we’ll do a cost analysis to get a budget up front.”

He said the new services are an add-on to its IT services division, which represents about $500 million of the company’s $3 billion in sales. “This is a strategic part of where we’re going,” he said of the new offering. Equant is currently in pilot with some customers and looking to help them cut their internal costs by about 20 to 30 percent with the offering, which Earley prefers to call “out-tasking” rather than outsourcing.

“You don’t have to let go of people to do this,” he added. “We’re actually taking the entire e-mail infrastructure…and helping to ease the worry of making sure they’re up to date on compliance and policy issues.”

Equant is also planning to target small and midcap-sized companies. In that sector, the company would offer shared platforms that might help smaller companies (in the U.S., for example) find a cost-effective way to comply with data storage regulations related to HIPPA in the health care industry, Sarbanes-Oxley and federal securities rules on archiving electronic messages.

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