Successful migration to NHSmail with Mailsafe archiving solution for CCGs

07 / 10 / 2014 

When three clinical commissioning groups in Hampshire decided to move to NHSmail, the NHS South Commissioning Support Unit began investigating ways to achieve a smooth and effective transition from Local Exchange to the new email service.

NHS North East Hampshire & Farnham, Fareham and Gosport, and South Eastern Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) were using a legacy local email system that used PCT email addresses, which they were directed by the Department of Health to stop using. After careful consideration and as a result, all of the CCGs took the decision to move to the national NHSmail system.

NHSmail is approved by the Department of Health for the purpose of sharing patient identifiable data and is the only mail system that is Government OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE accredited. It has myriad benefits – such as security, cost-effectiveness, flexibility and resilience – but features limited mailbox sizes.

Users of the old system were able to keep emails for any length of time as there were no restrictions on the size of the mailbox. NHSmail, however, only allows 400MB of storage space for the majority of users.

“We realised we needed to resolve this and began looking at options such as Outlook Personal Storage Files (PSTs) and other hosting solutions,” said Paul Rogers, senior ICT project manager, NHS South Commissioning Support Unit. “A lot of these hosting solutions needed to install a solution on the email server itself, which was not an option given that NHSmail is a national system. What we needed was a solution for the client side.”

Mailsafe from Techne-Comm is the ideal client-side email archiving solution that also satisfies reduced mailbox storage needs, without using stubbing or shortcutting techniques.
“After a demonstration from the Techne-Comm team we liked the idea and general purpose of Mailsafe as it meets all of our requirements,” Paul Rogers explained. “Some of the existing mailboxes were up to 20GB in size. One alternative was to migrate the contents to PST files. However, typically there is a chance that anything over 2GB will be corrupted, which would lead to data loss even after using recovery tools. This has significant implications for audit trails, compliance and even procurement as there is data that simply cannot be lost.”

In addition, with NHSmail capable of securely transmitting patient identifiable data and other sensitive information, taking these files and saving them as PSTs in a network folder removes that level of security. Mailsafe, however, enables users to retain that security by archiving relevant data in a secure environment on-premise and only approved users can access stored information.
“After getting over the initial change of solutions, user feedback has been very positive,” said Paul Rogers. “We migrated the data from the old system to NHSmail and Mailsafe with the exact Personal Folder structure mirrored in the archiving solution. The solution itself is easy to use and the search functionality is very quick and effective.”

Mailsafe allows users to manually select files and information to be archived, or set up rules for automatic archiving. Emails that are automatically archived are also deleted from the mailbox ensuring that users always stay within space limits.

“Techne-Comm has been very proactive and has listened to our feedback and worked with us to ensure the smooth implementation of Mailsafe.

“All our GP sites use NHSmail and experience the same challenges in terms of mailbox size. Going forward and after experiencing the benefits of the solution first hand and the positive feedback received from our end users, Mailsafe is also an attractive proposition for our GP sites and something that we would consider,” concludes Paul Rogers.