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As part of its Microsoft Exchange hosting service, e-mail security firm AppRiver is offering unlimited mailbox storage, eliminating the need for the type of quota systems in place at many companies.

The company’s service costs businesses $12.95 per mailbox per month, and includes SecureTide, AppRiver’s spam and virus protection technology. The removal of mailbox storage limits will not change the service’s pricing.

The first Exchange hosting company to offer such boundless storage, AppRiver is able to extend the service to customers without additional fees thanks to the ever-decreasing price of storage, according to Scott Cutler, AppRiver’s executive vice president.

Historically, storage capacity increases by about 40 percent year over year, he noted. Better filtering technology for spam has also been a boon, since it prevents storage resources being wasted on junk mail.

“Increasing capacity and lowered costs are coming at the same time as demand for less quota management,” he said.

“Nobody likes to deal with quota systems, so our thinking was to just offer a way to get rid of them. Exchange can be complex to work with, so this takes a piece of that complexity off the table.”

Monitoring storage limits has become a hassle for many IT managers and users, said Michael Osterman, founder of Osterman Research.

Users have a tendency to make their e-mail inboxes into document repositories, creating a digital record of their work that goes back a number of years.

Asking them to clean out their mailboxes on a regular basis not only taxes an IT department, but also tends to frustrate users.

“About 60 percent of organizations have to impose a size quota on their e-mail,” said Osterman. “But having users manage their mailboxes creates unproductive time. They’re just doing housekeeping chores, basically.”

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AppRiver’s unlimited storage offering eliminates the hard and soft costs associated with managing storage and mailbox quotas, Osterman added.

With less quota management and unlimited storage capability, companies can also explore other benefits of Exchange, such as collaboration and mobility features, Cutler said.

AppRiver offers wireless messaging through BlackBerry Enterprise Server, Goodlink and Microsoft ActiveSync.

Currently, most hosted Exchange vendors offer 200MB to 500MB of storage, but with AppRiver’s move, it is likely that at least a few will now look into offering unlimited options as well, Osterman noted.

“Unlimited storage is just the way the industry is going, and it makes sense, given the decreasing costs and the growing need,” he said. “Basically, storage is cheap, so it’s in a company’s best interest to extend that to customers.”

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