Trend Micro has moved into email archiving, with new server-based software and a Microsoft Outlook plug-in client that lets users archive their email and conduct authorised searches.

The Trend Micro Message Archiver, which runs on Windows 2003, is intended for businesses with as many as 1,000 users, with storage typically allotted to about half a GB per user, per year. That can be extended, however, says product marketing manager Chris Taylor.

"This takes all internal and external mail and archives it efficiently," Taylor says.

Trend Micro acknowledges it's jumping into messaging archiving at a time when the competitive landscape already is crowded with players that include HP, CommVault and Quest Software, among others. Hosted email archiving, including that from Google, represents an option for businesses as well.

Trend Micro, which says it acquired some technology for its Message Archiver from an unnamed German firm, hopes the security controls built into the product will prompt mid-sized companies to take a closer look.

Message Archiver has a feature called Data Guardian, which allows an authorised individual, such as the privacy officer or chief compliance officer, to be notified every time someone searches the email archives.

"Every time a search is made of the archive, the person making a legal, authorised search has to submit the reason," Taylor says. In addition, IT staff are not authorised to look at other people's email. That and other controls are intended to ensure that the email archiving meets regulatory compliance requirements for data protection.

Message Archiver costs about US$33 (£16) per user, with Trend Micro making a free trial-download available.