As Tom Peters once said, “almost all quality improvement comes through the simplification of design, manufacturing, layout, processing and procedures”. In automated archiving, the essence of automation is to increase efficiency, simplify email management procedures and improve both speed and accuracy. “Set it and forget it” is the golden principle of automation that is also applicable to large-scale archiving of electronic communications.
Email Retention Laws Then and Now
Following the advancement of email, document retention laws (including Sarbanes-Oxley, GLBA, FOIA, FRCP and others) were amended to include electronically stored information, like email, social media and business information exchanged over the phone or mobile apps.
Before automated archiving solutions first appeared, there were two major ways for employees to preserve records of their online communication ‒ to print the email or to take a picture of it and save it in physical form (typically as printed screenshots).
It soon turned out, however, that the old-fashioned principles of hard-copy document retention could not be applied to electronic documents. With vital email metadata missing and with the possibility of editing and tampering, documents retained in such a way could never hold up in court.
Moreover, it was impossible to meet the strict legal discovery deadlines because finding a specific document still required search of the physical archives.
Email Management Challenges in 2021
An average corporate worker sends and receives 120 email messages a day. And according to Harvard Business Review, an average employee’s inbox contains 200 unread messages, while the employee responds to only 25% (despite checking their mailbox 15 times a day).
Without proper management, that number of emails can easily turn into 2400 in a single month, and amount to 36,000 per year. The fact that further complicates the story is that, in times of strict compliance laws and regulations and intense ediscovery, hitting “delete” is no longer an option.
Have you ever wondered how much office time gets wasted on email? A recent McKinsey study also returned some startling results ‒ an average white-collar worker typically spends 2.6 hours a day checking email. Checking is one thing, but locating and recovering a long-forgotten or deleted email is a whole new level of tedious and time-consuming. Not only for the employee in question, but also for the IT department, which typically gets asked to help with these issues.
Full Automation with Email Archiving
Email archiving technology was invented to save time and effort spent on email management and increase productivity. In addition, the automated archiving of your corporate email and social media accounts brings relief to your mail servers, ensures compliance and facilitates ediscovery.
With email archiving, your organization will be able to automatically capture, preserve and protect all inbound, outbound and internal messages, together with their metadata and attachments. A complex indexing system will “label” all message metadata and make it searchable, allowing you to access the archive and locate a specific email or thread quickly and easily.
Apart from enabling you to recover lost or deleted emails, email archiving will accelerate your audit response and guarantee a smooth ediscovery process.
When it comes to benefits of automated archiving for regulatory compliance, email archiving solutions allow you to define and set various data retention policies and assign user roles and permissions to staff members.
By doing so, you can prevent unauthorized access to your company’s sensitive information, specify retention periods and automatic deletion of data after a policy expires. Most importantly, you’ll have the peace of mind that every single one of your messages, be it email or your corporate social media account, is safely stored in a tamper-proof repository that you can simply set and forget.
Is Automated Archiving Cost-Effective?
Email archiving solutions act as safety nets, so it’s often difficult to see the immediate benefit unless you actually take the fall and get saved from a non-compliance fine or lawsuit. Email archives are cost-effective in a number of ways, adding to the benefits they can provide for your company.
If you were to attempt to archive your emails without an automated archiving solution, you could end up with multiple servers and hard drives. These servers need to be kept running constantly as well as maintained. Hard drives need to be backed up regularly onto additional hard drives. The costs of running and maintaining this system increase all the time. An email archive eliminates these costs. Instead you only need to run a single piece of hardware that does the work of many.
The pressure on your system without an email archive has the potential to incur extra costs. With resources straining under the pressure to keep your email data stored, systems slow down and are more likely to fail and need replacing – not to mention the loss of data.
Maintenance for overloaded hardware is more frequent and possibly more costly as older data is extracted and stored elsewhere. Your email archive relieves your email server and hard drives of this unnecessary pressure and reduces the risk of a failure.
As we said before, effective email archiving really comes into its own when litigation and compliance are concerned. The email archive is easily searchable with keyword filters and advanced options to make the retrieval of important information quicker and more efficient. This means routine checks of the archive can be performed quickly, or, in cases of litigation, legal costs are kept down by reducing the time spent gathering information.
All of this will help your IT and legal teams save a lot of time by simply automating the archiving process. Streamlining your email storage with a dedicated solution means your other systems don’t have to bear the strain and you know that you can access your data whenever you need to.
To experience Jatheon’s email archiving solutions first hand, test our software and learn more about automated archiving ‒ schedule a 30-minute demo and we’ll be happy to show you around.