What to Look for in a Cloud Email Archiving Solution (Updated)

October 26, 2020 by Jatheon

Email archiving solutions can be deployed in several different ways. After the short-lived, complex software solutions of the early 2000s, the predominant models were archiving appliances, better known as on-premise archiving solutions.

Although on-prem archives still have their loyal supporters, the email archiving industry has changed profoundly with the advance of cloud technology.

When to Choose a Cloud Email Archiving Solution?

On-Premise vs. Cloud Archiving

In on-premise deployment, data archiving appliances are located in an organization’s office. This deployment type is typical of large enterprises that have an IT infrastructure necessary to maintain and manage the solution.

The advantages include:

  • the total control of the archiving process,
  • increased security and
  • easy monitoring of access.

On-premise solutions are paid per storage space.

Although large enterprises that prioritize security still advocate in-house archives, there has been a rapid rise of cloud-based email archiving solutions. With cloud archiving software, email and other company data are kept in the cloud environment, with the archiving services provider in charge of data security and availability.

What Are the Advantages of Cloud Archiving Solutions?

An obvious advantage is that there are no storage concerns or physical servers to be maintained. Cloud systems are priced based on the number of mailboxes to be archived and are paid as a fixed per-user monthly or yearly fee.

But how do you know that a cloud solution is the right choice for your business? Here’s a quick checklist that you can use as guidance when exploring your options:

1. You are a small business

If you are a start-up or an SMB, chances are your IT team is quite small (or non-existent). Even if you don’t have strict compliance regulations to adhere to, improving information governance, data flow management and defining email retention policies are important issues for companies of all sizes. A data archiving solution will help you kill all these birds with one stone.

If you don’t have the resources to support an on-premise setup, choosing a cloud archiving service will solve these issues for you.

Even if you don’t have to worry about compliance laws, information governance and email management are good enough reasons to adopt an archiving solution. #CloudArchiving Click To Tweet

This doesn’t mean that you should go for any cloud archiving services provider. Several email servers like Gmail, Exchange or Office 365 have built-in archiving capabilities. Their strengths lie in ease of deployment and seamless integration.

Still, there are some considerable drawbacks of such an approach:

  • very basic and often inefficient search functionality
  • trouble with export and the lack of customization and
  • complexity commonly found in third-party solutions.

Put in some effort into research and remember that only a detailed analysis of your unique needs will help you decide on the right solution.

2. You need remote access to archive

The way we do business is going through some major changes. An increasing number of small and medium-sized businesses embrace telecommuting, promote agility and wish to remain mobile in their business.

With a cloud email archiving solution, end users, legal teams, compliance officers and administrators can access the archive from various devices, locations and operating systems.

3. You need to optimize costs

As governance controls and regulatory requirements get tighter, the pressure to reduce costs keeps growing. Cloud-based archiving solutions are financed from the operating budget and, given that they’re sold per mailbox, your initial costs will be much lower than what you’d have to spend on an archiving appliance.

On-prem archiving systems require at least some infrastructure and IT staff, which inevitably increases costs. With cloud-based solutions, organizations don’t need the IT personnel who would set up, manage and support the solution. This usually results in considerable cost-savings.

With cloud-based solutions, organizations don’t need IT personnel who would set up, manage and support the solution. This usually results in considerable cost-savings. #CloudArchiving #EmailArchiving Click To Tweet

What to Look for in a Cloud Email Archiving Solution

As we said before, email archiving has become an established practice for both large and small organizations, but especially for those operating in strictly regulated sectors such as financial, education or healthcare.

These days, organizations are still in doubt when choosing between on-premise and cloud email archiving solutions.

If your organization is more inclined towards cloud email archives, today we’ll look at a list of features you should prioritize when considering your future email archiving vendor.

1. Compatibility and Integration

Even small companies now understand that the simple archiving feature contained in their email client lacks the wide range and complexity of features offered by third-party email archiving solutions.
That’s why every responsible organization that needs to prove compliance or wishes to ensure legal preparedness and business continuity must look further.

While choosing the best cloud archive for your business, make sure the solution you opt for is compatible with your email platform and that the vendor can support various archiving scenarios, including Microsoft Exchange Server on-premise, Office 365, SMTP journaling, policy-based mailbox capture or processing of PST files.

2. User Interface

Remember that your admins, compliance officers and IT team won’t be the only people using the email archiving solution. End users will also have access to their personal mailbox archives and will be able to search and export emails.

An archiving solution can be powerful and feature-rich, but what if it’s poorly designed and requires extensive training?

An average office worker handles 124 emails a day and, according to McKinsey Global Institute, spends 28% of the workweek reading and responding to email.

An email archiving software that’s easy to master with a user interface that saves users’ time and reduces effort should be high on your list of priorities.

With fourth-generation software that has clear information architecture, your users will always know where things are located and won’t ever have to read or watch tutorials to find advanced or hidden options.

Many email archiving providers haven’t redesigned their software in years and still have the outdated versions that were the norm in the late 2000s.

A modern user interface that’s optimized for users in 2020 needs to have an easily available search and well-executed data export. So, when choosing your provider, have in mind that every day, non-IT users need to be able to understand and use the archive without having to bother IT.

3. Robust Search Capabilities

In email archiving, search is the option everyone uses most frequently. For this reason, it’s vital that your archive is both easy and quick to sift through.

Large enterprises often have millions of emails housed in their archives, and to search such large numbers of emails, you need an archive that has a super-fast search engine that can return precise results in a few seconds, even when the result set contains thousands of hits.

Make sure your cloud archiver contains functionalities such as advanced search, which is designed for complex queries and pinpointing data in terabytes.

Jatheon Cloud Advanced Search

4. Ability to ingest legacy email

Only a small number of companies that are looking for an email archiver are doing it for the first time.

A vast majority have already owned a solution and are now moving to a fourth-generation cloud archiving system that can guarantee cost-effectiveness and better performance.

To maintain business continuity and stay in line with compliance regulations, your organization will need to migrate all the historical email data from the previous solution (on-premise or cloud) to the new archive.

No matter if you’re moving from one archiving vendor to another, or simply changing solutions while remaining faithful to your old archiving company, data migration is a complex, delicate process and you’ll need all the support you can get.

If you are an SMB that lacks an IT department, make sure your new archiving vendors can assist you with migration, and be extra careful with the costs as some companies charge extra for legacy data ingestion.

5. An effective archiving process

There are several ways to archive emails and in order to select the solution that can meet all your needs, it’s vital to understand your company’s archiving needs.

  • How robust do you need your infrastructure to be?
  • Is it important to retain email attachments as well?
  • Would you prefer their content to be searchable?
  • Is the archiving solution able to capture all incoming, outgoing and internal traffic?

Before you decide to buy from a particular vendor, make sure you know what questions to ask.

Here’s a good starting point:

6. Compliance and ediscovery

While email archiving offers many benefits (knowledge management, information governance, server performance, disaster recovery), compliance and auditing needs remain the main drivers behind the adoption of email archiving solutions.

Reasons range from keeping business data or personal client information secure, protected and recoverable to having evidence ready in case of an internal dispute or a lawsuit.

Some solutions are more affordable, but others have a wider range of features. Can you sacrifice a feature for slightly lower costs? What features are important in order to prove compliance with regulations and have a safety net when faced with litigation?

Firstly, make sure that the solution is compliant with government and industry regulations relevant to your vertical (Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, FINRA, GLBA, GDPR, etc.).

To automate the email archiving process and ensure compliance, your solution should contain options such as permission levels, flexible retention policies and automatic email deletion after a policy expires.

Jatheon Cloud Export

If you wish to retain some emails indefinitely, make sure your cloud email archive can keep data forever. For effortless electronic discovery, and in order to minimize legal risk, an archiving solution needs a full audit trail, legal hold and a speedy export that lets you deliver email records relevant to a legal process in time.

Another thing we’ve noticed in the archiving market is that some organizations are not sure whether or not to archive emails in the first place. Before you get started, here’s a quick rundown of who should be archiving emails:

In case you want to implement a cloud archiving solution, or are looking to switch from a current cloud archiver, here are some resources to help you make a smooth transition while preserving all your business records:

A Comprehensive Guide to Cloud Security (Pt. 1)

A Comprehensive Guide to Cloud Security (Pt. 2): IAM and VPC

5 Reasons to Move to Cloud Email Archiving from a Legacy System

How to Create an Effective Cloud Email Archiving Strategy

Why a Cloud Archive Is the Best Email Archiving Solution for SMBs

To learn how Jatheon can help you choose and implement the right archiving solution for your business, contact us or schedule your personal demo.

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