How to Build an Effective Cloud Email Archiving Strategy

September 17, 2018 by Jatheon

Most organizations, especially those in regulated industries, have already implemented email archiving solutions. But how well-devised is your email archiving strategy? As cloud archives grow in popularity, how prepared are you to migrate your current email archive to the cloud? Here are some considerations that must be taken into account before you adopt a cloud email archiving system.

Is cloud archiving a suitable model for your business?

First things first. How do you know that a cloud email archive will work for you? Follow this general rule of thumb – if your organization is relatively large and has a solid IT department that has the know-how necessary to support the on-premise setup, perhaps you should reconsider moving to the cloud. Cloud-based email archiving is not as cost-effective for large enterprises as it is for startups and SMBs due to the large number of mailboxes to be archived and higher fluctuation of employees.

If, on the other hand, your organization has fewer than five hundred employees or lacks the IT infrastructure necessary to support in-house archiving, cloud deployment might be a better option, both in terms of cost and agility.

Automate and centralize your email archive

An email archive helps with many things, but it has two major benefits – it makes your email searchable and represents a centralized repository of valuable corporate knowledge. Let’s start with searchability

An email archive makes your email searchable and is a centralized repository of valuable corporate knowledge. Click To Tweet

Many organizations believe they can replace their aging on-premise email archivers by relying on native archiving options offered by popular email platforms such as Office 365. Others simply train users to periodically download and store their emails as PST files.

The problem with this kind of strategy is that emails don’t get indexed and therefore can’t be searched. An organization with 40 million emails would have to know exactly what email is stored in which PST file, go through thousands of them and load each in Outlook to be able to search them. This would take months, which simply isn’t acceptable in case your business is facing an audit or a litigation request. Moreover, the results you deliver after all this effort will most likely be incomplete.

Keeping business-critical data in PST files is not only the most unsatisfactory and rudimentary archiving strategy a business can embrace, but is inadequate backup as well. Your backup strategy should involve much more than a bunch of PST files scattered across a network of end user workstation PCs whose hardware can crash anytime.

Third-party cloud email archiving solutions can solve both problems at once. A powerful search engine that’s built using advanced search technology can return precise results in under 30 seconds. Email archiving vendors offer companies a means of custom integration with various mail platforms and allow them to choose what is archived and for how long, as well as to define user roles and permissions and restrict access to certain data. This can never be done by simply backing up email or exporting it as PST files.

When it comes to centralizing, an email archive is a single vault which houses all your email – incoming, outgoing and internal. It can also be customized to archive your business social media channels or mobile messaging if your company has such compliance requirements. If you’re preparing for eDiscovery or proving regulatory compliance, your email archive will be your only go-to place, a central repository that will give you confidence and a peace of mind.

If you’re preparing for eDiscovery or proving regulatory compliance, your email archive will be your go-to place that will give you confidence and a peace of mind. Click To Tweet

In case of cloud email archiving, your IT department won’t be able to physically control the archiving process, but you will be in charge of setting the key email retention policies and parameters. Finally, automating the archiving process means that the end users don’t have to be involved in the email management process, which will greatly reduce the risk of error and boost business productivity.

Automating the archiving process means that the end users don’t have to be involved in the email management process, which will greatly reduce the risk of error and boost business productivity. Click To Tweet

Ensure cloud archive security

You’ve heard it a million times – cloud archives are inherently insecure. But this argument can now safely be put to bed. While on-premise email archiving has its security benefits, cloud has stepped up, especially when cloud archiving organizations cooperate with big players such as Amazon or Google. These giants have data and network security as their core competencies, which means your email archive will be perfectly safe in the cloud.

Define email retention policy

The IT department can influence the development of the email retention policy by advocating legal input and providing technical guidance. When it comes to retention periods, the IT department can also draw on areas such as regulatory policies and mandates, as well as risk mitigation best practices.

Compliance mandates can range from strict laws outlining specific time periods to broader laws or certification requirements. Segments of the financial industry, healthcare, education and government are very strictly regulated. If your organization belongs to a heavily regulated industry, it is essential to learn which regulations cover your area and which laws apply to your particular situation. Non-specific mandates also exist. They require the enterprise to develop policies around certain documents and to demonstrate adherence to certification requirements and professional guidelines.

Regional differences in privacy laws have to be taken into account when developing an email retention policy. In North America, the courts tend to see employee email as the property of the enterprise. This is because the messages were created, stored on and retrieved from enterprise systems. In Europe, however, courts treat email as the property of the sender alone, which creates roadblocks when enterprises wish to read, keep, or act on information contained in an email.

It’s important to consider how much time can pass before an enterprise faces a lawsuit regarding data retention. For example, employment records and manuals should be stored for as long as an employee stays in the company plus additional 7 years. This includes email relevant to the employee and their HR issues.

In summary, strategizing the adoption of a cloud-based email archiving system is no different than the implementation of an in-house archive. It requires collaboration between various departments and decision-makers and careful consideration in terms of benefits and risks. Choosing an archiving vendor that you can trust when it comes to security and technical support plays a key role in your long-term satisfaction, and so does the choice of an archiving solution that supports easy and quick email eDiscovery.

Jatheon is a global leader in email, social media and mobile communications archiving with 15 years of experience with regulated industries. This October, we’re launching a next-generation cloud archiving solution. 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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