The Ultimate Guide to Email Archiving for Startups & SMBs

April 01, 2019 by Jatheon

Email archiving used to be a business practice limited to large public companies, especially those in the regulated sectors such as government, education, healthcare or financial services. More recently, keeping proper electronic records has proven beneficial to businesses of all sizes, and email archiving has quickly become a way to improve records management quickly and painlessly.

The reasons for investing in an email archiving solution are many – self-defense against litigation, compliance with increasingly strict federal laws and industry regulations, and improving employee productivity, to say the least. With industry standards and state legislation becoming tighter every year, organizations should only expect that the management of email, social media and text messages will become even more important in the coming years.

How Are Small Organizations Different?

In terms of email archiving, there are two kinds of small companies. The first group is made up of small organizations that deal with large public companies and need to archive email to stay in compliance with regulations. These organizations often struggle to respond to the strict demands set by regulatory compliance and ediscovery requests that both lead to penalties if email isn’t handled in a compliant manner. Given that the number of emails is constantly growing, combined with a sharp increase in social media presence and IM technology, it can be challenging to handle so much data, even more so if you are a small business.

The second group is comprised of small businesses that operate in industries which aren’t strictly regulated – cosmetic industry, fantasy sport, computer services and others. Such organizations are not legally bound to archive, but choose to do so for the extra benefits such as legal preparedness, storage management and employee oversight.

Email Archiving Benefits for Startups

For startups, email archiving habits should be implemented from the top down and be fostered as a culture from the very beginning. Later on, when the company grows and faces any kind of legal challenges or subpoenas, you’ll be able to stand by the legitimacy of your communication records. An email archive will store all incoming, outgoing and internal emails. If an employee or a customer is involved in legal proceedings, a court may request your own email records to verify evidence. Not being able to produce certain email records can land startups in hot water with the authorities for breach of compliance legislation.

If an employee or a customer is involved in legal proceedings, a court may request your own email records to verify evidence. Click To Tweet

There is a growing number of small businesses that use email archiving platforms as solutions that store employee communications, convenient for recovery in the event of a catastrophic data loss incident. Ask yourself if your startup could afford to start from scratch if all your email and attachments were lost? We find that most startup owners say no.

Archiving employee communications for monitoring may not be a popular practice among employees, but it does foster appropriate behavior when using corporate email and social media channels. Archived communications are generally used in legal matters that subpoena email records regarding violations of email policies or misuse of email, including fraud, mobbing and claims of sexual harassment.

Email Archiving & SMBs – Problems and Misconceptions

Despite the benefits, many small companies are still reluctant to adopt an email archiving solution. Many SMBs feel they don’t have the necessary resources to archive email, whether on-premises or using a cloud solution. Although your company is small and there may be no need for an IT department, it doesn’t mean you’re immune to the law. Most email archiving servers connect directly to your network, making the implementation process simple and straightforward. With cloud solutions, you can be up and running in under 30 minutes.

There are many reasonably priced solutions on the market, tailored specifically for small organizations. If you are considering email archiving but are loath to add it to your budget, remember that it’s one of those business tools that gets cost-effective in the long run. Small businesses understand the importance of having an archive only when there is a legal request and when there are risks involved. When that time comes, the archiving solution typically pays itself off with a single search. Remember that electronic discovery applies to every business in the United States and that an increasing number of cases feature regulators looking for evidence in email and social media records.

Must-Have Requirements for an Email Archiving Solution

Even for small businesses, data is always going to be a concern. You can have a “big data” problem even if you’re a small company, and email can be a huge part of this issue. Therefore, it doesn’t really matter what kind of an organization you have or how big it is. Using email as a means of communication is reason enough to archive it properly.

When it comes to email archiving solutions, small organizations aren’t as savvy as large enterprises that have been using them for the last decade. They are familiar with the process and the market, and know exactly which features to look for in a solution. Email archiving and ediscovery are no longer the responsibility of the legal and IT departments alone, but should be incorporated into an organization-wide culture. With that in mind, we believe that any email archiving solution should meet the following chief requirements.

1. Security – An email archiving solution should be able to ensure that the data cannot be manipulated, altered or deleted. Only a fully tamper-proof archive will ensure compliance with data retention regulations.

2. Flexibility – The regulatory requirements for organizations continue to grow. It is vital that the email archiving solution is flexible enough to meet the archiving requirements of today and adapt to the challenges of the future. Many email archiving solutions can archive electronic content other than email – files, social media, instant messages or mobile calls and texts.

3. Agility and accuracy – Ediscovery risk is high when there are multiple points of failure and when processes are not adhered to. Your solution should be able to cope with ediscovery requests quickly and prove the accuracy of records when questions are asked.

4. Enhanced data architecture – An email archiving solution should take advantage of technologies that can compress data without jeopardizing the archive’s integrity.

5. Ease of use – In email archiving, it’s vital that users outside the IT department can use the solution comfortably on a daily basis. Compliance officers, legal teams, HR managers and end users should all be able to use the system without passing requests to the IT department.

6. Easy installation – The system should be installed easily and should integrate well with enterprise level email infrastructures, like Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory, and should also support future eDiscovery protocols.

Compliance officers, legal teams, HR managers and end users should all be able to use the email archiving system without passing requests to the IT department. Click To Tweet

Does your email archiving solution tick all these boxes? If not, we can help. Jatheon is a global leader in email, social media and mobile communications archiving and ediscovery with 15 years of experience with on-premise archiving and a new, latest-generation cloud email 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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