Moving to on-premise email archiving has many advantages over a simple backup. So, today, we’re going to guide you through the key steps on how to implement your on-premise email archiving solution.
In case you’ve already headed down with the implementation and need specific guidance on some of the stages along the way, here’s a quick reference list:
- Email Archiving vs Backup
- Advantages of On-Premise Email Archiving
- Assessing Your Information Archiving Needs
- Migrating Legacy Data to a New Solution
- Finding the Right On-Premise Feature Set
Email Archiving Vs Backup
Many people think that archiving and backing up are the same thing. While they are similar, the on-premise archive provides much more flexibility and efficiency than a backup.
A backup is more like a snapshot of your emails, a short-term collection of your company’s emails that is typically compiled in a specific time frame, for instance, weekly or monthly.
On-premise email archiving is more of a long-term record of your emails that can be accessed at any point in the future.
Archived email has the distinct advantage of being able to be searched and retrieved and, if need be, restored quicker and more efficiently than a backup.
But why is that?
Because an email archive makes use of journaling emails.
Advantages Of On-Premise Email Archiving
Journaling essentially makes a copy of every email that passes through the server and is then stored in a special archive, or journal mailbox, which is then sorted by the archiving software into a database.
Email archiving offers the advantage of being certain that you are compliant with any records retention laws and regulations.
It also reduces the load on the email server, meaning less time managing personal storage (PST) at both individual and administration levels.
Plus, you will be reducing administrative reliance on each employee being in charge of archiving their email. It is done automatically for them, so they do not need to think about it and can get on with their work. This is especially good for larger organizations, where hundreds of emails are sent and received every day.
Assessing Your Information Archiving Needs
While records retention is mandatory for some industries, especially regulated industries such as financial, healthcare, government, and education, and highly recommended for others, the first step in implementing an on-prem solution is to understand your specific needs.
This means that you should:
- list all laws you need to comply with and check for specific requirements
- identify which communication channels your employees use and what data formats you need to capture and archive (emails, voice messages, texts, instant messaging content, gifs, etc.)
- define levels of access across the company (who needs to access your email archive, how often, from which devices)
- define the uses of your archived data (do you want to archive your data solely for potential legal action, or do you frequently need to respond to FOIA requests)
Migrating Legacy Data to a New Solution
Before you choose your next archiving system, you need to assess the migration process. Organizations in regulated industries rely on their legacy data as these provide vital business information, so business records mustn’t be lost. In case you’re switching between archivers, pay attention to not lose your data.
This means that you should talk to the potential vendor about:
- The number of emails they can support (eg. whether it’s 30 million emails or fewer)
- Whether your legacy data is compatible with the archiving solution you’re considering
- Whether there will be dedicated tech support to help with migration
- The estimate of the migration process duration
- What your IT team needs to provide
- Can import periods be customized or not
- What will happen with metadata, and whether your legacy data would be date-stamped and indexed
- Is the import of legacy emails done automatically
- What’s the daily amount of legacy emails that can be imported
- The cost of migration
Finding the Right On-Premise Feature Set
Numerous factors should guide your decision-making when implementing an on-prem solution. As a rule of thumb, on-premise appliances are a bit more costly, but they can pay off in the long-term.
To get the best tool for your budget, you need to consider your industry, applicable laws, your business plans, your information architecture and vertical structures (which functions in your company need data from which departments), your 3rd party vendors, and more.
This will give you a good understanding of what you do need and don’t need from your next archiving appliance.
Here are some functionalities to measure your next on-prem archiver against:
- Zero evidence spoliation (ie you can prove the authenticity of your archived data and information on their metadata)
- Data backup (ie you will be able to preserve all vital business information for as long as you need them)
- Custom roles and access privileges (you will be able to set varying roles and their permissions depending on the functions this role plays in your organization)
- Customizable retention policies (this will let you set custom rules for preserving and removal of records you’re no longer required to have. Essentially, you will avoid being liable for records you’re no longer obliged to keep)
- Advanced search (you will be able to set various parameters so that you can find that one email among millions in seconds, and also respond to eDiscovery requests on time)
- Deduplication functionality (you will be preserving only one single copy of an email, thus reducing the load on your storage space)
- Ability to capture and store email, social media, texts, voice calls, etc.
Once you lay down the groundwork first, you yourself will have a much better perspective of what kind of on-prem archiver you need.
This will allow you to find exactly the combination of functionalities that will automate your archiving, help you work in line with regulations, and save you time so you can focus on other aspects of your business.
Here are some more steps to consider before implementing an on-premise archiving system in your organization: