We’ll soon mark the 20th anniversary of the Enron scandal, which means that most organizations in regulated industries have been archiving email for almost two decades. Many of them, however, have failed to upgrade their archiving solutions. When asked why, their answers almost exclusively focus on two reasons – the lack of financial resources and the belief that upgrades are not necessary.
The problem with deciding against an upgrade is not so much about ignoring the trends as it is about failing to keep up with technological advancements and getting locked into old technology. This can increase the risks of data loss and incur higher costs in the long run.
One thing that’s often overlooked here, but which explains well why you should keep up with trends in archiving technology is the necessity vs commodity question. What does this mean?
Well, If you look at the B2C industry, handheld mobile phones have been in use since the 1970s. Just because that very first phone did its job – allowed you to talk to another person – doesn’t mean that you should be going around using those same mobile phones from the 1970s. In fact, when one was the last time you saw someone with a 1973 Motorola in their hands?
The same applies to archiving. Just as iPhones let you snap photos, do online purchases, get a Lyft, talk to your friends and family via a suite of apps, browse the internet and get crucial information within seconds, latest-generation archiving solutions let you do similar.
These days, with modern archiving tools, you can find the exact email among millions of others within seconds, set custom rules and roles so that they fully correspond to your business, retrieve all the records for an eDiscovery request and work in line with numerous laws without having to manually check for compliance requirements. It’s not about being a nicety, but something that actually improves your work, gives you less headache and more time to be productive.
As one of the pioneers in the email archiving industry (we love archiving so much that we even made an entire website about its history), we’ve been there since industry beginnings and have had the chance to spearhead initiatives and keep track of the new developments.
In this article, we’ll delve into the issues that surround legacy products and map out the benefits of switching to the latest-generation archive.
What are fourth-generation archives?
The first generation of email archiving products (2002-2004) relied on log shipping to extract data from mail platforms, with the biggest players being IBM, EMC and Fortiva. A few years later, IBM introduced journaling, which made capturing data much simpler and easier to configure.
As earlier software solutions became too complex to install and maintain, on-premise archiving became the norm and new players entered the market, with Jatheon, Barracuda, ArcMail, Commvault, Mimosa and DataCove leading the way. In 2008, roughly 85% of companies were on on-premise systems, but the number soon declined to 73% (2011 data). The culprit – the first cloud-based systems.
This third generation of archiving products had a major benefit – unlimited storage – but came with some major drawbacks too – an unpredictable price tag and security concerns.
Today, archiving systems can be deployed in various ways – as hardware (no, on-premise archiving isn’t dead), virtual and hybrid solutions, as well as on private and public cloud. But the story of the fourth-generation email archiving products goes well beyond just the ease of deployment. So let’s now look at the key reasons why you should retire your legacy systems and make way for the fourth-generation archiving.
1. You get new software features that make your job easier
A key benefit of fourth-generation archiving solutions is the sheer range of features they offer. While during the first waves of archiving solutions you could store data, the scope of functionalities pretty much ended right where it started.
Nowadays, archiving solutions are far more robust, i.e. they can support the management of enormous data sets without crashing. The rich feature set offers compliance officers, admins and end-users far more opportunities for cooperation and timely responding to various requests, regardless of the industry you work in.
Plus, these days, any decent archiver can support export to various formats, not to mention the cream of the crop market solutions that not only do your export for you, but also automatically delete all unnecessary emails, thus reducing your liability, and support the import of legacy data, while allowing you to set custom retention policies.
Overall, as elsewhere in the B2B industry, top archiving solutions are taking the plunge into personalizing the archiving capabilities of the software and combining it with powerful technical data management processes.Top archiving solutions are taking the plunge into personalizing the archiving capabilities of the software and combining it with powerful technical data management processes. Click To Tweet
One thing to have in mind here is that some of these advanced capabilities often come at an added price. So, when choosing your next archiver, look for maximum functionality for a flat price. In case you need some more guidelines, here’s a quick checklist from Jatheon’s CEO:
2. Email is no longer the only electronic record that needs to be retained
While early-gen archiving software could only archive emails, today’s landscape is a lot different than only a decade ago.
Making their way into mainstream communication, social media has become an integral part of business communication, so integral, in fact, that it is now considered official business records.
With 4th generation archiving tools, you can capture, store, archive, search, retrieve, and export a variety of social media formats, including content from WhatsApp, Slack, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest.
Whereas previously only ‘proper’ emails could be archived, these days you can use a single tool to capture all communication and archive it for compliance purposes.Whereas previously only ‘proper’ emails could be archived, these days you can use a single tool to capture all communication and archive it for compliance purposes. Click To Tweet
Archiving social media is particularly important for schools, hospitals, and government agencies, whose industries are strictly regulated, and where there is a lot more at stake than just company reputation. Data privacy is a major concern here, so it comes even more worrying that only 20% of organizations archive their social media.
These challenges can be fixed with a comprehensive archiving tool that will also let you implement your social media monitoring strategy.
3. Storing data is a given. Advanced analytics is what really matters.
The rise of the fourth generation archiving solutions overlaps with the advent of machine learning and AI. This fuels archiving tools with added advanced capabilities, in turn allowing companies to benefit from multiple machine learning algorithms and insights they provide.
How does this work? Well, you are surely aware of the number of emails and documents that get exchanged each day. The volume of information is rising rapidly, which means that we need to find more sustainable ways to capture and understand them.
In terms of archiving software, what really matters is advanced analytics, ie what meaning you decipher from the amount of information available. Hence, whoever wants to streamline their business, should look for an archiver that can use the ML algorithms to gain insights from the emails stored.In terms of archiving software, what really matters is advanced analytics, i.e. what meaning you decipher from the amount of information available. Click To Tweet
Put simply, this means that archiving tools will start expanding their predictable models to include features such as auto-classification and labeling of emails. As a result, this will reduce the need for manual classification and allow businesses to invest their resources elsewhere
In addition, companies can use their archiving tools to better understand the way their employees communicate with prospects/clients, identify friction points in communication and improve results.
There are many more use cases for advanced analytics. Using the archived data in your storage, you can learn customer and employee sentiment, monitor for profanity, manage customer relationships, check for potential data theft and detect policy violations.
4. End-user access has gained importance
Another benefit of archivers of the latest generation is that they have placed focus on end-users and ways they can benefit from archiving. This “end-user self-service”, as Osterman Research calls it, is a tremendous benefit for any industry.
Previously, it was up to the system admin in most cases to manage archived emails and records. Now, however, most systems come with a user-friendly interface that helps non-technical staff find and retrieve old email without having to ping system admins and waste time.
By reducing the time and effort that would be invested in solving these trivial requests, modern-day archiving solutions has significantly improved the efficiency of the workflow, while preserving security and safety of the archived data through custom user permissions and policies.
As an Osterman Research whitepaper puts it, “Good archiving enables enhanced user productivity by allowing employees and others to spend less time looking for content”.
5. You don’t want your data “locked in silos” and difficult to access
One more issue that the latest generation archiving solutions address is the inaccessibility of data.
The burden comes from the fact that companies use numerous systems to manage their data, including CRMs, ERPs, cloud storage, HRM software, email systems, databases. Most of these data collections are not integrated with one another, which causes plenty of friction in making data-based decisions.
A lot of times, staff from one vertical have no access to data from another vertical, which can dampen company productivity and lead to missed opportunities and even regulatory fines.
This issue is further exacerbated by the BYOD trends, which leads to even more fragmentation and distribution. This gives rise to content silos where information gets trapped and doesn’t reach decision-makers on time.
According to the Osterman Research whitepaper, the problem here is that this distribution and disconnection of data leads to “a situation in which it’s difficult to search across silos and synthesize this data to satisfy regulatory or legal considerations, let alone analytics requirements to understand what the data really means.”
With a modern archiving solution, all these silos could be connected and incorporated into a single data archive, accessible to all employees whose scope of activities lies in data management. This would make it a lot simpler to reconstruct data and provide meaningful information and address regulatory requests.
Need a recap? Watch this video on legacy vs. modern archiving solutions.
P.S. If you want to learn more about the latest data archiving trends, here is a quick video where Jatheon CEO and VP Business Development weigh in on what lies in store: