The enduring importance of a solid digital communication archiving plan

November 23, 2015 by Jatheon

The enduring importance of a
solid digital communication archiving plan

In the business world, some issues are important but fleeting, while others are more enduring. The continuous need to manage a talent pipeline, build relationships with customers and manage finances is all well-known to companies in a wide variety of industries. Despite the overarching importance of archiving unstructured communication data to comply with regulatory needs, some businesses don’t afford to archive the respect it deserves. Here’s a look at what makes unstructured data archiving such an enduring concern for a wide variety of businesses:

Regulatory requirements
Industries ranging from finance to health care have specific requirements in terms of securely retaining data. The specifics of these regulations differ greatly between industries, but the intent remains the same: Organizations have to retain records for potential review by applicable regulatory agencies or suffer fines and other penalties. The situation seems basic when laid out in these terms, but the day-to-day reality for many businesses may be different.

“Archiving is something a business in a regulated industry must address every single day to be successful.”

The nature of regulatory efforts means they tend to exist in the background of most staff members’ minds. With a review coming at random but relatively lengthy intervals or on a yearly basis, it’s easy to ignore the need for an effective archiving solution until the date of an announced audit draws close. This approach also leaves companies especially vulnerable to unannounced audits and other surprise inspections and can lead to significantly negative consequences. The fact remains that no matter what type of audit is conducted nor the specific requirements for retention, formatting, and storage, archiving is something a business in a regulated industry must address every single day to be successful.

A mindful, tech-focused approach
Recognizing the potentially devastating problems related to the lack of a plan for securely storing unstructured information is a key element in viewing archiving as a continual concern. Understanding the enduring nature of archiving and regulatory needs is just the first step, however. Comprehension doesn’t automatically ensure an archiving system is cost-effective, useful or up to the standards of the specific regulations set forth in a given industry. Good intentions are a great way to begin seriously considering archiving as a continual need, but efforts can’t stop there.

Businesses must take their own unique needs into account and investigate archiving solutions to find the best fit. A powerful archiving solution doesn’t only store digital communications data, it also takes other broad and specific considerations into account. Businesses need to consider not only the process of archiving but the many intermediate steps that go into it. One especially important consideration is indexing and search. Secure storage only goes so far when the process of retrieval is difficult and time-consuming, and an inability to find specific communications is just as bad as not retaining the records in the first place. The same goes for approved formats for storage: Businesses must use a solution that stores data in the specific file formats required by their regulatory agencies.

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