Why You Need Message Integrity Verification in Email Archiving

October 16, 2017 by Jatheon

Today, when email archiving is no longer a new practice (the Radicati Group’s 2017 report predicts the market revenue will double by 2021) and the vendors are plentiful, it’s not easy to choose the right archiving solution. Today in our blog series, we’re exploring a hot topic ‒ archived message integrity and a particular mechanism that ensures it’s not compromised.

Email archiving is a process in which an archiving system obtains email messages from email servers, extracts attachments and metadata, and then indexes and stores them in a read-only format in a central repository under your control. There are two very important things that need to be highlighted here.

1. Metadata tells a story

We archive messages for content and attachments. But the story doesn’t end there. Every email contains header data ‒ data that is stored in an email about the email. So what does metadata tell us? Apart from the obvious info such as the sender and the recipient, metadata contains other interesting information about the message: exact message route (which allows you to reconstruct the actual message routing across servers), the sender’s IP address, time-zone, reply threading, type of device, the operating system they’re using etc. This information is vital in eDiscovery (link to our website, eDiscovery Solutions page) cases when every email is thoroughly inspected as a piece of evidence.

Email metadata is vital in #ediscovery when every email gets thoroughly inspected as evidence. Click To Tweet

2. Your archive needs to be tamper-proof

Under the SEC Rule 17a-4, all electronic records must be preserved in a non-rewritable and non-erasable format. This means that your archiving solution must be designed in a way that prevents message alteration or deletion. To ensure full compliance with federal, state and industry regulations, make sure your email archiving solutions records data in WORM (write once read many) format.

An extra layer of security

Given that email and other electronically stored information can be used as evidence, it is of paramount importance that your organization can prove that the emails have been archived in their original state and remained intact while in the archive. To minimize legal risk, improve compliance and help with eDiscovery or internal investigations, a good archiving solution will make sure all messages are time and date stamped. Choose an archiving software which offers authenticity features and message verification to easily prove that a specific email has not been manipulated or tampered with. The verification process begins with message ingestion ‒ each and every email gets a unique hash number that is visible when the message is retrieved. This serves as proof that what compliance officers or lawyers are reviewing is the original message with its original content and metadata.

To see how message integrity verification works in Jatheon’s solution, schedule a personal demo today. To learn more about the challenges of email archiving, register for our webinar. For more great content, visit our Library or read another article.

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