Introduction: Traditional and New Reasons to Archive Email
When we think about email archiving and its benefits, the first advantages that come to mind are observing regulatory compliance and being prepared for electronic discovery. The laws and regulations that govern the management and preservation of email and other digital communication (and come with heavy penalties) often vary across industries, but some of the most famous ones are Sarbanes-Oxley, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), HIPAA, SEC and GLBA. Email archiving can also assist in ensuring a timely and efficient response to eDiscovery requests ‒ something that organizations in highly regulated industries particularly value, as they live in perpetual fear of litigation and lawsuits.
While these two reasons are definitely valid and very important, organizations are often unaware that, in addition to these traditional reasons and threats of non-compliance, there are a lot more facets of email archiving.
Organizations are often unaware that, in addition to these traditional reasons and threats of noncompliance, there are a lot more facets of email archiving.
As a matter of fact, a vast majority of email archiving companies advertise their archivers as “set and forget” solutions. This strategy focuses on the fact that your email archiver is not something you will need to oversee, worry about or repair very often. However, such a message might cause clients to overlook the additional benefits and potential uses of their archive. Companies often fail to realize that their archived information is an enormous knowledge base that they can leverage and gain valuable insights regarding the entire organization, employees, their relationships, as well as reach important conclusions and useful ideas for improvement.
Companies often fail to realize that their archived information is an enormous knowledge base which they can leverage and gain valuable insights regarding the entire organization.
However, there has been a shift in focus in recent years. These two defensive reasons are now considered elementary, given benefits, while a growing number of organizations are beginning to understand that they can use their archived information proactively and improve their entire business operation.
Data: Archiving, Governance and Management
Data governance can be defined as a process that an organization establishes and follows in order to ensure availability, usability, integrity and security of data and make it usable by the entire organization. This process largely depends on the data governance technology that allows responsible individuals (the so-called data stewards) to assess, monitor, manage, use and protect organizational information. Without the help of such technology, it would be very difficult to ensure consistent and proper handling of an organization’s data across the business enterprise. There are several goals of data governance, but many of them overlap with the goals of data archiving: mitigating the risk of regulatory fines, improving data security, optimizing staff effectiveness etc. Another similarity lies in the main drivers, and these typically include external regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley or GDPR in Europe and various other privacy laws.
As organizations strive to utilize their archived data for business improvement and increased oversight, both data governance and email and social media archiving are currently assuming a more central role in enterprises.
As organizations strive to utilize their archived data for business improvement and increased oversight, both data governance and email and social media archiving are currently assuming a more central role in enterprises. This means that archiving is no longer only about compliance, eDiscovery and storage, but also about extending corporate governance and protecting valuable company information.
Archiving is no longer only about compliance, eDiscovery and storage, but also about extending corporate governance and protecting valuable company information.
Email Archiving Benefits for Management
Even if your organization belongs to an unregulated industry (and you don’t have to worry about compliance), your email archive is a vast repository of corporate knowledge. A targeted analysis of the information contained in the email archive can help managers to get a deeper understanding of their business and information flows within the organization. This will allow them to see how their organization really operates on the inside and how its staff communicates with clients, colleagues and partners.
Such an analysis of the email archive can help decision-makers identify strong points or potential problems and aspects of their operations that can be improved. It also allows them to monitor and understand social relationships that exist between colleagues and helps to identify weak links as well as the employees who excel, the ones that everyone goes to when they need a problem solved or a task done. Which employee takes the longest to respond to an email? Who’s the typical go-to person in your IT team? This incredible wealth of insight that stakeholders can obtain from archived communication will allow them to make better decisions, reach actionable results and provide vital insight into your organization that you might not be able to get otherwise.
The Benefits of Email Archiving for Your IT Team
Recent research shows that one in four businesses experiences a storage management growth of 25% per year. Such a high storage growth rate can be largely attributed to increased email use, accompanied by ever-increasing attachment size. This causes companies to impose strict email quotas with the aim of preserving optimal server performance and efficiency. An email archiving solution will bring the much-needed relief to your mail servers and simultaneously allow your IT team to abandon quotas. This is because an archive allows companies to store their legacy information without keeping it on a live server or in an email inbox.
Moreover, end-users often have trouble locating specific emails in their overwhelmed inboxes. They can often accidentally delete emails that contain valuable (and often incriminating) company data. In this case, they are typically forced to contact the IT department and ask them to help retrieve the necessary files. This puts an extra pressure on your IT team. An archive can increase efficiency and productivity when it comes to the numerous tasks that need to be accomplished on a daily basis. A fully searchable email archive with advanced search, retrieval and export options will allow end-users to manage their own email without disturbing the IT, which will ultimately save your organization a lot of time and trouble. In other words, automatic email archiving ultimately leads to increased productivity in both the end-user and the IT staff. It also helps maximize workflow efficiency because emails can be located and recovered faster with fewer people involved in the process. Your IT team will be glad that they don’t need to constantly worry about mail servers and happy to gain more time for other important projects.
A fully searchable email archive with advanced search, retrieval and export options will allow end users to manage their own email without disturbing the IT, which will ultimately save your organization a lot of time and trouble.
How Your Legal and Compliance Departments Can Benefit from Email Archiving
The legal department in a company or corporation is responsible for providing legal services and advice. Given that compliance is essentially a legal matter, it is the legal department, especially in larger companies, that typically senses the need to appoint a compliance officer. The main role and responsibility of the compliance officer is to ensure that the company operates in a manner that respects applicable federal, state and industry-specific laws and regulations and do so in a proactive way which prevents potential non-compliant actions. Several large industries such as the financial services industry, healthcare or government are very strictly regulated.
Email archiving has long been known as a compliance solution that monitors all incoming, outgoing and internal email communications, captures and stores them in a safe repository in an immutable format and allows them to be retrieved in case there is a visit from the auditors or for litigation support.
An email archiving solution will allow you to apply litigation holds easily, prevent evidence spoliation and ensure a smooth eDiscovery process without paying thousands of dollars for data retrieval. Moreover, it will give your legal department or legal advisors the peace of mind that your corporate email and social media records are centralized rather than distributed across various devices or servers. Archiving is a technology that allows firms to meet the legal and regulatory requirements easily and efficiently, without wasting huge amounts of money on data retrieval and Discover.
Email archiving will give your legal department the peace of mind that your corporate email and social media records are centralized rather than distributed across various devices or servers.
Another benefit worth mentioning is the monitoring and control of employees’ email and social media communication. Although the vast majority of messages that your employees and colleagues exchange daily are business-related, sometimes there’s more to it. With an archive, you can define policies, set rules and notifications, apply various levels of access for users, admins and compliance officers and be alerted if your employees’ online communication features inappropriate content.
An email archiving solution will empower your legal and compliance team to keep track of who accessed which emails and when, to monitor messages for violations, to detect workplace disputes and prevent more serious breaches such as sexual harassment and evidence spoliation.
End Users and Email Archiving
An email archiving solution adds significant advantages for the end-user. When it comes to email management, there are said to be two large groups of employees ‒ the minimalists and the hoarders. The minimalists love to keep their inbox clean and tidy, so they tend to delete everything regularly and meticulously. And sometimes, they overdelete. The hoarders are those who don’t understand that the inbox is supposed to be the place where your email arrives, not the place where it is supposed to stay forever. This practice often stems from good intentions or fear that they might delete something that they’re going to need later.
Both groups can benefit from an email archiving solution. The key, as usual, lies in education. Making a proper email management and retention policy and then preaching it to your employees will ensure that everyone’s on the same page.
Another challenge lies in the fact that employees often use two or more devices, which causes data to be scattered and creates a nightmare for system administrators. An email archiving solution automatically captures and archives all email, which means your employees will no longer need to be burdened with quotas and ask the question “to delete or not delete”. What is more, it will help you declutter your local storage, provide incredible relief to your mail servers and let your IT team breathe. Employee productivity will increase significantly, as email archiving software options such as advanced search and easy export will allow them to easily locate every single email instead of sifting through thousands of email messages manually or asking IT for assistance. As mail platforms’ built-in archiving and search options offer only the most basic of parameters and functionalities, responsible organizations are increasingly opting for more robust and powerful email archiving tools in order to increase productivity and overall business security.
Employee productivity will increase significantly, as email archiving software options such as advanced search and easy export will allow them to easily locate every single email instead of sifting through thousands of email messages manually or asking IT for assistance.
If your company is dealing with strict email and social media compliance requirements and you still haven’t implemented an email archiving solution, remember that this poor visibility into your data and the fact that your sensitive information is scattered across various places can never be a good thing. Poor data management can result in hefty penalties that could expose your organization to financial risks and leave you with a questionable reputation.
Poor data management can result in hefty penalties that could expose your organization to financial risks and leave you with a questionable reputation.
An archive contains a wealth of information about an organization’s operations, information flows and many other types of content that, if analyzed properly, can be turned into actionable insights enabling key stakeholders to make informed decisions about their business and giving them a competitive advantage. Businesses that archive their communication data not only improve their obligations in terms of compliance, but can also turn their archive into a corporate intelligence repository that offers plenty of valuable insights.
Email archiving solutions and their options are getting more and more sophisticated and they are beginning to be used not only for defensive reasons such as regulatory compliance, storage concerns and eDiscovery, but also as repositories which you can analyze and draw valuable insights from. Depending on how advanced your email archiver is, you will be able to extract information that will benefit your entire organization and allow you not only to monitor, sanction and control, but also to reward specific employees and their behavior and learn about their messaging habits. Looking at your email archive as a strategic business asset rather than something that you should use only when you have to will open up a whole new world of possibilities for your business and improve data management in all your departments.
To learn how Jatheon can help you implement an email archiving solution, book a personal demo or contact us.