In modern business, email is not only the fastest and most commonly used communication tool, but also the virtual file cabinet for various business records. Although e-storage has long eclipsed paper storage, many users are still uncertain about whether and why they need an archiving solution, what to archive and how to go about it. Albeit invisible, wrongly handled electronic data can come back to haunt you if you do not develop a clear strategy regarding the management of email records.
Email archiving is defined as an automated process in which all incoming and outgoing email traffic is tracked, preserved and protected so that the messages could be accessed at a later date if necessary. Although the implementation of email archiving might seem like a tedious and costly venture, the advantages it offers are significant and plentiful. Some of the most obvious ones include an improved audit response and adherence to various regulations, but there are numerous other benefits which are often overlooked but which can help you manage your corporate email more successfully.
This eBook outlines some of the top reasons why most businesses archive email and explores the benefits of archiving with a focus on the management of electronic records.
1. It’s Vital to Stay Compliant
Regulatory compliance is not a favorite word among managers and decision-makers. Nonetheless, research shows that the need to stay compliant is the number one motivation for enterprises to invest in an archiving solution. As companies have become increasingly reliant on email, various compliance standards and regulations have been introduced in order to ensure the appropriate management of computer-generated content. Although some industries are more heavily and strictly regulated than others (healthcare, financial services, pharmaceutical etc.), it is important to note that there are always certain regulations that you are obliged to adhere to, regardless of the particular industry you belong to. In case you fail to implement appropriate guidelines, you might face severe penalties for non-compliance.
How email archiving helps: A comprehensive email archiving solution enables you to preserve email content in accordance with appropriate email management and retention policies. All business-relevant data is securely archived in a spoliation-proof repository, indexed and made available for future queries and retrieval. You cannot afford to lose data which was supposed to be retained for a certain amount of time, so opting for an archiving solution will help you prevent potential data loss and hefty fines, as well as maximize compliance.
2. Be Ready for eDiscovery
All electronically stored information (ESI), including email and social media content, can be used as evidence in everyday workplace disputes, but also in legal proceedings such as investigations, Freedom of Information Act requests, lawsuits and audits. Nowadays, when many business decisions are confirmed via email and when thousands of messages and attachments get exchanged daily, email is a lot more than just communication. Having your email-contained data securely stored is not enough – you will be expected to produce it at request. Moreover, it seems that it’s no longer a matter of if, but when you will have to access a particular document again, as more than 25% of respondents from various industries anticipate that litigation against their companies will increase over the next year.
How email archiving helps: It ensures that the necessary data and documents are held securely and it provides instant and detailed search results. Having an archiving system which can index and store relevant content and protect its authenticity will save you the trouble of long, manual and expensive searches and severe penalties in case you cannot produce the given documents.
3. Boost Business Efficiency and Productivity
Numerous tasks that involve email need to be accomplished on a daily basis as part of the regular business upkeep. According to Radicati Group, it is estimated that a typical corporate user sends and receives around 120 email messages a day. We all know how easily email messages can multiply and how difficult it can be to locate a particular document or an attached file after it gets buried under virtual piles of newer messages. Employees who delete or misplace emails are often forced to ask IT to retrieve the content. But your IT team already have their hands full, don’t they
How email archiving helps: Archiving allows you to reduce the pressure on your IT staff by minimizing the risk of human error and allowing them to focus on other important tasks. Meanwhile, your data retention and management process gets fully automated. When organizations implement archiving solutions, users are able to recover their own deleted or missing email without having to bother IT. This ultimately leads to an increased productivity of both the end user and the IT staff, and maximized workflow efficiency, as messages can now be located and recovered faster with fewer people involved in the process.
4. An Instant Solution to your Server Storage Problems
An obvious and major downside to email is that it clogs your email servers. The volume of information we send and receive via email soon starts to accumulate and consequently overwhelms our inboxes, significantly reducing the servers’ storage capacities. According to many UK users, the purchases of email archiving technology are mostly driven by the benefit of reducing storage on live servers. Large corporations employing more than a thousand staff members might have to store over a terabyte of mailbox data onto a single email server. This much data will certainly result in an impaired performance. On the other hand, all business-critical data must be readily available at all times, even in extreme cases of downtime and server failure.
How email archiving helps: Good email storage management is essential in order to avoid overloading your system. Not only will an easily accessible archive reduce the burden on your servers, but it is, essentially, the most efficient way to store email content. Investing into an archiving solution is thus a win-win solution – your servers will be operating smoothly and you’ll minimize the possibility of crashes. In addition, advanced archiving solutions compress each email before it is archived, which results in up to 50% savings of storage space. Deduplication is a feature which only allows one copy of each message to be stored within the archive – another distinct benefit of email archiving.
5. Eliminate Quotas and PST Files
For reasons explained above, it can be tricky to give staff members unlimited mailbox space. This is why employers impose quotas to remind users to keep their mailboxes in control and ensure that they do not exceed the limits of available storage. Moreover, users typically move email from their mailboxes into locally-stored PST files in an attempt to organize older messages. However, PST files are notoriously difficult to handle and can be a real nightmare for your IT personnel. Apart from the fact that they are unreliable and can be easily corrupted, misplaced or lost, they are rarely backed up and can often be scattered across users’ devices or networks. On top of that, they take up a lot of storage space – the average size of a PST file is 1.3GB, which is equivalent to more than 100,000 emails. Plus, a single user often has more than one. Consequently, PST files cannot be a sustainable long-term solution to email storage, especially if we take into consideration the time and money invested in resolving problems they might cause.
How email archiving helps: With email archiving, you can say goodbye to quotas and PST files! It’s no use creating personal archives when there is a comprehensive repository which is a much more reliable approach to email storage. Do away with quotas and personal files and opt for a workable and effective solution which will save your IT staff a lot of headaches.
6. Improved Knowledge Management
Record-keeping is an important part of everyday business operation and it has never been as easy and thorough as it is now. An email system contains your communication with colleagues, (potential) customers and business partners, as well as contracts, records of appointments etc. In case of personnel changes or workflow interruptions, it is vital to maintain business continuity.
How email archiving helps: Search options offered by a good email archive are far superior when compared to simple backup. In case you accidentally deleted somebody’s contact details and you need to contact the person again, an archiving solution can preserve this information. It also vastly improves your company’s ability to cope with unforeseen circumstances and problems (in case a staff member suddenly falls ill or quits on short notice), as a centralized archive serves as a safeguard against negative occurrences which may entail the loss of important data. Don’t risk exorbitant fines and tarnished reputation just because an employee once accidentally deleted something.
7. Put an End to Digital Clutter
According to a recent statistics report by DMR, the global number of emails sent and received daily has now reached 270 billion. Most of these emails come with attachments and get saved in different locations or end up accidentally deleted. This creates a lot of potential for chaos and disaster. Nowadays, when both email, internal communication and social media chats need to be meticulously archived in order to stay compliant with a multitude of laws and regulations, it is imperative to employ a powerful archiving solution to contain digital clutter.
How email archiving helps: In the era of email overload and ever-increasing stress levels, an archiving system would bring some order to your data and give you some peace of mind. Email archiving solutions capture emails and direct them to a central archive where they are indexed and stored in a read-only format together with attachments and metadata (such as email date and time). Once the content is archived, it can be easily searched, flagged and inspected for phrases, keywords and metadata. Imagine a perfectly ordered shelf which you can search through using every single criterion that comes to your mind! Additionally, premium archiving software can sift through your incoming emails and ignore, discard or block all undesired or junk email before it reaches your archiving system.
8. Monitor Communication to Minimize Risks
The practice of monitoring corporate email and other electronic communication at work has been a divisive issue for some time, with supporters widely advocating its advantages and opponents labelling it as intrusive and unnecessary.
As an employer or a decision-maker, you are allowed to monitor your staff’s email for reasons such as:
- detection and prevention of crime
- ensuring that procedures are being followed
- checking for personal use of company systems
- suspecting harassment in the workplace
From the employer’s perspective, email management equals risk management. Emails contain invaluable business information, including corporate trade secrets and confidential information. As much as 75% of relevant corporate information is contained in emails employees exchange daily. This clearly indicates why email content must never be underestimated.
A sloppy employee might inadvertently leak confidential data or perhaps a non-compliance incident can incur considerable costs and result in marred corporate reputation. In addition, despite the fact that a massive bulk of messages exchanged among your employees are strictly business-related and harmless, there is a chance you might run into some personal content, some of which might be inappropriate or include harassment and cyberbullying. Such incidents can have serious repercussions for your organization.
How email archiving helps: An archiving solution will detect the potentially incriminating messages while their metadata will provide plenty of additional proof. This will allow you to address the issue and prevent further damage to your company. Secure data storage is particularly important if you handle sensitive and confidential information because it mitigates the risk of leaks and gives clear insight into who has access to what.
The implementation of an archiving system is a process which might take some time to fully comprehend but can bring a wide variety of benefits once you actually start using it. Be prepared to invest some time to explore the regulations pertaining to your particular industry and devise a strategy on how to manage the process to reach best results. Adopt a clear email retention policy and do not hesitate to consult a specialist if you have any uncertainties.
With email archiving, you will be prepared to produce a particular email trail (e.g. as court evidence) and avoid paying substantial fees and fines for failing to comply with a policy or respond to eDiscovery. Moreover, your archiving system will provide continuous support regarding potential security breaches, improve staff productivity and free up a lot of storage space.
And finally, accept the fact that email archiving is no longer an optional, additional benefit or a luxury, but a fundamental necessity which will help you manage email much more effectively and exceed your expectations in many ways.
To get a deeper understanding of how email archiving works and to learn more about its key features, contact us or schedule a personal demo.