Companies are accruing more and more unstructured data as each day goes by. This begs the question of where they store this increasing volume of data and how they will be able to retrieve it easily when it’s needed. Email has been the number one method of business communication for years and with attachments like PowerPoint slides, PDF files and images, the amount of disk space needed by email is increasing quickly.
All the while, industry regulations like Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) and new E-Discovery guidelines make it more and more crucial not just to store messages, but to have the ability to retrieve them at a moment’s notice. As a result of these regulations and guidelines, more and more companies are now looking at how email archiving can benefit them.
Email Archiving vs. Backup
Archiving and data backup are similar, but with a few key differences. While the main aim of backing up is to restore files post-disaster or disk failure, archiving concentrates on retaining a particular document as well its metadata, which includes when it was created or last modified. Archiving often involves a more complicated indexing system that allows files to be found quickly.
We have gathered together 10 straight forward benefits that you can receive through the use of email archiving:
1. Archiving your emails ensures that legislation and compliance laws and regulations are followed. There are a lot of businesses that have to comply with stringent codes of conduct or they may face being fined. Banks and other financial services businesses along with legal practitioners and businesses that keep medical records are just a few of them although almost every business needs to adhere to data protection regulations.
2. If there is a suspected misdemeanor or criminal act that involves that business or employees within the business, email archives can be used to retrieve information that could be used as evidence in a court of law at a later stage. In recent years, due to many incidents of criminal activities such as drug dealing using companies’ computer resources, this has become especially significant. Some of these issues even center around terrorist activities.
3. In the past, individuals within the business were relied upon to archive the business emails. In these cases issues arose if the archiving wasn’t carried out regularly. In some cases it may not have been done at all.
4. A proper systematic archiving system can lower the costs of email retrieval, if in the event an old email is required for any number of reasons. With situations where a particular email is essential for evidence, a business could possibly spend a fortune on people and resources trying to locate and retrieve the relevant information. A good email archiving package will remove this arduous process and increase the speed at which it can be carried out.
5. An email archiving system is a good idea if your computer or network has potential major issues. In the event of a major issue, there will be a copy of all the necessary emails that you would need to retrieve and re-load onto the systems in order to get the business running again or even to satisfy a court requirement.
6. Many businesses are required through regulations to retain records of emails for a certain length of time. Regulations such as SOX and HIPAA require companies not only to store documents and internal communications, but to be able to produce them in an audit. Having an email archiving system means this process is automated rather than leaving it to the IT department or individual people within the business who could potentially make a mistake.
7. Emails can often contain specific information that could be incredibly useful if an organization is in dispute with a client or regulatory body. This information could be what is needed to settle the dispute, and having it available for quick retrieval could reduce costs that could be incurred during the dispute. Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP ) in late 2006 explicitly state that electronic documents, including emails, are fair game in a lawsuit’s discovery phase, when both sides can request documents from one another to build their cases.
8. Due to messages being compressed and duplicated, having an email archiving systems can reduce the necessity for large amounts of storage. An archiving system can also remove the archived emails from the system at the end of the required holding period.
9. Electronic discovery or E-Discovery is a relatively new term that allows businesses to use emails as evidence either for criminal, civil litigation or for potential use in company disciplinary procedures. Having an email archiving system in place allows E-Discovery to take place extremely fast and efficiently, saving the business both time, money and vital resources.
10. Keeping all of your important emails on a fast, high-availability email server can be extremely costly. The more disks you need to run means more electricity for power and cooling of those disks. This in turn can greatly multiply the costs and takes away from the company’s green credentials. Email archiving systems are much more cost-effective.
Email archiving provides easy compliance, worry-free record-keeping and instant intelligent data access to all your email assets. A lot of businesses are increasingly turning to archiving when it comes to storing old messages instead of holding years of emails and messages in primary storage such as an email inbox or on a disk. They all realize that there are many more benefits available to them when they use an automated email archiving system as opposed to a physical and manual archiving process. There are also many examples of where an email archiving system helped businesses with E-Discovery and providing emails as evidence in court.
The cost-saving benefit is also the main reason why countless businesses are moving to using an automated archiving system. As it was mentioned in the above points it can reduce the resources needed in the archiving process, so that they can be put to better use in other aspects of the business.
Although the benefits are compelling far beyond compliance, many industries are required by law to email archive. While every industry can benefit greatly from investing in and implementing an email archiving system, the following are just a few examples of the industries that, due to compliance regulations and laws, are required to have an email archiving system in place:
- Finance and banks