This post is the second in a four-part series about the Benefits of Archiving. Look for the upcoming posts, which will focus on the savings an archiving system can provide.
There are tasks that must be accomplished on a regular basis as part of the upkeep of a business. Things like ordering product, providing technical support, making sure that the equipment is in working order, generating reports, or meeting with that new client for that important sales opportunity—among other tasks—are vital to a company’s success.
With all of the messages and electronic files that are sent via email in support of daily business activities, you would think that companies would find it just as important to manage that electronic content. Unfortunately, one important task many organizations seem to overlook is archiving email. Not only is archiving email a business best practice, it is often required by regulations that govern your business.
The top five reasons most businesses archive email are:
- Storage Management
- Knowledge Management
- End-user & IT Productivity
- Regulatory Compliance
Companies in the know understand the importance of this best practice. Let’s take a quick look into the reasons why.
It goes without saying that the first driver for archiving is the functional benefit of reducing storage on “live” servers. Email systems create silos of data that can be stored anywhere. Quickly and easily accessing, searching, and centralizing this data can be next to impossible. If an organization allows each user to have a one-gigabyte mailbox and each email server supports 1,000 users, that means that each email server would need to store one terabyte of mailbox data. That is a LOT of data. Storing that much data on an email server can result in a huge decrease in performance. Moreover, when a server crashes, how much time will it take to restore 1TB of data? You also have to have a backup of the email server from which you can recover the data.
Alternatively, if a third-party archiving system is used, system storage requirements can be greatly reduced, smaller mailbox quotas can be implemented and the system can give users access to their archived content directly in the mailbox or through a web-based interface. This will not only improve email server performance, but will also dramatically shorten backup and restoration downtimes.
How many times have you thanked the IT guy for restoring that one file that you accidentally deleted? What if there wasn’t a backup file saved for the IT guy to restore? This is why archiving email is so important: it preserves the content that organizations pay employees to produce. An email system, for example, contains a record of communications with customers, prospects, business partners, and others. It also contains records of appointments, contacts, tasks generated by each user, and it contains a record of an organization’s “digital heritage.” Organizations must implement an archiving solution to preserve this information.
End-user and IT Productivity
When you can place some of the power into the hands of the end user, it is good. When you can free up some of your IT staff’s time, that is even better! When you archive your company’s data, you now have the capability to improve the productivity of your end users and your IT staff. In many organizations, employees who misplace or delete emails and other content are sometimes unable to motivate IT to retrieve the content. Organizations that implement archiving solutions and then give their users access to archived content, enable users to recover their own missing, deleted, or older email without having to bother IT. When the end user can recover their own email messages more quickly, it makes IT more efficient because they do not have to respond to these types of recovery requests.
Another important reason for archiving is regulatory compliance. While organizations in all industries face some level of this compliance obligation that requires retention and production of business records, some industries face strict and sometimes onerous regulations. These include the financial services, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, energy, and similar industries. It is important to note that even supposedly “non-regulated” industries like retail and manufacturing face some level of regulatory obligation to protect business records.
The final reason many organizations implement an email archiving is because of the existing litigious environment in which they work. Litigation-related drivers focus on three basic capabilities:
- Early case assessment – Many decision makers, when they believe that their organization might somehow be involved in a legal action, will want to conduct an early case assessment to determine the risk they face in either defending themselves or prosecuting the case.
- Legal holds – Legal, or litigation holds involve retaining all relevant content when those decision makers reasonably believe that litigation might be forthcoming, even if no formal legal action has yet occurred. An archiving system, in conjunction with appropriate retention policies, is extremely useful in enabling legal holds.
- eDiscovery – This is the process whereby electronic documents, including email, mobile data, and social media content can be sought, located, secured, and searched with the intent of using it as evidence in a civil or criminal legal case.An archiving system that can index, store, enable, and export a search of relevant content – all while protecting the integrity and the authenticity of the stored data – is a key benefit of eDiscovery.
In addition to the many benefits of archiving as discussed above, the right archiving solution can provide two additional capabilities that will become increasingly important in many organizations: monitoring and analytics. Our blog post, “Email Archiving Benefits – Monitoring and Analytics” speaks more to these points, be sure to check it out!
Here is more information about the Unified Archiving solution from GWAVA, called Retain.
Much of the information for this post is based on the Osterman Whitepaper “Best Practices for Managing Email Archiving.” Go download it!
Click here to download your full 30 day evaluation of Retain Unified Archiving.
Photo Credit: office life by Steve Davidson is licensed under CC BY 2.0 (cropped)