Email Archiving: Going, Going, NOT Gone!
Many people have gone through a crisis in their personal lives where some scrap of paper with critical information on it gets thrown away or lost just when they need it most. This can happen with email as well. However, unlike that shopping list you lost, email can be recovered through email archiving solution.
Archiving emails involves capturing email content either straight from the email application itself or else during transport. The messages are usually stored on magnetic disks, either on-site or off-site. For faster searching and ease of recall they are indexed.
Email archiving has many benefits. Emails that have been lost or accidentally deleted remain in the archive for recovery. It can facilitate accelerated audit responses; preserve any intellectual property contained in the email and in attachments, and “eDiscovery“, who said what and when, in the case of litigation.
Among the reasons that companies use email archiving are:
- The preservation of data – Archiving stores your emails in their original state as well as maintaining a record of changes and alterations.
- To protect intellectual property – Intellectual property theft can be thwarted with archived records proving not only who originated the intellectual property, but when.
- Regulatory compliance – Depending on the nature of the business (finance, healthcare, etc.), regulations such as HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley require records to be kept for specified periods of time that can range from 2 years to the life of the company. Clearly, archiving electronic records for indexing and searching is best for this.
- Legal and litigation discovery – Archived emails preserve not only the emails themselves accurately, but an entire chain of custody can be proven to protect yourself and your company.
- Back-up and disaster recovery for emails – Archiving keeps data secure and intact in the event of a disaster, such as a fire or natural catastrophe like Superstorm Sandy.
- Messaging system and storage optimization – You can save space on your messaging system by moving inactive emails into an archive for later retrieval if needed.
- Monitoring content of internal and external emails – According to market research by Harris Interactive, less than half of all employees surveyed obey company email policies, and 1 in 5 will open suspicious emails even though they may know better. Archiving can help your IT department track the origins of issues arising from this and can help ensure that policies are adhered to.
- Records Management – Archiving maintains message integrity and avoids spoliation and corruption of the original message far better than simply performing daily back-ups. Searchable metadata facilitates ease of recovery when archived records are needed.
- Business and email continuity – When a project or position changes hands, the new person or team can quickly and easily get brought up to speed with a complete archive of what has transpired before.
Many compliance regulations call for the preservation of “electronic business communications” not only for email, but also for instant messages, file attachments, VoIP, PIN-to-PIN and SMS text messaging, as well as other means of electronic business communications.
For litigation and legal discovery, email archiving lowers the risk of spoliation and greatly speeds up eDiscovery. Email can be retrieved quickly and a chain of custody can be established thanks to the trails of its electronic history. Without archiving, copies of emails may still exist somewhere on the network or on someone’s workstation, but locating and recovering it becomes very time consuming, and that may be time you don’t have. There is also the question of whether or not it’s a faithful copy of the original email. With an email archive, there is no question.
In the event of a disaster, email archiving can help you get back to business, especially if the archives are off-site. Virtually all businesses have a messaging infrastructure to connect workers and enable the processes of the business. In e-commerce, employees may require email to close sales and to manage accounts. Having these vital components safely archived can allow your business to get back on its feet quickly in the event of a disaster. Also, if an employee leaves the company, the new employee who picks up the work can quickly access emails vital to the position and carry on without an interruption in continuity.
Every email saved takes up space on the server. As these emails build up, they require resources that can bog down the rest of your system. By archiving the older emails, you can help ensure optimum performance from your system. The emails are still available for searching and recovery, but they are no longer in the way of your current messages.
Archiving your emails is very important to protecting a business, your business. If you need to produce evidence to protect yourself in a lawsuit, or to prove that you are the one who designed the latest “high-tech widget” first, you will want to be able to get to those critical, if aged emails fast. It can take a tech week to months to track down a handful of emails and their electronic trails. You don’t have to, or need to, expend those kinds of man-hours.