How Does Email Archiving Work?
Email is likely a critical communication channel for your business, both internally and externally. However, you may have concerns about security, accessibility, and storage. The best solution to address all of these is email archiving. In this post, we’ll explain what it is, how it works, and why it should be part of your email system.
What Is Email Archiving?
Email archiving is the practice of preserving these communications through cloud-based storage. It enables users to index, search, and retrieve old emails.
Why Would an Organization Archive Emails?
There are several business reasons to deploy an archiving solution, including:
- Business continuity and disaster recovery
- Internal audits, investigations, and eDiscovery for litigation (especially true for highly regulated industries)
- Regulatory compliance mandates
- Following security best practices
- Record management
- Protection of intellectual property (IP)
- Minimizing the need to increase bandwidth while retaining the data
Your need to archive may fall into multiple categories. It delivers benefits that can help you in various ways, from compliance requirements to cost savings.
How Does the Archiving Process Work?
The email archiving process captures 100% of inbound and outbound emails. The system then places these in a secured, cloud environment that’s accessible.
It’s not the same as email backup. The difference is that a backup only backs up data for a limited time period to restore if necessary. Simply backing up your email doesn’t consider compliance requirements, nor does it help prevent data loss.
If you’re currently only using a backup approach, you should be aware of its limitations. It’s also important to understand if it can or cannot deliver on all the business reasons you have for preserving email.
What Are the Benefits of Email Archiving?
The benefits of email archiving translate into business value. They include:
Meeting Regulatory Compliance
Certain industries have mandates regarding email communication if it contains confidential information. One of the most common is HIPAA, which regulates healthcare information. Those in this sector can achieve compliance by archiving.
The archive keeps the data secure and provides a virtual paper trail should an audit occur. Compliance isn’t an option; it’s mandatory. By leveraging an archiving solution, you can also meet the regulations for FRCP, SOX, FINRA, GLB, NYSE, NASD, SEC, and others.
Even the smallest companies generate thousands of emails. They often contain vital information, so retaining them is appropriate and may even be required. However, keeping them on your email server isn’t sustainable. You’ll quickly see your bandwidth diminish, which could include more costs.
An archive moves those emails to the cloud and provides you with the ability to search them. The data is secure due to encryption, and you can find what you need in minutes, not hours.
Achieving a True Backup for Business Continuity
As noted, an email backup falls short of restoration. In this model, the Office 365 cloud houses the email files; however, this storage alone doesn’t preserve data for the long term. The archiving integration builds on top of what you have to create a permanent place for the emails to reside. You don’t have to do anything extra; it’s automatic.
Emails can often contain IP. In fact, Microsoft reported that as much as 75 percent of company emails include IP. While you may not notice this because the IP is inherent to you, it could become an area of risk. Even the most minor trade secrets need protection. You’ll have more control over the content of these emails with archiving. It provides a repository where data loss isn’t a threat.
Managing Legal Discovery
If your company is in the middle of litigation, there will likely be eDiscovery requests regarding email. Without an archive, this will be an arduous task. An archive enables you to search, filter, and find what you need, so you don’t waste time and resources.
Recovering Deleted Emails
Deleting emails is a normal function. Most of the time, there’s no cause for concern. However, sometimes a user can inadvertently or purposely delete something that’s important or includes confidential information. Unfortunately, some of your employees may be engaging in risky behavior. A backup is a smart move to mitigate any fallout from such actions.
What Archiving Features Do You Need?
Before you choose an archiving solution, here are the features you should prioritize:
- Security: This is at the top of the list. Find out how the system safeguards data with encryption (both while in transit and at rest) and how it meets compliance requirements regarding data security.
- Scalability: You don’t want to have limits on storage capacity. Be sure it can meet your needs today and tomorrow.
- Indexing of all file types: Not all archiving products include all file types or attachments. Ask about what it can index to ensure you’re covered.
- Constant email capture: Be sure the solution captures and stores all sent and received emails.
- Search functionality: In most cases, if you need to access your email archive, it’s because you’re looking for specific information tied to litigation, a breach, or an audit. Select a product that makes searching easy with tagging, filtering, advanced search, and categorization.
- Exporting: Once you find the emails you need, you’ll want to be able to export them for the archive. Make sure this is possible, and that you have multiple format choices.
- Integration: The standard Office 365 archiving doesn’t offer you complete protection. You’ll need a specific tool that meets all your needs. This will typically require an integration, so be sure that there are no compatibility issues while comparing options.
- Easy set-up: You shouldn’t have to jump through hoops to add this to your email. It should be simple to implement and not require additional licenses.
Learn More About Email Archiving
Email archiving is a smart decision for any business. It elevates your security, helps you meet compliance, protects your IP, and ensures access when you need it. Learn more about why you should add it to your email today by taking a tour of the Intermedia Email Archiving solution.