For most companies, email is an essential part of daily workflow and communications. However, many companies are unaware of the importance of archiving their emails and having a proper email retention strategy.
Having a proper email retention strategy is paramount for privacy and data compliance, as well as to safeguard your system from unavailability of the Email Service. But exactly is Email Archiving and what it can do for your organization?
What is email archiving?
Email archiving is a solution designed to store a company's emails in their original state for easy retrieval during everyday business operations. Email archives are also used to protect a company in the event of litigation and to keep it in line with industry compliance standards. Email Archiving can be, though, more than this: It works as a backup to the daily storage in the Email Servers, and works as an easy-to-grab alternative to long-term archiving. Sophisticated Archiving solutions enable users to perform emergency email operations (such as replying to an email) in case of temporary failure of the Email Service.
What problems does email archiving resolve?
It's essential for businesses to archive their emails. If they don't have a proper archiving system in place, companies can experience several issues, including the following:
- Companies may not be able to send or receive new emails due to the sheer volume of existing emails, not just slowing down the email server, but also reaching the contracted volume quotas.
- Email Servers, particularly the Cloud-based, can, like any servers, have downtime and service unavailability. From a customer's perspective, it is not possible to determine for how long will that downtime take and, as important, if data was lost due to that incident. There have been well-known incidents with the two largest providers, Office 365 (Microsoft) and Google Workspace, both related to service unavailability and missing email messages.
- Companies can have inadequate email records that can be practically useless in the event of litigation or any other legal issue; It is mandatory, for instance for the GDPR, to have proper, untampered records, for as much as 10 years! And these include email messages, which have legal value in some circumstances.
An effective archiving system can save companies the hassle of sifting through hundreds or even thousands of emails if a vital email is accidentally deleted and prepare a company for any potential eDiscovery requests.
Benefits of email archiving
Aside from enabling end-users and employees to quickly access email messages, an email archiving system makes it easier to conserve server speed and meet quotas while preserving valuable information. Other benefits of email archiving are:
- Instant visibility on all emails ever sent or received;
- Emergency mailboxes for Business Continuity;
- From a financial perspective, a more favourable approach to storage space and limits;
- Efficient search functionality to look through the content of emails and attachment files;
- Storage Geographical and system redundancy, in relation to Email Servers.
- Configurable and comfortable backup and restore functionalities.
Why is it important for companies to archive emails?
Here are a couple of reasons for businesses to invest in an email archiving system:
Storage managementEvery day, a company's email server is filled with new emails. However, digital volume slows down its server's speed and performance, especially if the employees don't delete their emails. An email archiving system regulates this problem by storing emails in a safe place. An email can still be deleted, but the copies will be preserved within the archiving system.
LitigationLitigation requires an email correspondence procurement, often up to several years back. With an email archiving solution, the company can procure emails with a single click, saving them time and effort of going through thousands of old emails.
Employee oversightIf employees can decide which emails to keep and which to delete, the company can find itself in a lot of trouble. Employees can delete important information or clog up the server, which can be prevented with an email archiving solution.
IT productivityIT administrators usually don't have free time to manage their email storage. Email archiving saves their time, freeing them up to do more important things for the company.
It should also be mentioned that, in 2006, a law was passed mandating data archiving. Therefore, email archiving is not only important and valuable but a legal necessity. When we consider the recent issues of Office 365, such as problems with breaching and failing in compliance, and even the scandal with Microsoft's processing of authentication requests, it makes it crucial to have an archiving system autonomous from the email server. One that is more reliable and that also works as a backup system.