Emails are at the heart of business to business communications and transactions. Very often, email will contain sensitive, client data along with personally identifiable information. This information should be secured and stored, just as you would with paper records. Indeed, there will sometimes be a requirement to be able to search and evidence all e-mail pertaining to a particular case or incident, even many years after the event.
Therefore, it’s very important to understand the difference between ‘backup’ and ‘archive’ systems, for email.
Data (email) backup, is the process of copying target files and folders, normally to a separate storage area or magnetic tape, for the purpose of being able to restore them in case of data loss or equipment failure. Backups are taken at particular points in time, often overnight or, on more modern systems, several times throughout the day. Ideally your backup system will be automated and largely independent of human intervention (e.g. the changing physical tapes), storing the backed up data in a geographically diverse, and secure, location.
Email Archiving is the act of preserving and making searchable all email to/from an individual and organisation.
Archiving systems can be run in house, or in the Cloud. Typically, a good Cloud system is more scalable and flexible and is often bundled with other email services such as security and encryption.
The best Cloud email security and archiving systems, provide secure and scalable solutions to meet growing information management challenges, including adherence to data retention requirements to support legal discovery and regulatory compliance. Cutting the cost complexity of on-premise legacy archives, your Cloud system should ensure that litigation hold and compliance needs are supported by granular email retention policies and near real-time search. The archive should be encrypted and tamper-resistant, providing evidential-quality data for legal and regulatory purposes.
E-discovery (the process in which electronic data is sought, located, secured, and searched with the intent of using it as evidence in a civil or criminal legal case) can be performed at organisational level, or by an individual user themselves, using Outlook, Mac, a web portal or even a smart-phone or tablet.
A good email archive and discovery platform, means information can be found more quickly and reliably, boosting productivity and improving decision making.
What’s best, for you?
Well, both, actually. An archive system does not necessarily negate the need for a backup system. Backups are still required, in order to properly recover from equipment failure, for example. Good backup and archive systems should be used in tandem to provide a blended approach to email retention challenges.
The volume of email, and the size of emails and attachments, has increased dramatically in recent years. With that trend set to continue, the need for a scalable archive system is ever more important.
As with any IT system, making it user-friendly is key to ensuring user adoption. By removing the onus of mailbox management from the end user and allowing them to keep every email they send and receive, packaged alongside best-of-breed email security including end-to-end encryption, self-service quarantine and anti-phishing technology, we achieve rapid adoption rates.