Email archiving involves long-term storage and recovery of incoming and outgoing email messages. The choice of which messages to keep, how long to keep them and where to store these messages are all part of the organisation’s overall records retention and regulatory compliance policies. Archived email messages and attachments must be searchable and recoverable to meet the daily needs of email users, as well as the more demanding needs of compliance auditors and legal electronic discovery (e-discovery).
Whether you’re a small shop looking to improve existing processes or a large organisation taking the time to re-evaluate everyday activities, here are five points you should adopt in your organisation:
1. Review archival and retention policies regularly
How often you should review the policy varies depending on the size of your business and its industry. For example, a small business that isn’t governed by lengthy retention requirements may adopt a short-term email retention policy.
For larger Exchange organisations, a frequent review is recommended. The review not only reinforces the policy for Exchange administrators, it also gives companies an opportunity to consider industry changes that might affect retention, such as upcoming legislation. Companies can also re-evaluate infrastructure issues such as storage resources and backup/disaster recovery (DR) planning.
2. Separate archival and DR storage
Generally, data archives are one of the lowest priorities in DR. So archival data is typically backed up to inexpensive high-volume storage (tape or optical media) instead of online disk storage. If disaster strikes, the emphasis should be on restoring Exchange servers and their local message storage. Administrators should focus on archival restoration later in the recovery process. This approach lowers the cost of backup storage and helps speed the recovery of the most urgent corporate resources.
3. Centralise email storage
Years ago, Exchange servers typically existed at every site. And this type of distributed deployment made archiving difficult. Administrators are doing a better job of keeping track of where archive data is stored. – by consolidating Exchange servers and storage to ease data retention and management.
4. Outsource email and archival tasks
Problems with archiving and retention often stem from lack of attention from overworked administrators. This is especially the case in smaller organisations where administrators already assume a wide range of responsibilities. One way to address this issue is to outsource email archiving.
5. Maintain older readable versions of archival data
Technology refreshes can render older data formats unreadable and inaccessible. The challenge is that overworked administrators are hard-pressed to refresh existing archives to new formats or platforms. This can cause serious problems when a compliance audit or discovery request arrives. It’s a good practice to incorporate an archival refresh into the technology-refresh process while retaining an older version of the data for prospective requestors.
If you’re looking to update your existing business email system or need to create one call us on 01376 653115 or email us and a member of staff will be able to assist you.