At Exclaimer, we understand how important email archiving is in modern business. Organizations don’t always remember that email archiving is more than just email storage for the sake of record keeping and compliance.
Following our 17 Email Signature DOs and DON’Ts series, we have decided to do one focusing on email archiving. Also, check out our introduction to email archiving, why it is important and how it benefits your business.
1. DO understand the ‘true’ meaning of email archiving
An email archive is a repository generally kept in a non-productive environment to securely preserve emails for compliance and operational purposes. A ‘true’ email archiving system automatically extracts message contents and attachments from incoming/outgoing emails and after indexing, it stores them in read-only format. This ensures that archived records are maintained in their original state.
2. DON’T confuse ‘archiving’ with backup’
Backups are intended to save current data against the event of failure or disaster whilst archives protect data so that it can be accessed when needed. Email archiving systems provide advanced search and retrieval functions. These allow users to track down email messages in a timely and cost effective manner.
3. DON’T underestimate the power of corporate email
Email provides organizations with a fast medium of conveying business correspondence such as purchase orders, quotations and sales transactions, in virtually any geographical area with the least physical effort possible. The information being passed through this electronic correspondence constitutes a record.
46% of email users spend more than two hours each day doing something in their mailbox while as much as 75% of a company’s intellectual property is contained within email and messaging systems. So, it is important for you to keep a record of everything that goes out on behalf of your organization.
4. DON’T use PSTs
PST files have a reputation for getting easily lost or corrupted and cannot be centrally searched or managed by an IT administrator. Also, if you put PST files on a network share, you’ll run into performance problems and Microsoft won’t support you.
There is also the fact that Outlook functionality such as search won’t work across multiple PSTs, so there is a major risk of whole email histories getting easily lost.
5. DON’T wait until the Exchange store gets too big
As Exchange stores get bigger, their performance degrades, becoming harder to manage. Often, administrators have to wait until Exchange breaks down, impose mailbox limits on users or tell users to move emails to unmanaged PST files.
Without an archiving solution in place, you can’t set reasonable mailbox limits or offer users high speed search access to every mail that is sent and received.
6. DO develop an enterprise-wide policy
Make sure that all employees know that they have to save and store even the most unimportant communications. You never know when an email may become important in the future or written confirmation/proof might be highly valued.
That way, when an important email is needed, you’ll have the tools you need to track down and retrieve whatever is requested.
7. DON’T just rely on Microsoft Exchange
Your Microsoft Exchange store is not designed to keep your entire email history and is not built for fast searching. It works best when the amount of emails stored are small, but this is often not the case in modern business.
Other factors to mention are that Exchange won’t improve business intelligence, system performance, user experience or overall costs, especially since you need to have Enterprise CALs to use it.
8. DON’T try and do it all yourself
If you lack the staff resources or the technical expertise to create an email archiving solution, then don’t attempt to do things yourself. You could inadvertently cause catastrophic damage to your servers or lose information that you need.
If you don’t have the resources, a third-party solution is worth the investment so you can determine what you need to improve, change or discard.
9. DON’T leave it until the last minute
Companies often discover their need for an email archiving solution when their servers fill up beyond their natural capacity. Email serves as an important corporate record so companies can’t afford to just blanket delete email data.
Email archiving solutions allow companies to keep their old email data and manage it in a better way. They also provide masses of extra storage space so the problem never comes up again.
10. DO be prepared for any legal matters
It is always possible that a lawsuit could be taken against your company and email often contains vital evidence for modern court cases. If you ignore archiving, you could find yourself with huge legal bills mounting up while you go through old data just trying to find one email.
In Murphy Oil USA vs. Flour Daniel, the defendant was ordered to restore and print the emails contained in 93 tape backups and to absorb the total costs involved to perform this operation which amounted to $6.2 million. They had no email archiving system in place.
11. DO ensure that you are compliant
Many organizations in industries such as healthcare are now required by law to maintain a tamper proof email archive. There are many recent high profile examples of legal cases and government enquires that placed a heavy reliance on email evidence. That evidence was most likely obtained from an email archive.
Email archiving solves this problem by automatically storing all email in a compliant format and ensures that you don’t run the risk of severe fines.
12. DON’T make it hard to use
If a user needs to look at a past email, the last thing that they want is to have to go through an archiving system that they do not understand and is not for someone who isn’t tech-savvy.
Enact a system where they can search on words, like a search engine, but also search for specific addresses, time periods or a combination of them all.
13. DO compliment archiving with your CRM system
An email archive can be a great compliment to a well configured CRM system. It will augment the system and store any automated emails that it delivers including outgoing emails.
If you don’t have a business grade CRM, an email archive can be priceless to a team leader by providing configurable search access across different users email and archive stores, as well as giving the ability to send emails to different stores based on user attributes.
14. DO give yourself organizational insight
Is a member of staff being bullying by someone over email? Are your customer relationships well managed? Is someone defrauding your business? People often assume that they can do anything they like over email and that it is impossible to monitor.
A structured and easily searchable archive of all emails can let you know if any of your employees are engaging in undesirable activities that could compromise your organization or might be illegal. There is much you can learn from your company’s communications if you have the tools to process the data.
15. DO use a database made just for archiving
Archives have some rare properties: they grow very large, very fast; they need special ‘write-once’ permissions; they need hyper-rapid ‘read’ access and more.
By building it to suit those very specific demands, the archiver has more power, more reliability and maximum scalability, instead of a generic, high-maintenance database.
16. DON’T forget about the ‘Green’ benefits
The reduction of paper copies for document storage provides a significant reduction in deforestation as the cost of doing business isn’t reliant upon purchasing reams of paper. The eco-friendly aspects of modern technology are now more critically evaluated as companies ascertain their carbon footprint.
Major corporations across the globe are constantly searching for ways to not only reduce costs, but doing it in such a way as minimizing the negative impact on the environment.
17. DON’T worry!
Email archiving all email communication for your company sounds like a daunting task to carry out but it doesn’t have to be. It is much easier to do than you think and there is less IT work than you would expect.