With 124.5 billion business emails being sent every day and the average office worker receiving 121 emails every day, storing all email content is unfeasible. With a further 200 billion emails believed to be spam, there is far too much email being stored on servers. This is where email archiving comes in.
What is Email Archiving?
Email archiving is the process of preserving and making searchable all email content to/from an individual. An email archive captures a copy of the correspondence in the email account itself or during transport. An archive is typically stored using on-premise software and servers, in a cloud environment or in a hybrid version combining both services.
The Business Benefits of Email Archiving
It’s important that businesses deliver a good email service for their users, but the amount of emails stored puts pressure on tight budgets and restricted storage capacities. That’s why it’s vital that companies should turn to email archiving solutions to reduce the size of email storage required, which drives down costs of buying new hardware.
Let’s look at the top reasons why businesses need an email archiving system.
1. Storage Management
Email servers are constantly being filled, which slows down the speed and performance of the server, especially if certain employees refuse to delete emails. Email archiving solves storage issues by placing all email messages in a safe place. Deleted emails are copied and stored in the archive for retrieval later if required.
2. Eliminates PST Files
Saving your archive on PST files puts the data at risk from corruption or loss, takes up a huge amount of storage and is difficult to search through. PST files can be imported into the archive for easy access and retrieval, so you never have to use those files again.
Litigation usually requires the procurement of email correspondence, with some needing information from several years ago. An email archive offers great litigation support, as it can retrieve past emails with just a few clicks, so you don’t have to sit and go through thousands of archived messages.
4. Regulatory compliance
Every industry is subject to regulatory compliance in relation to the storage and retention of emails. Email archiving software ensures you comply with all of them.
5. End-user Oversight
Employees cannot dictate which emails to delete and which to keep, as they could delete essential information or clog up the server. An email archiving solution stops potential end-user oversight.
6. Knowledge Management
Most in-house communication is likely to take place over email, giving you a gateway to a complete library of knowledge about the company. Having an archive ensures you have quick access to employee and client communications.
An eDiscovery request takes time and resources from other important tasks if you don’t use an email archive. You can tag and comment on specific emails in an archive, making them easier to access for legal counsels.
8. IT Productivity
Email archiving stops IT professionals wasting their time on mail server storage issues. The archive takes care of the problem for them, allowing them to work on creating bigger and better things for the business.
9. Legal Holds
With a legal hold in place, you can retain emails for longer than a standard retention period. An archive allows you to place legal holds on emails that relate to a litigation suit – it will also capture real-time emails that relate to current litigation.
10. Businesses Continuity and Disaster Recovery
An archive can protect all valuable emails from corruption, in case a major disaster takes place. Whether a laptop is stolen, or the entire system is hacked, emails are protected. In the event of a disaster which takes down an entire system, recent emails can be accessed to ensure you get back to work faster.
An admin of the archive can look at who is deleting, browsing or changing specific emails. An email archiving solution allows you to monitor certain activities and behaviours.
12. Monitoring Email Policies
With an email archive, you can monitor employees’ use of emails to ensure policies are being carried out. If the company has a code of conduct or policy against sharing sensitive information, then an email archive can provide the tools needed to redact information from sensitive documents.
An archive offers users a tamper-proof search and retrieve solution, that even the IT department couldn’t alter. It also contains an action log which records who viewed what and when.
14. Freedom of Information Requests
If your company is required to respond to freedom of information requests (FOIs), an archive enables you to respond to requests quickly.
15. Protect Your IP
There’s a possibility that emails contain your intellectual property which employees are unaware of. Without an email archive, you could lose valuable IP through accidental deletion. An email archive keeps IP safe and verifies that information in emails belongs to the company and not the individual who sent or received it.
16. Email Archiving Saves You Money
With a streamlined process for handling emails, responding to FOI requests and addressing any storage issues, you can save money with one excellent solution.
Email Archiving FAQ
Here are a few of the frequently asked questions about email archiving.
Which legal requirements exist regarding email archiving?
In the digital age, the move from paper to electronic formats has created confusion when it comes to regulations regarding email storage. Some companies make the mistake of underestimating the importance of virtual documents and deleting them when they aren’t needed. Deleting those documents can leave your organisation in big trouble, leading to hefty fines or criminal proceedings. This is because regulations dictate that professional emails containing commercial or legal information must be stored securely for a certain amount of time.
The United Kingdom has regulations in place that require businesses to keep electronic records of all business data, including emails. UK email archiving laws require businesses to keep copies of emails for a specific period of time. Email retention laws that businesses comply with include the Freedom of Information Act, the Companies Act 2006 and the Data Protection Act.
In the EU, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into law in May 2018, meaning every organisation that handles the data of EU citizens falls under the scrutiny of GDPR. The regulations ensure that an individual’s data is more secure than ever and they have full control over how it’s used. Any business that doesn’t comply with these regulations could face a €20 million (£17 million) or 4% of the company’s global revenue – whichever is highest.
Email archiving is a legal necessity and not just a convenience. Using adequate archiving methods for storing all digital documents, ensures emails are stored in full compliance with regulations. Email archiving is an optimal solution that makes it easier to comply with all legal archiving requirements and keeps digital documentation safe.
How long do emails have to be archived?
The length of time an email should be kept is down to email retention law. Principle 5 of the UK Data Protection Act stipulates: “Personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes”. The exact retention period isn’t specified, but companies need to understand certain things when creating their own retention policy. If you’re a private company, the retention period needs to be a minimum of three years. For medical companies, data must be retained for a minimum of 40 years for all examination records. Even if you’re sure that your company is following email retention policies, you should check with a legal representative to ensure everything is being done correctly.
Who is responsible for ensuring compliance?
Essentially, the archiving of all emails of a commercial and/or legal nature is a task for all businesses in the UK. Depending on the industry, some companies will have more email retention policies to adhere to than others. It’s important to check which regulations are of relevance to your company.
What is the difference between an archive and a backup?
A backup is simply a copy of data, which can be used to restore the original copy if data is lost. Data loss can easily happen because of hardware failure, natural disaster or simple human error. An email backup ensures you’re fully prepared for any worst-case scenario.
An archive is a collection of records which is stored on a long-term basis and can be accessed when information is required. Because archives contain data that isn’t currently being used, they can free up space elsewhere, making your current storage systems faster. Essentially, an archive holds all original data that has been removed from its original location.