Data archiving, also known as EIA (Enterprise Information Archiving), is the process of creating long-term archives of all organizational data. Data is archived for various reasons, including compliance requirements, lawsuit management, storage reduction, business intelligence and information governance. Data archiving is a vital part of record management, which is preferable for organizations as a reference tool and is also a legal obligation in many cases. Companies see the many benefits that archiving offers aside from compliance obligations, so let’s explore further.
What is Data Archiving?
Data archiving services help businesses and organizations secure data for long-term retention and storage. A strategic approach to data archiving will typically include security protocols, the ability to access data as needed, the amount of data required to be stored and/or processed, and the ability to protect the integrity of the data. Many years ago, when the need for electronic data retention first became a legal requirement, it was only related to emails, which had to be kept alongside paper records for around five years. However, in time, and as electronic communication grew exponentially, data archiving was required for many other forms of electronic communication.
Today there is both a strategic and legal motivation for keeping accessible and functional archives of electronic communication in the following forms:
- Email (Including attachments)
- Social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram et al.)
- Internal and external collaborative team platforms (Teams, Zoom, Slack, Meet etc.)
- Instant messaging platforms (e.g., WhatsApp, Telegram)
- Mobile calls, voicemail and text messages
- Websites (Including browsing, company websites)
Top Benefits of Data Archiving
Data archiving has many benefits for organizations. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Compliance Requirements for Data Archiving
The original motivation for data archiving was to meet the legal requirement related to compliance with keeping data records. If your business is within an industry that is regulated, you will need to keep comprehensive records of all your communications to remain operating legally. There are no shortcuts here, and the more strict the regulations in your industry, the more often you’ll be checked for compliance. Therefore, remaining compliant is a benefit as you get to keep operating and operate in good faith by following the rules. Organizations need to ensure that they follow the specific archiving regulations related to their industry. All industries differ in their requirements. The differences can relate to the amount of time to keep records, the types of records that must be saved, and sometimes the formats required for archiving.
Another huge benefit of keeping archived messages and data records is to have a centralized electronic reference of communications and data that might be needed for legal matters. Employee disputes, discrimination claims, evidence of fraud or embezzlement, and many other legal issues will almost certainly require referencing previous bits of data and communication. Data archiving systems are extremely helpful in electronic discovery, especially in the Early Case Assessment. This is when vast sets of data are searched, reviewed and presented to lawyers to determine the organization’s next legal move. Electronic discovery, or e-discovery, is becoming more critical and complicated as the amount of electronic messaging increases. Unfortunately, internal IT and legal teams are also not always trained to handle e-discovery in the way it needs to be addressed, which creates the need for outsourced data archiving solutions. More of which shortly.
Shedding The Load And Increasing Productivity
It is estimated that approximately 75% of all intellectual property is embedded in emails and messaging platforms. This valuable data must be protected and cannot be deleted. However, it does take up a tremendous amount of space on internal servers, which can slow everything down. Therefore, archiving is the only way to keep the data safe and relieve the servers of the massive load. Data is held either on off-site servers or in the cloud, keeping it safe and separate from the current workflow. As a result, employees can work faster, and businesses can have the peace of mind that their data and messages are safely stored.
Dark Data and Employee Activity
More and more discoverable data is defined as “dark data.” It is unstructured data from non-traditional data sources like mobile devices, social media channels, and video and audio files. And in 2020, that kind of data accounts for 27% of all data generated. Dark data needs to be archived and stored, but importantly, also gathered and organized. Unfortunately, it is complicated to do this, and therefore it is hard to control and use it effectively, if need be. Therefore, professional data archiving services are often required, especially for data of this nature. Another feature and benefit of data archiving are tracking employee activity. This is not only for legal and internal issues such as dismissal and disciplinaries but also general observance of behavior. Organizations must remember that employees access much of a company’s data from their personal devices and often also from other internet connections. They are also using company devices from home. This means that tracking how they interact with company data and hardware becomes more critical and complex!
Is Data Archiving the same as Backing Up Data?
Technically, data archiving is a different strategy than simply having a backup and recovery plan. Data archives serve as repositories for information that may not be required on a regular basis, but perhaps are required to be maintained for a certain period of time for compliance, regulatory, or tax purposes. In addition, data archives can be particularly important to firms who require the ability to search across many files, across a long range of time. A good example would be a law firm that requires case histories to be maintained for a specific practice area. This type of data must be organized and archived in such a way that it can be used as a reference tool for legal research for the firm. The importance of data integrity is more critical for archives, than for backups, since this type of data is more susceptible to data corruption over time. Various types of data archiving protocols and software can be utilized depending upon the business’ needs.
Choosing The Right Message and Data Archiving Solution
You don’t want to cut corners when it comes to legal, moral, or functional obligations and data archiving. That’s why it’s important to choose a technology solutions provider that can assist you in making the right decision and can even help with the complex implementation process. Conscious Networks provide holistic solutions that seamlessly integrate with your business processes and technology while ensuring compliance and safety. Contact Conscious Networks today for a free consultation.