The benefits of an email archiving solution

/ IT Security Services
September 21st, 2015

benefits of email archiving

There are typically three ways in which businesses can archive their email; save absolutely everything, rely on users to archive emails or utilise an email archiving solution.

With 269,000,000,000 (yes, that’s billion!) emails being sent and received every day, storing every single one is not really feasible. And with 200 billion of those being SPAM, storing each one is unnecessary, only serving to increase the cost and length of the e-discovery processes.

Neither is it reliable to depend on users to archive their own emails. If they forget or were unaware what they needed to archive, your business has to pay the price if the email is needed for litigation or audit purposes. An email archiving solution, on the other hand, automatically archives, stores and preserves emails for you.

How can your business benefit from email archiving?

1. Reduced storage requirements

Archiving solutions typically use two different techniques to reduce the amount of storage required, neither of which will affect end-users. Advanced compression technologies compress each email and its attachments before archiving, saving 50% or more in overall storage requirements. De-duplication, also known as single instance storage, ensures that the archiving solution only stores one copy of each message or attachment.

2. Prevents users from losing data

Users can easily delete important emails, accidentally or maliciously, and the majority often delete emails between backups, and at times the entire inbox upon leaving the company, which means your business is at risk of losing important data. An email archiving solution can eliminate these risks, by automatically storing and preserving all emails.

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3. Increased server performance

Moving emails out of a live environment will help to greatly improve the performance of your email server. Emails can be deleted from the mail server, according to rules-based processes, once they have been archived and stored.

4. Simplified backup and restore

Reducing the email server’s data load allows it to be backed up faster and more simply. Users can also restore emails from the archive to their inbox with a single click, freeing up your IT engineers from having to go through the time-consuming process of recovering them from a backup.

5. Eliminates mailbox quotas

An email archiving solution removes the need to use mailbox quotas as a way to limit the use of a mail server’s storage capacity.

6. Accelerates search capabilities

Most archiving solutions will provide a basic search and retrieval function for data that has been stored and retained. Some solutions will go further and allow users to search by email address, to/from address, attachment name, words within documents, plus more, drastically cutting down the time it takes to locate an email.

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7. Accounts for all users

With an archiving solution, you don’t have to rely on users adhering to email retention guidelines. All emails will be automatically stored, archived and preserved.

8. Eliminates PST files

Individual PST files are prone to data corruption or loss, have a huge impact on storage and can be difficult to search through, due to their size and number. With an email archiving solution you can import all historical PST files into the solution, which you can then search with ease.

9. Helps ensure compliance

Many sectors have specific rules and regulations regarding data retention, and an email archiving solutions help ensure you remain compliant. All business must be able to pull back emails on demand for the purpose of litigation or auditing.

10. Lowers costs

Email archiving solutions will typically work effectively on cheap storage, whereas most email server systems require faster, more expensive disks and technologies. The majority of companies will see their data usage grow every year, which will equate to increased storage costs and increased storage management costs.

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11. Removes human error

User-driven retention relies on users managing retention with predetermined tags and rules, for specified time periods. This method of retention is prone to user error because you rely on users to consistently adhere to and follow the guidelines. Even with constant policing, it would be easy for a user to “forget” the guidelines, or intentionally ignore them.

12. Typically tamper-proof

While users can search and retrieve emails from the archive, most solutions are tamper-proof – an essential feature for compliance. Not even the IT department will be able to alter or remove emails from the archive. The solution should also have a tamper-proof log which records who reads what in the archive and when they read it. All emails should also be digitally signed to allow them to be used as evidence in a court of law.

There are many types and forms of email archiving solutions available. Some will go beyond the benefits listed here but others may not be as effective. It’s important to carefully research available solutions, both internal or cloud-based, so you can find the right one.

An email archiving solution is critical for your business, and not just so you can comply with regulations. A huge amount of business-critical information is on the IT systems. Some of it may exist solely in email so it’s vital that you don’t lose this.

Unsure how long to save your email for? Check out our handy introduction to email archiving.