Email has become the primary channel of communication in business today. Almost 97 percent of all business communication is via email as it provides organizations with a fast medium of conveying business correspondence in virtually any geographical area with minimal physical effort. A large part of a business’s critical information can be found in its email. And since emails have become the electronic substitute for legal business documentation, the information being passed through electronic correspondence constitutes a record.
Meaning of Email Archiving
As all electronic correspondence needs to be maintained for a minimum period of time, according to statute requirements, it becomes necessary to archive email. An email archive is simply a repository that is kept in a non-productive environment to provide a secure preservation of email for compliance and operational purposes. An email archiving system automatically extracts message contents and attachments from all emails and stores them in a read-only format, thereby ensuring that the archived records are maintained in the original state.
Need for Email Archiving
There are predominantly four reasons for an organization to archive its email:
The major driver behind the increase in demand for email archiving is the new regulatory environment. Stringent controls and severe penalties are forcing organizations to address regulatory compliance more seriously. With a policy-driven archiving system in place, email can be checked for compliance with regulations and then retained for the appropriate amount of time based on email content. These solutions can also reduce the risk of inappropriate content being exchanged as employees can be alerted when an email doesn’t comply with company policy.
In the course of regular business activities, nearly all companies become implicated in lawsuits, and the issue of electronic search and discovery crops up. The company that receives the discovery request is obliged to search its records and submit all relevant information in a timely manner. Litigation support information needs to be accurate, complete and in its original state, and any organization that fails to submit the information requested in legal discovery can be found guilty of “spoilage.” This has resulted in an increase in the frequency and demand of electronic discovery.
The escalation in storage requirements is attributed to the increase in the use of email, and nearly every IT department has struggled with the issue of storage management. Compliance regulations have further contributed to the increased demand for storage. The increase in email usage and the growth in email size have affected the efficiency, reliability and speed of message servers. An email archiving solution can dramatically improve the efficiency of messaging servers and make management processes such as backups easier.
An organization’s email system is a corporate knowledge repository as it contains a vast quantity of useful email information that is vital to a business. Almost 60 percent of critical business information is stored in email and other electronic messaging tools. Therefore maintaining an archive that allows users to access and search all previous email can greatly enhance productivity. In email archiving, IT and end users are better enabled to manage the knowledge base contained in the company’s email archive.
An email archiving system allows appropriate search and discovery capabilities and saves on effort and expense on the part of the entire organization. It is also difficult to limit searches for appropriate data before presenting to litigators, creating opportunities for unnecessary data to be exposed. The consequences can be high for organizations that do not proactively manage email usage and archiving.