How to Use Email Archiving to Protect Your Business Data

An image of an open filing cabinet with multiple files inside. A red folder protrudes from the draw.
Email archiving solutions protect corporate data for auditing.
SOURCE: TG Media Library

Searching for emails containing important business information, especially during an audit, is a headache. You should avoid this time-consuming activity, especially if you have hundreds of employees and email accounts. Thankfully, this is where email archiving can save the day!

Email archiving is where you move redundant emails to a different storage location. It provides long-term retention and indexed access. It’s a widespread practice that allows you to protect business data and quickly find critical information. 

In this article, I’ll explain what email archiving is and why it’s different from email backup. Also, I’ll walk you through the two types of email archiving. We’ll discuss the benefits and considerations you need to consider before adding an email archiving solution to your business.

First, let’s learn what email archiving is.

What Is Email Archiving?

Email archiving is the process of collecting, preserving, and protecting emails and associated data. As a result, this allows you to meet obligatory or regulatory requirements in your sector. 

Readily available email archiving solutions or in-house processes offload email data to a different database. This can help you create tamper-proof and immutable copies of every email instance sent or received across your company. You effectively stop end users from altering compromising correspondence if an issue is raised.

Moreover, offloading inactive or old email data from your production database to a separate one improves your primary database’s performance.

An image of a computer performing data archiving and uploading it to multiple clouds.
Cloud-based data archiving solutions rule the world!
SOURCE: TG Media Archive

Almost all companies and businesses—like those in the healthcare, education, pharmaceuticals, and government sectors—archive their data to meet mandated regulations. Essentially, this helps reduce the potential for criminal activity to occur in public entities. 

The terms “archiving” and “backups” are often used interchangeably. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between both these processes.

Email Archiving vs Email Backup

Both email archiving and email backup involve storing data. However, they’re different processes, and they have different purposes. Let’s look at some major differences between them.

Email archiving versus email backup.

Now, let’s look at the differences between the two major types of email archiving; on-premise vs cloud.

On-Premise vs Cloud Email Archiving

The major difference between on-premise and cloud-based email archiving solutions is the location of the stored data. As the name suggests, on-premise solutions store the archived data on-premise. The company sets up a dedicated storage server or database to capture the data. This self-contained approach allows you to secure data and prevent others from managing it. That said, this solution can be very costly to implement. 

An image of multiple datasets including email, config, and web data being archived.
Email archiving is essential to business performance and audit tracing activities.
SOURCE: TG Media Archive

Cloud-based solutions do the same thing as traditional solutions. However, these solutions store the data in the cloud. You can configure both on-premise and cloud solutions for indexing and scheduled backups. However, with growing cloud adoption, cheaper costs, and ease of usage, almost all modern email archiving solutions are cloud-based. These solutions auto-offload old email data after a specified duration into the dedicated storage medium. 

Now, let’s look at some of the benefits of email archiving. 

6 Benefits of Email Archiving

Email archiving has several benefits for businesses. Efficient computing and effective storage resource utilization are top of the list. In addition, it also provides you with operational continuity. On top of this, archived data protects you from several cyber attacks by serving as a backup. Key benefits include:

1. Eliminates Mailbox Quotas

An email archiving solution securely and permanently stores emails in a dedicated storage space. Consequently, this helps you manage mailbox quotas and helps cut down your operational costs.

2. Reduces Storage Needs

Email archiving can deduplicate the data. This helps you avoid redundant data storage. Thus, your data storage needs are reduced. You can also lower your organizational infrastructure and storage costs using this process.

3. Serves as an Effective Backup Solution

Email archives are an incremental backup that stores emails along with all their associated data. In essence, you can use email archiving to tackle disasters and meet business needs while complying with several governance policies.

4. Gives You Tamper-Proof Email Retention

Email archives act as a tamper-proof, permanent, and secure means of email storage. As a result, it helps maintain your company’s data integrity and ensures it’s retrievable.

5. Helps with Compliance and Regulations

Archived data can help you meet compliance and regulatory requirements. Additionally, it helps to ensure operational continuity and adds an extra layer of visibility to your business. As a result, you can help attract investors or generate new business leads. Your business is more likely to grow and be productive over the longer term.

An image of several regulatory signboards to emphasize its importance for business operations and continuity.
Compliance and regulations rule the world!
SOURCE: TG Media Archiv

6. Speeds up Retreival

Archived data is sorted and indexed before storage. This makes data retrieval faster when needed. 

Clearly, email archiving solutions offer several advantages. However, before choosing the right solution for your business, you have a few crucial things to consider. 

4 Business and Operational Aspects to Consider

Archiving solutions offer different features at varied costs. Here are the top 4 considerations before zeroing in on an email archiving solution for your business.

1. Company Size and Archive Storage Requirements 

Your business size is the most important consideration before choosing an email archiving solution. If your business is growing, you should choose a cloud-based solution that can be scaled. In addition, you’ll need to know the amount of storage you’ll need.

2. Security and Accessibility Levels Needed

Deciding on the level of accessibility and security you need for your archived data is important. On-premise email solutions give you better accessibility and controlled security. However, they can’t scale dynamically. You should segregate your data based on the level of security your company needs. Additionally, you should choose a service that allows you to store different clusters of archived data. 

3. Costs

You also need to consider costs when deciding on an email archiving solution. On-premise solutions need upfront financing. Conversely, a cloud-based solution provides you the flexibility of monthly subscription offerings.

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Compliance leads to better productivity and business growth.
SOURCE: TG Media Archive

4. Implementation and Management Overheads

The solution you choose will require implementation, maintenance, and management efforts. So, you should get a service that best suits your existing infrastructure and meets your requirements. Moreover, you should consider your ability to maintain it when needed. Several cloud-based email archiving solutions are easy to implement, require minimal management, and function in an oven-ready solution. 

Let’s look at the best practices for adding email archiving to your business.  

Best Practices for Email Archiving

Below are some best practices for you to follow and implement in your email archiving solution. These practices apply to both on-premise and cloud-based solutions. Additionally, these best practices are irrespective of the service provider you choose. 

  • Invest in a solution that is secure, scalable, and works best with your existing infrastructure
  • Perform an initial setup and maintenance cost analysis before zeroing in on a service
  • Check the solution you choose is compliant with regional regulatory requirements 
  • Consider the usability and ease of usage to ensure the service is right for you and your business
  • Check for the features you need and be ready to compromise when choosing the service 
  • Ensure the solution offers cross-platform compatibility and supports mobile access for easy management
  • Check your archived data regularly to ensure it’s stored and indexed correctly

Choosing the correct email archiving solution or service from the crowded market can be challenging. Before selecting a service, list your requirements in order of priority to pick a holistic service.

Let’s wrap up.

Final Words

Email archiving can save your email data and help you comply with several regional and national regulatory and governance bodies. In this article, we looked at email archiving, its definition, and how it differs from email backups. 

Next, we discussed the key differences between on-premise and cloud-based solutions. On-premise solutions can be costly but give you controlled security. On the other hand, cloud-based solutions are scalable and cheaper. 

Finally, we discussed several key benefits of email archiving, including the key things to consider before choosing an email archiving service. To name a few, email archiving helps to eliminate mailbox quotas and reduces storage needs. When choosing a solution, you should consider the size of your company, the level of security and accessibility you need, the costs involved, and the implementation and management overheads.

Do you have more questions about email archiving? Check out the FAQ and Resources sections below! 

FAQ

What is email data compliance? 

Email data compliance is a practice that ensures email data protection. You can achieve this through several different industries or region-specific rules and frameworks. For instance, the EU has the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that must be complied with.

What are some of the most common email-related cyberattacks? 

Often attackers use trust techniques to get the email recipient to click a link to implement an injection attack. Consequently, this allows malware attacks like spamming, phishing, and trojans to occur. In certain instances, these cyberattacks can also lead to ransomware attacks.

What is email backup?

Email backup refers to an iterative process of storing copies of crucial business or customer data in dedicated databases. Data backup solutions restore data to the last backup and continue business continuity in any disastrous events like cyberattacks. 

What are Some of the major email archiving service providers?

You can find several cloud-based or on-premise email archiving service providers that offer strong features along with tamper-proof security. Some renewed service providers include GFI Archiver, Global Relay, Mimecast, and Smarsh.

What is data deduplication?

Data deduplication eliminates multiple copies of data. As a result, it improves  overall database performance by decreasing data consumption. Data deduplication is an important feature to look out for in any email archiving or backup solution.

Resources

TechGenix: Article on Protecting Your Data Backups

Learn more about the risks to your data backups and how you can protect them. 

TechGenix: Article on Data Governance, Risk, and Compliance

Find out how data governance, risk, and compliance play a key role in securing organizations and their sensitive data.

TechGenix: Article on Data Privacy Regulations

Learn more about major data privacy regulations.

TechGenix: Article on Challenges and Opportunities with Data Management 

Know more about key data management challenges and opportunities for SMBs.

TechGenix: Article on TCP Optimization

Discover how you can optimize TCP to enhance your internet connection’s performance. 

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