Email Archiving 101 – A Comprehensive Guide for Businesses

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Email Archiving 101 – A Comprehensive Guide for Businesses

This guide is aimed at giving you a complete end-to-end understanding of-

  • The fundamentals of email archiving
  • The various architectures possible
  • The core reasons why you should archive email
  • What you should consider while choosing a platform and
  • What are the best practices for using an email archiving platform.

Email archiving at a glance

Email Archiving at a glance - Vaultastic

Email archiving explained in detail

The trend of email consumption today

60% of business critical information is stored exclusively in email – IDC
60% of business critical information is stored exclusively in email – IDC
4GB is the average annual growth in a user’s archive account – Mithi
4GB is the average annual growth in a user’s archive account – Mithi
126 messages are expected to be sent and received, on average, per business user per day, by the end of 2019 – Radicati
126 messages are expected to be sent and received, on average, per business user per day, by the end of 2019 – Radicati
1 TB of data in 1 year
This means that a 200 user company will accumulate more than 1 TB of data in 1 year and this will keep growing year after year.

What is email archiving?

Email archiving (Verb): Keeping a read-only copy of every mail sent and received by your users in a digital vault. 

Email archiving ensures that a copy of every mail sent and received is stored in a separate archival store

Email archiving also ensures data protection for legacy email data.

What is the need for email archiving?

The massive volume, variety, and velocity of emails transacted by modern businesses make it vital to have an email archiving strategy to protect this critical data.

The archive should be robust, secure, and search-ready to support regulatory compliance, litigation readiness, storage management, information availability, data backup, and business continuity use cases.

An email archiving solution ensures that all emails are collected and stored centrally before they are delivered to users. 

Benefits of having a central email archive are-

  1. This central access to all email information reduces internal inefficiencies by making it easy to find information across multiple locations and recovering deleted or lost emails.
  2. A consolidated repository helps you quickly find all data for contractual or obligation purposes, mandatory compliance, and legal matters during internal audits. 
  3. In addition, a centralized email store makes it easier to manage storage and keep data organized and accessible.
  4. A reliable email archiving solution is essential to any effective business communication strategy.

Discovering useful information, recovering ‘lost’ information, uncovering valuable data, and gaining insights

An email archiving solution can save your business time and money by collecting and storing all emails centrally. 

This way, you can easily find the information you need, whether for compliance or legal purposes, and quickly recover any lost or missing data. Analytics of the data can also provide valuable insights into your business. Learn more.

Improving mail service & endpoint performance

By keeping only recent mails on the live storage and moving older mails to secondary storage, you can improve the mail server and endpoint performance due to reduced sync times and quicker searches. 

This also simplifies email data management. For example, suppose you have a primary mailbox that you are accessing via MS Outlook and a secondary mailbox that is your archive account. 

In that case, you can keep your frequently accessed primary mailbox very slim, possibly with an automated retention policy, while the rest of your infrequently accessed email data is on your archive account. Learn more.

Managing risks and ensuring compliance

Enterprises need to back up email data necessary for future reference and regulatory compliance. 

Along with an easy method to search and export data, archival will help protect an organization against all kinds of situations which cause data loss, such as accidental or malicious deletion of mail, data corruption on desktops, laptops, ransomware attacks, loss of laptops, mail deletion, etc. Learn more.

Simplifying email data management

To ensure the safety of email data, many elements are required, such as backup strategy, backup tools, backup storage, redundancy, and a way out in case the backup itself fails.

An excellent email archiving platform will store your data in chronological order on the centralized archive in a search-ready form.

Thus ensuring that you can find any email of any period in a few seconds.

Related: More reasons to archive emails

An ideal vision for a modern email archiving platform

In our conversations with hundreds of decision-makers in enterprises across industries and sizes, the following requirements showed up as expectations from a modern email archiving system:

  • In-line real-time capture of data: A robust email archiving platform captures a copy of all emails automatically, in their original form, before the emails are delivered to the end users.
  • Archival of legacy email data: A new-age email archiving platform will support legacy data ingestion from PST/EML files and mailboxes with powerful automated migration tools. 
  • Self-Service: Applications for safe access by users to their respective archive accounts will boost productivity and reduce dependency on IT teams.
  • Peace of Mind: A reliable, highly durable, and independent infrastructure ensures the safety and security of your business-critical information while reducing vendor lock-in. 
  • Fast ediscovery console: A search-ready central archive drives up productivity and improves your brand and reputation as you power through litigation, compliance, or information requests. Learn more.

The common thread across the outcomes is the need to make email archival a mainstream day-to-day application to boost users’ productivity and make the accumulated data more beneficial to the organization.

By 2019, 75% of organizations will treat archived data as an active and “nearline” data source, and not simply as a separate repository to be viewed or searched periodically, up from less than 10% today.  – Gartner

What are the challenges you face?

Inconsistent and inadequate reliability of locally deployed infrastructure

There is a massive growth in email data. Most businesses have been managing the data in-house so far.  

It takes a good deal of hard work and deployment of substantial resources to create in-house infrastructure, which is dependable by design and delivers an uptime upward of 99.9%. 

In addition, planning a backup of the archived data and a disaster recovery system for this infrastructure are fairly involved projects.

Lack of elasticity of on-premise infrastructure

You would typically need to design scale into your infrastructure from the start and provision extra capacity in advance to be ready for the growth.

Planning for the security of on-premise infrastructure and data.

Ensuring security is no trivial task and requires specialized teams and resources investment. 

Securing an ever-growing volume of data requires a robust security infrastructure, a 24/7 vigilance system with a drive towards achieving sustainable cyber resilience.

Setting up management and monitoring systems for infrastructure and application

This whole stack would need regular upkeep, hygiene, and 24/7 monitoring to ensure consistent performance and reliability

This would involve automated monitoring to ensure service and infrastructure uptime, a 24/7 NOC team to respond to these alerts, and a management team to run a routine cleanup and other maintenance jobs.

Dealing with higher upfront capex

The entire project can be expensive since you have to budget and procure compute and storage for 1-2 years of projected use. 

This makes it clear that there is no point in struggling with short-term solutions. Switching to cloud-based archival platforms delivers safe, secure, and manageable data.

Related: 

Challenges with on-premise archival

Twelve challenges of data storage and data management

Three types of email archival architectures/ options

Here are three email archival options for you to choose from:

Shared SaaS email archiving on cloud

With SaaS email archiving, subscribe, configure and consume the services. No infrastructure or management is required at your end except an Internet connection to access and transport mail from the primary mail servers to the archival service on the cloud. 

Email archive on a private cloud

For a Private Cloud Email Archive, set up a server and storage on a private cloud, in your cloud account, and install the chosen email archiving software on it. 

The instance type and storage capacity will depend on the number of users and the retention period. Manage the archival set-up on the cloud on an ongoing basis. 

Dedicated email archive on-premise

For on-premise email archiving, provision server and storage infrastructure on premise (bare metal or virtualized). Next, deploy the Archiving software on this infrastructure and configure it for high availability and security.

The server and storage capacity will depend on the number of users and the retention period. The users access this over LAN/WAN. Manage the storage infrastructure and archival set-up on an ongoing basis. 

Related: Email Archiving Software Comparison: Shared SaaS vs Dedicated Cloud vs On Premise Server

A buying guide for email archiving software

Always archive on a separate operational Infrastructure

Archiving your data on a separate operational infrastructure is a smart move that can give you an extra layer of protection. Additionally, knowing that you have a backup copy of your data can help you feel more confident about trimming your primary mail platform for efficiency.

Go for zero infrastructure and simplified management with the cloud to gain from elasticity, scale, reliability, security, and performance

The cloud platform provides a reliable and high-performance infrastructure to support the archival application. 

The cloud storage infrastructure is the safest storage platform available today. With guaranteed uptime and extremely high durability, you are assured that your data is safe on the cloud. There is no need to maintain backup copies, making it a convenient solution for long-term storage. Learn more here and here.

The most crucial piece of technology here is elastic storage, which gives immense flexibility to scale automatically on demand. There is a deliberate movement of IT workloads to the cloud, and for a good reason.

Go SaaS to gain from guarantees via SLA

SLAs provided by a cloud service provider give organizations guarantees on the performance of the service, thereby creating a legal agreement. Learn more.

Ensure easy tools for data retrieval in bulk for any size

Another significant advantage of the cloud is the tremendous on-demand computing necessary to process large volumes of data and multiple methods to retrieve large volumes of data. Learn more.

Best practices for email archiving?

Ensure all the emails are always online and search ready

Mostly your e-documents are all over the various devices you use. An email archiving solution saves the day by having all you need at one spot to save you from the hassle of finding them at different spots. The emails are stored and collected centrally before they are delivered to the user. Learn more.

End user access via a self-service portal to improve productivity

Your data is constantly growing. It is a massive task to access information on demand without contacting the IT helpdesk to access age-old data. 

An email archiving solution has a self-help portal for easy access by the end user. It boosts productivity and eliminates the hassle of multiple contacts to retrieve your data.

Use ediscovery to leverage all the accumulated data

SMBs can access the ediscovery tool to locate analytics and business intelligence vault. 

Simple features like- new leads, new accounts, customer appreciation, and customer feedback can be accessed through ediscovery.

Automate all integrations with primary mail platform

An excellent archival platform will expose API to allow you to integrate email archiving and e-discovery with other business systems. 

Recognize that archive and backup are different

Backups are a periodic snapshot of the current state of the mail store. They are primarily used to quickly recover an overwritten file or corrupted database and, more importantly, for disaster recovery. Learn more.

I already use cloud email like Google Workspace or M365. Do I still need a separate email archiving solution?

As you may be aware, Office 365, Google Apps, Microsoft Exchange Server, Exchange Online, Zimbra, Lotus Notes, etc., are some of the most widely used enterprise email services today. 

Used by organizations, both large and small alike, they also tend to rely on their built-in email archiving capabilities for eDiscovery and compliance.

If you are considering moving or have already migrated to them, you should know that their in-built features may not suffice your enterprise’s email archiving needs. 

With threats on a constant rise and stringent compliance regulations, it is no longer enough to rely on its native archiving feature; therefore, what you need is a third-party email archiving solution.

Why vaultastic?

Vaultastic was built around your vision or ideal state to cater to what enterprises and businesses were looking for. 

Vaultastic assures that their data has been automatically ingested into an independent immutable cloud storage, with very high durability and deep tamper-resistant controls, and assures them a near 100% guarantee that their data is now safe.

Learn more.

How does it work?

Learn more.

So what’s next?

Is only a safe backup of all the data to help the business improve its bottom line, topline, or operations?

Here is where the other part of the vision kicks in, where each data piece is always online and search-ready to return results instantly, which helps the business leverage all that accumulated a wealth of information, carrying a large percentage of the organization’s critical data.

Also, traditionally, email archiving has been in compliance or IT services, which limits its use and puts pressure on the backend to respond to requests for historical data. 

By expanding the scope of usage safely and securely to all the end users, the accumulated archived data suddenly unlocks trapped value for the business.

Each user can leverage the knowledge discovery tools to uncover trapped knowledge, intelligence, and communication, to help deliver better outcomes for the business. 

Lastly, we’ve specifically focused on tools to enable accessible data for the information of any size.

Give Vaultastic a spin with a no-obligations 30-day free trial.

Want an in-depth discussion?
Our archival experts are ready to talk to you, one on one to suggest archival best practices, to help you manage email storage better, learn how to make use of all the archived business email for business intelligence and stay ready for regulation compliance.
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