A man holding a virtual file icon

Email Archiving: Going Beyond Backup

More than 100 billion emails are sent each day, according to Radicati Group. Most of them pass between more than 900 million business email accounts. Within those messages are business plans, confidential contracts, discussions, documents and data that keeps business humming along.

That intellectual property is worth preserving, and not just because you might want to look at them in the future. You may find yourself in a situation where you’re mandated to produce these documents to settle future disputes with vendors, employees or customers.

Backups are great for recovery, but modern email archiving solutions are optimized for discovery. That’s why archiving email is the new standard for organizations seeking to protect themselves from risk and liability, as well as preserve their valuable intellectual property and reduce costs within their IT organizations.

Three reasons to “go beyond backup”

1. Pay attention to your retention

Stop and think about the contents of your email. This “go-to” form of business communications has, without a doubt, become the primary conduit of intellectual property between businesses.

Within your own email, you’re likely to find contract negotiations, product roadmaps, staffing plans, offer letters, agreement amendments; and any or all of which could be the subject of a dispute, an investigation, or at the outside, a costly litigation.

No one would argue that everything in your email is worthy of preservation – there is certainly plenty of non-essential communication going on. But that shouldn’t distract from the fact that email is Intellectual Property (IP).

Once you accept this fact, preserving intellectual property seems like a natural next step. No right-minded C-level executive would tell investors or stakeholders that deleting IP is their normal operating practice. In fact, this would go against most email archiving policies that currently exist within corporate structure.

Yet, that’s exactly what happens when emails are deleted before the nightly backup is performed. It’s also common for IT to delete mailboxes on the messaging server when employees leave a company. And for employees, disgruntled or inattentive, to delete the contents of their mailboxes on their own.

Email archiving software automatically preserve inbound and outbound messages as they are sent and received. And because that data is being held separately from the mail server, there’s never a risk of losing those messages if email or mailboxes are deleted from the server.

2. Search and discovery

Employing a fast and accurate search, to scour millions of documents in seconds, can give businesses invaluable insight into operations and communications as well as speed audit response. It ensures that they are responding completely to discovery requests.

Traditional backups do not provide a unified search function. They cannot index (and therefore search) attachments within email messages, and frequently only have access to subsections of the data or limited time frames because of the way an iterative backup is architected.

So, whether it’s an internal investigation to determine if employees were treated fairly, or if a discussion within email essentially amended an existing contract with new conditions, being able to “reach back in time” and quickly collect and collate all relevant materials is crucial to a fast and appropriate response.

In the more extreme (but all too common) case of litigation, pretrial procedures will likely involve “discovery.” Both parties have the right to demand document production.

For years, courts have made clear that electronic communication is subject to these discovery actions. Failure to produce all relevant documentation can result in serious sanctions.

One party’s ability to produce electronic communications that appear to support their arguments – especially in the face of opposing counsel that is unable to produce equal evidence – can make all of the difference. The news has been full of high profile examples from the last year where document production, errant emails or destroyed data have tarnished brands worldwide.

A high-quality email archiving software solution can make electronic discovery a quick and easy process. With access to all email data, including attachments, a hosted email archiving service can enable businesses to perform thorough searches in a matter of hours or even minutes. And there’s no need to bring in outside help to perform the search or waste days and weeks of IT resource time that’s spent culling through the mail server.

3. IT expense reduction

Cloud email archiving is both the best way to avoid the significant (and ongoing) costs of acquiring and supporting storage hardware, and is a great “first step” into cloud computing. The alternative to cloud computing is well known in IT, found in the form of burgeoning data centers. The continual power consumption and management by IT staff, these aging infrastructures fail to provide the dynamic innovation platform modern business demands.

Moving data off of overloaded messaging servers via an email archiving service not only saves space, it can also increase the performance of those servers and speed the backups of those servers as well. Email archiving also provides a self-service portal for users to recover lost or accidentally deleted emails.

Additionally, users can recover messages to their mailbox, or to export search results of the archive. This reduces, significantly in some organizations, the number of support requests that IT departments are likely to receive for common occurrences like file restores.

Ultimately, preserving and protecting the intellectual property in your email is a fiduciary responsibility. With cloud-based enterprise email archiving, you can also quickly search that IP.

Save every message, because you never know.

Search every message when you need to know.

Laura Sankey, Director of Product Marketing Intermedia

Director of Product Marketing, Laura has been with Intermedia for over 4 years. She has 15+ years of experience in product marketing strategy and planning at Verizon Wireless, Nokia as well as at smaller companies and telecom start-ups. Laura has worked with SMB and enterprise business segments in a vast majority of roles including product development and management, market research and communications with a broad range of cloud services and networking technologies.