Archiving is one of those tasks that most of us dread. Even if we are diligent about pulling together reports and reviewing them, there is still a chance that something will fall through the cracks. This is particularly dangerous when it comes to communication.
Communication is the lifeblood of business, and yet, many companies struggle with effective archiving. Effective archiving isn’t just about freeing up storage space. It’s about ensuring that communication is captured, secured, and stored in the appropriate format to meet compliance requirements.
Keeping up with the latest compliance requirements can’t be extremely difficult and time-consuming, however, there is a way to automate communication archiving and unburden your staff.
What is communication archiving
When public records were solely paper-based, archiving was as simple as filing hard copies of papers in a file cabinet at the office. Even though those days are long gone, many organizations still use a paper-based system that requires employees to manually archive communication data that is part of the public record. This might include screenshots of text messages or social media posts printed on paper – a time-consuming, inefficient, and ineffective method.
Take a look at some of the digital tools businesses use to communicate today:
- Instant messaging
- Collaboration software
- Video conferencing tools
- Social media
- Mobile messaging
- Text messaging
These communication tools allow businesses to streamline communication and save time, however, manually archiving digital communication records is anything but time-saving. Luckily, archiving of digital records could and should be automated.
The growing need for automated communications archiving
The average full-time worker in America spends 28% of their workday reading and responding to emails, which means they spend whopping 2.6 hours of their day on email correspondence
Furthermore, the volume and diversity of instant messaging, text messages, collaboration, conferencing, and social media tools is increasing, and every one of these tools comes with an increasing amount of data.
When staff is tasked with archiving such a diverse and large amount of data, knowing exactly how to properly preserve it might be difficult. What to archive, what format to retain it in, how to classify it, where to store it, and how to secure it are the main questions.
Following the answers to those concerns, other questions arise, such as how to assure a comprehensive, accurate, and efficient downstream procedure in the event of litigation, open records requests or internal investigations.
Then there are considerations surrounding data retention, such as how long to store archived data, when and why to delete it (or not), and how to destroy it.
The changing legal requirements
Organizations today face an increasing amount of regulatory compliance challenges. As regulations evolve and become more stringent, companies are required to document their communication in order to demonstrate compliance.
Even deciding what data to save is more difficult than most people realize. Document retention rules have been adopted or updated to incorporate much of the structured and unstructured data as technology has improved.
However, most employees can’t keep up with these ever-changing rules and requirements. As a result, while responding to a public records request, they are forced to dig through a mountain of old, uncategorized, and mismanaged data manually.
This takes a long time, and the response is frequently late, partial, and/or contains redundant, obsolete, or temporary information.
Other issues employees face
Even if employees could keep up with changing regulations, forcing them to manually preserve data poses a number of problems, including:
- Data classification and management may be considered an addition to an employee’s regular duties.
- The majority of employees lack the necessary training to successfully classify and manage data.
- Many retention policies are complex to comprehend.
- Employees often believe that “their” data belongs to them, therefore it never leaves their personal drive, phone, or email system.
- The amount of data sources available to employees continues to expand and evolve at a rapid pace.
- The number and complexity of data security threats continue to rise.
To summarize, most employees lack the time, skills, and motivation to identify and manage the massive amounts of data they see on a daily basis, hence it is never completed.
How to automate communication archiving
When it comes to data archiving, organizations should strive to automate the process such that most employees aren’t even aware of it. It’s simple to fulfill this goal by ensuring that all the important digital communication records are captured, categorized, and searchable using a secure, centralized archiving solution.
From email and text message archiving to Slack and WhatsApp archiving, modern archiving providers offer automated communication archiving solutions for virtually any platform.
These solutions are built to archive both structured and unstructured data without requiring employee involvement on a regular basis.
To be effective, these solutions should have at the very least these vital elements:
- The capacity to save electronic messages and the additional metadata in their entirety and in their original format.
- Features to help records management and e-discovery including data capture, indexing, retention, and search.
- An easy-to-use interface that does not necessitate reliance on the IT department.
Also, keep in mind that the amount of data we collect is only going to increase and evolve into a more complex paradigm. Future-proofing techniques should be implemented by archiving solution providers to support:
- Data from new and developing sources
- Global data privacy standards are always changing.
- Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) as emerging technologies (AI)
Benefits of automating communication archiving
Because email archiving solutions serve as safety nets, it’s frequently impossible to realize the immediate advantage unless you’re in the middle of a non-compliance fine or litigation.
It reduces storage
Archiving solutions are cost-effective in a variety of ways, which adds to the value they can bring to your business.
Archiving technology was created to reduce the amount of time and effort spent managing communication records while also increasing productivity. Furthermore, automating the archiving of your company’s communication relieves your mail servers and leaves you with more storage space.
You could wind up with many servers and hard disks if you try to preserve your emails without using an automatic archiving system. These servers must be kept functioning and maintained at all times. Hard drives must be backed up on a regular basis to external hard drives.
The costs of operating and maintaining this system are always rising. These expenses are eliminated with the use of an automated archiving solution. Instead, you only need to run a single piece of hardware that performs the functions of several others.
It is time-saving
Your organization will be able to automatically record, archive, and protect all inbound, outbound, and internal communication, as well as their metadata and attachments, with email archiving. A sophisticated indexing system will “label” all message metadata and make it searchable, allowing you to quickly and simply browse the archive and find a certain email or thread.
Automated archiving will speed up your audit response and ensure a seamless discovery process, in addition to allowing you to recover lost or deleted emails.
It ensures easy data retrieval
As previously said, good email archiving comes into its own when it comes to litigation and compliance. The data archive can be searched quickly and easily using keyword filters and advanced options, making it easier to find crucial information.
This means normal archive inspections can be completed fast, or legal costs can be kept down by minimizing the time required to acquire material in times of litigation.
It is customizable
Email archiving solutions allow you to design and set various data archiving policies, as well as assign user responsibilities and rights to staff members, which are all advantages of automated archiving for regulatory compliance.
You may restrict unwanted access to your company’s sensitive information, set retention periods, and have data automatically deleted after a policy ends by doing so. Most importantly, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that all of your messages, whether they’re sent via email or through your company’s social media account, are safely saved in a tamper-proof repository.
It relieves pressure from your system
Without an email archive, the strain on your system may result in additional charges. When resources are stretched to keep your communication records safe, systems slow down and are more likely to fail, requiring replacement – not to mention data loss.
As older data is taken and stored elsewhere, maintenance for overburdened hardware becomes more regular and possibly more expensive. Your archive lowers the unnecessary strain on your servers and hard drives, lowering the danger of failure.
Over to you
Manually preserving communication data doesn’t cut it anymore. A robust, secure, and centralized archiving solution will ensure all communication records are captured, classified, and properly managed, ensuring your team and company remain compliant at all times.
By automating the archiving process, your IT and legal teams will save a significant amount of time. Streamlining your email storage with a dedicated solution relieves the load on your other systems, and you can be assured that you’ll have access to your data whenever you need it.