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Business email archiving: Compliance and accessibility

An email network acts as the central nervous system by spreading critical information throughout the organization. If this network is disrupted, you may be unable to secure data permanence and compliance. Losing reports, confidential information, and other data may get in the way of conducting business operations and impede internal and external audits.

This is why email compliance and archiving solutions are pivotal for shielding your electronic correspondence and ensuring it’s safely stored, retrievable, and compliant with industry regulations. The adoption of such solutions is indispensable for both private and public companies that generate large data volumes, which require extensive storage and reliable backup options for the reasons we’ll explain below.

What is email archiving?

There is no hidden meaning behind this term. Email archiving boils down to a set of processes implemented for the preservation of incoming and outgoing emails by automatically sending the pre-selected types of messages into a dedicated archive. The data is stored using special-purpose software, hardware, or a separate mailbox within your corporate domain.

Email compliance archiving enters the cybersecurity scene when data – though no longer actively used – must be securely stored indefinitely. Electronic messages are removed from the company’s active mailboxes to free up space for new emails but remain accessible for future reference. If a need arises, you can browse your archives to search and retrieve the desired messages.

This practice is often a legal necessity. Over the last 30 years, the EU and the US have introduced a multitude of regulations mandating businesses to maintain comprehensive e-data archives. These rules describe what records must be stored and in what cases they must be fetched. 

Why is it crucial to archive your emails?

Businesses rely on emails as the primary means of carrying information to and from clients, partners, suppliers, and colleagues. This method of communication is much more efficient than calls and informal channels. More importantly, it is beneficial for the organization’s operations and accessibility, as many solutions have been developed to allow for storing and retrieving email data.

Whether your business operates in the manufacturing, healthcare, or other industries, you likely exchange dozens – if not hundreds – of emails daily. They are equal to immense amounts of:

  • Sensitive information related to your technology, products, or stakeholders
  • Technical data that is not supposed to be publicly available
  • Documentation that is required for internal operations and external inspections

Therefore, the significance of email archiving and compliance with industry regulations can’t be overstated. When emails become archived, they are placed in a virtual “safe deposit box,” protecting them from unwanted removal, unauthorized access, and potential breaches. Such a high level of security is a necessary measure in times of ever-worsening cyber threats and stringent data protection laws.

For businesses, keeping old emails safe and sound is an investment in additional peace of mind and knowing your messages and attachments are shielded from hackers, network issues, and accidental deletion. A rock-solid email archiving security system can contribute to your business continuity and help prevent financial and reputational losses.

Mailbox size optimization

With virtual archives, the once-widespread concerns of businesses and governmental institutions over full inboxes and mailing issues are a thing of the past. The key idea of archiving is to efficiently store your emails and quickly salvage them without cluttering the mailbox and servers. Instead of deleting potentially important messages or overloading limited server capacities, data can be transferred to secure internal or cloud storage that is accessible at any time. This way, you won’t lose data that may prove valuable or be legally required down the road.

Continuity at its finest

Even if you don’t need old emails today, you don’t always know whether they will be necessary tomorrow. An archive allows you or an authorized person to access critical emails during the mail server downtime or in a data loss scenario. Finding the sought-after message takes seconds, as this storage method reduces the server load and speeds up search and recovery processes.

Evidence for legal matters

In some industries (like healthcare or banking and finance), the storage of archived electronic correspondence and attachments is obligatory so that information can be retrieved for inspections or litigation. Since archives keep them in their original condition, including sender and recipient information, emails serve as comprehensive historical records. You may need to share them for e-discovery or other legal reasons to support your claims or get through investigations.

Convenience

With a well-implemented archiving system, searching for a report you shared five years ago among thousands of emails is easy. Archived messages are indexed so that you can fetch them in a matter of a few clicks. An ability to perform instant searches among gigabytes of data leaves your teams with time for important tasks rather than dealing with exhausting retrievals. What’s more, you will likely have a lot of searching options, including by metadata and date.

Balancing archiving with your industry regulations

The implementation of email archiving, compliance, and security solutions isn’t limited to internal business benefits. Many industries are bound by laws that mandate institutions and organizations to retain their corporate documentation for specific periods in an attempt to bolster the protection of sensitive customer and financial information, as well as to make it available for e-discovery.

Email archiving for compliance with regulation requirements implies a range of measures taken to store email correspondence under relevant rules. While these requirements vary across industries and applications, they are based on a similar principle that prioritizes data permanence. Some of the regulations and standards you have probably heard of include:

  • HIPAA
  • GDPR
  • PCI DSS
  • FRCP

You must adhere to regulations regarding encrypted email storage that apply to your industry. If you flout or neglect them, you may be charged with an offense.

Email archiving best practices

If your IT system lacks built-in archiving capabilities and you don’t utilize tools like Archive360 or Google Vault, it’s time to take care of your email correspondence history. When choosing an indexing and storage method, pay attention to factors beyond typical time savings and cost-effectiveness. Your email archiving solution should also offer an on-demand retrieval option, simple configurations, and flexibility for retention.

The most intense debates on the best email archiving practices currently revolve around:

  • Cloud. Businesses can leave archived emails and attachments to providers of cloud-based services. This option may or may not be required for compliance in your industry. If you decide to bring your historical correspondence to the cloud, take your time to learn about encryption and the retrieval process adopted by the provider.
  • On-premises. Setting up an in-house server to store archived emails within your company grants you full control. However, you are supposed to invest heavily in fail-safe hardware and software and extensive training for your IT department to ensure nothing can hinder or derail your on-premises infrastructure.
  • Journaling. This method adds to email compliance by archiving copies of electronic messages exchanged within your company. It can work for your regulatory and data security needs but requires a clear email retention policy and keeping your employees on the same page with training.

Another good practice is to build a dedicated team to oversee how email correspondence is archived, stored, and maintained throughout your organization. The team should comprise IT specialists and professionals from your company’s major departments. It can be tasked with email retention policy preservation and specific measures taken to augment employee awareness.

Spambrella can satisfy your archiving needs

Are you looking to maintain email compliance, archiving, and surveillance at the highest level? There’s an effective way of preserving your emails: Spambrella Email Archiving

Our solution is based on the journaling method and can be easily enabled with MS Exchange or Office 365. It involves encryption, data processing, and storage that’s precisely adjusted to the email retention policy embraced at your organization.

Spambrella Email Archiving and Security solution is proven to let businesses operate smoothly without the risks of email data loss or regulatory violations. It can be paired with our other services to allow you to:

  • Direct corporate emails for further storage to Spambrella
  • Keep track of all your emails in Office 365 or Exchange
  • Enable automated archiving as a backup that prevents data loss in emergencies
  • Customize email archiving management parameters
  • Set the required retention periods for various types of emails based on internal and external business requirements
  • Use instant retrieval tools
  • Mitigate risks associated with violations of GDPR, HIPAA, and other region-specific or industry-specific data protection standards

With Spambrella, you get a separate dedicated archive for your email correspondence. It is not shared with other companies or institutions to preserve data integrity and keep your emails law-abiding. For compliance and accessibility, we can also arrange training sessions for your IT department, retention policy team, or other employees. This will help your people get accustomed to new archiving processes and configuring the existing email systems.

Contact us for further guidance or a trial version of Spambrella solutions.

Further reading:

GDPR Training for Employees – Security Awareness

Managing Retention and Legal Holds

Getting Started with Email Archiving