Why organizations need to archive email

The underlying reasons why corporate email archiving is important - by GFI Software

Over the past few years, email has become an integral part of the business workflow. This white paper explains why email archiving must be an integral part of every organization. It also examines the different methods for deploying and managing email archive solutions in an organization as well as specifies the key requirements that a full featured email archiving system should include.

In a survey conducted throughout November and December 2004, SERVO asked 100 of their top customers which projects they were most likely to accomplish in 2005. Interestingly, email archiving made it to the top 5 corporate priorities and this finding can easily be backed up as recent market trends show a six-fold increase in demand for email archiving solutions. But why is email archiving so important for organizations?

The corporate value of email

Over the past years, email has become a primary channel of business communication. It provides organizations with a fast medium of conveying business correspondence such as purchase orders, quotations and sales transactions, in virtually any geographical area with the least physical effort possible. A study conducted by market researcher Gartner Group revealed that Organizations conduct almost 97% of their communications via emails. Furthermore in a recent survey, Osterman Research found that email is now accepted as written confirmation of approvals or orders in 79% of organizations.

Since emails have become the electronic substitutes of legal business documentation, the information being passed on through this electronic correspondence constitutes a record. Consequently, such correspondence must be retained for a minimum period of time, often established by statutes. Due to email predominance in the business industry, various pieces of legislations have been enacted to protect personal privacy, enforce corporate governance standards and maintain ethical conduct. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), Gramm-Leach Bliley act (GLBA) and the Freedom of information act (FOIA) are some examples of such regulations.

What is the ‘true’ meaning of email archiving?

An email archive is a repository generally kept in a non-productive environment to provide secure preservation of email for compliance and operational purposes. A ‘true’ email archiving system automatically extracts message contents and attachments from incoming/outgoing emails and after indexing, it stores them in read-only format. This ensures that archived records are maintained in their original state.

Email archiving moderates the demand for storage space by reducing the amount of online emails on the mail server. Moreover email archives consume less physical storage space than other email storage methods.

The active approach adopted by email archiving solutions ensures that the company has a centralized and accessible copy of all its email. This provides additional protection against accidental or intentional deletion of emails by end users. Email archiving also eliminates the need to search for personal archives on each and every local machine whenever litigation support is requested.

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