In this article I look at how archiving is moving from a tactical play around email to underpinning a more strategic content archiving environment.
As the corporate information landscape changes and grows organisations are looking for new, enhanced solutions to manage that new content.
Moving the focus to content
Vendor focus to date has been on email archiving and this form of employee communication is still a huge contributor to the data mountain. But with the explosive growth of communications by employees beyond email, predominantly in social media, vendor focus is now on the content rather than the medium.
With content being generated at an ever increasingly rate the need for archiving (and easier, more efficient retrieval) is gaining in importance. Users are looking to vendors for integrated sets of storage and data management tools. It is now good timing for organisations to look to beyond archiving practices solely developed to manage email. Vendors are focusing on providing broader content archiving solutions to ensure that organisations wanting to mitigate corporate risk have the archiving tools they need.
Content governance is key
While IT may provide the lead and resources for a content archiving strategy, the governance of such a strategy goes wider. The business itself owns the data and so senior management must be involved in the creation of policies governing its use.
The goal of governance is to create workable rules that address the needs of key stakeholders, such as legal, security and compliance. Coordinating stakeholders across the lines of business will help ensure understanding and acceptance of the archiving strategy and of the policies being created by that strategy.
Beyond establishing the basis for implementing an archiving solution, content governance is key for compliance with statutes and regulations. By building a set of policies that deliver consistency and accuracy, an organization can ensure that its content management policies reduce (or eliminate) the risk of non-compliance.
By managing the people, processes, and technology associated with data, information will be handled consistently throughout the organisation. The organisation should develop content governance policies that enable quick and easy access to all corporate information. Only when information is readily available are users less likely to have their own repositories of potentially sensitive corporate information.
Improving regulatory compliance by setting appropriate security access levels helps mitigate risk.The content archiving strategy needs to ensure that, in the governance environment, information must either be found (and be shown to be untampered or corrupted) or shown that it does not exist (note the onus here). The organisation also has to provide a documented trail of who has accessed that information, when they did so and how they did so.
Due to the changing requirements around regulation and litigation, leading features that enable journaling, indexing, and advanced search are becoming the industry standard. Both bare content (such as an email or text) and its attachments (such as a pdf or photo) need to be indexed and searchable by all interested stakeholders, both internal and external. The key to compliance is auditability with easy access to both the audit trail and the metadata.
Overall a content archiving strategy has three major benefits for the organisation:
• Lower operating costs from decreases in the time and effort needed by management, IT and legal to answer e-discovery requests. (E-discovery being the formal process for satisfying information needs for regulation, litigation or negotiation issues)
• Reduced risk as policies ensure that the right security access levels are in place and regulations are complied with
• Value creation as data used for regulatory compliance, litigation and business reporting is more accurate and accessed more easily by these key stakeholders
PS: Despite the general direction of this article, email archiving in itself is still an important requirement for many organisations. CommVault has some advice to help identify the specific needs of an organisation’s email environment when looking at potential archiving solutions.