As much as 75 percent of a company’s intellectual property is contained within email and messaging systems, according to Osterman research. And that makes email more than just a vital business communications tool; it constitutes an electronic substitute of legal business documentation. In other words, that message from Phil in accounting could one day be used as legal evidence.

More and more businesses are required to archive email in order to comply with legislation like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which was enacted to enforce corporate governance standards and ethical conduct. Other businesses have turned to archiving as a cost-effective long-term solution to the security and storage issues caused by growing volumes of email.

What’s that you say? You don’t archive Exchange? Still not archiving Outlook? These four arguments might change your mind.

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4 Good Reasons In Favor of Email Archive

1. Regulatory and compliance requirements: Regulatory organizations and governmental agencies like the Securities and Exchange Commission have established strict requirements for email retention, as well as its accessibility and security. To comply, organizations must establish archiving systems that adequately preserve and protect emails, and that ensure their contents can be retrieved—unaltered in any way—and within a reasonable amount of time.

2. E-discovery and legal investigations: In the event of an audit, e-discovery or investigation related to your business or personnel, there’s a good chance you’ll be required to produce certain—if not copious—amounts of email material. Will you be able to do so in a timely manner, and without draining your resources? An archiving solution securely and systematically stores records of your emails in a central, easy-to-search repository, where they cannot be tampered with in any way.

3. Data storage: With the growing volumes of email circulating these days, it doesn’t take long for a server to reach capacity. An auto-archiving solution lets you offload messages and maintain optimal server performance. It will also minimize storage costs and make restores much easier in the event of server failure.

4. Business continuity and disaster recovery: Consider all the valuable information that’s sitting in all the inboxes and outboxes of every employee at your organization. Should your local data systems or mail servers become unavailable, will you be able to access a complete record of all emails? If you archive, you will.

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Email Archive Is Not Email Backup

It’s important to keep in mind that archiving is more than simple storage, and it’s not same thing as online backup. Archiving is a systematic approach to preserving the content contained in email messages—intact and unaltered—in an non-productive and secure environment where it can be quickly searched and accessed at a later date. Archiving is a best practice that responds to functional and regulatory considerations, as well as legal considerations such as e-discovery, legal holds and early case assessments.

But managing an email archiving solution can be a tricky and time-consuming process. What messages do you need to archive—and for how long? Keeping messages one minute longer than you need to could also leave you in hot water. In an upcoming blog, we discuss on-premise versus hosted email archiving.

Why a hosted solution? Organizations sometimes lack the resources needed to ensure consistent and well-planned email archiving policies—or simply don’t want the hassle of managing them. A hosted solution can be quickly set up to automatically save the right data in the right place for the right amount of time. It might even help you save a significant amount of money.

Written by JP Mercier Employee @ SherWeb

JP is SherWeb’s community manager. He has been working for IT companies since 2010, in both the software and cloud computing industry. JP has a degree in communication and specializes in online marketing. As a good Canadian, he is (overly) polite and loves hockey.