Whatever the size, there are very few businesses now that don’t back up their data. Stretching back to the time of tapes, through the dawn of the hard disk drive and onto the present day with cloud storage; the issue of data resilience has long been one of the trickiest paths to navigate for any company – because you don’t need it, until you need it. But, as with so many risks in business, the transition to mass subscription has taken time and many firms lost data – not to mention money - before lessons were learnt.
But whilst the concept of backup is now widely understood, the same can’t always be said for archiving.
Many firms archive email, but what about all the other data types their employees and customers are using to communicate? Businesses interact across a host of platforms every day and many assume that storing these communications as part of a backup is the same as archiving. In fact, we often encounter partners who consider archiving and backup as one and the same thing. This confusion is understandable. Ultimately, you just want to know your data is being backed up somewhere, and as long as this is happening, you’re covered... right? Well, not exactly.
Archiving and backup are two distinctly different processes in data management. If you think that by having one, you’ve also got the other, this is where your problems can begin. But, it may not be where they end.
A changing landscape
When your data is backed up, you are creating a live copy that would enable you to restore it to its original state in the event of data loss or damage. Every time a backup occurs, you are duplicating your data and saving it elsewhere, overwriting your last backup. So, should the worst happen and you lose everything for one reason or another, you have a mirror image tucked safely away that can take its place.
Archiving, on the other hand, doesn’t overwrite anything. In fact, that would completely defeat the object of the exercise. Archiving saves a tamperproof version of unchanging data to a location for long-term retention, monitoring and review. All well and good, but the question remains; if you’re already backing up your data, why would you need to archive it as well?
Over the past five years, the regulatory burden surrounding the retention and storage of data has increased significantly. One explanation for this is that the emergence of hybrid working, due in part to the pandemic, has significantly transformed the way businesses communicate. Simply archiving email no longer provides a comprehensive view of who is saying what and to whom. This is why many businesses are choosing to capture their Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack, etc. data to reduce risk, maintain company culture, and safeguard their people.
It’s worth noting that traditional backups are not designed to meet these specific regulatory requirements, which can lead to businesses being fined or even penalised if they fail to meet their obligations. But it’s not just regulated industries that can find themselves in a court room – and if you were unlucky enough to end up in that position with a requirement to locate and review a specific set of communications from, for example, three years ago – could you do it? How long would it take you andhow much resource would you have to divert to get it done?
As well as this, traditional backups are typically created on a regular daily or monthly basis, and are only intended to ensure that data can be recovered in the event of a system failure or disaster. A top tier archive, on the other hand, should ensure a secure, unified and tamper-evident storage of emails and all other electronic communications. What exactly does this mean? Simple – to be compliant, an archivecannot be altered or deleted, ensuring continuous data integrity and reliability.
A single, unified solution
Over and above this, archive solutions can vastly differ in their capabilities. You may have seen recently that CMS have partnered with Global Relay. The best-in-class compliance archiving and monitoring solution, Global Relay was a pioneer in the cloud archiving market in 1999. As a leader in the field, the sheer breadth of featuresavailable with this solution offer a prime example of how an archive differs radically to a traditional backup. Firstly, Global Relay's Archive platform is capable of archiving over 100 data types, including Outlook emails, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, WhatsApp, Voice, Text, Slack, and Google data, alongside any additional non-email communication types. This means that no matter how a business communicates, they have a fully auditable, evidentiary-quality copy of each and every incoming, internal and outgoing message; indexed, serialised and time-date stamped. But the requirements shouldn’t stop there.
An archive should also be a holistic surveillance solution tool. This allows a business a full view across their operation; to improve their decision-making capabilities, assess and audit every facet. A company is responsible for the culture they create and tolerate – and it has never been more important to nurture a ‘people first’ environment. Global Relay’s AI-powered system intelligently detects high-risk content in electronic messages, such as emails; using a mix of models, lexicons and metadata. This content is then routed to the appointed personnel for review; where they can utilize a multitude of tools to enrich, share and analyse the data. Using an advanced search functionality, businesses can locate specific emails or other communications quickly and easily. Remember those specific messages you have to urgently lay your hands on from three years ago? Not a problem. This is especially important in the event of regulatory audit or eDiscovery, where traditional backups are often ill-equipped to meet urgent requests in a timely and cost-effective manner.
This distinctive feature enables businesses to address all their communication data needs using one single, comprehensive solution, reducing the need for multiple third-party vendors and mitigating operational risk.
Businesses can significantly reduce their storage costs by utilising a SaaS-based archive instead of investing in expensive hardware and software for their backup and storage needs. This benefit can be especially valuable for small to medium-sized businesses that may have limited resources. Your data is enhanced, analysed, and organised by Global Relay's Archive in a scalable cloud data repository.
For regulated industries, the Archive's compliance tools help to identify bad actors, address policy violations, reduce false positives, and document the process to satisfy regulators and internal executives. Global Relay’s Archive also offers efficient workflows to cut legal costs, find relevant data in seconds, conduct early case assessment, review for relevance, and securely share data with teams and external parties.
As expectation for communications data increases, businesses are seriously looking to take stock of their data solutions and ensure they would withstand scrutiny from both regulatory and on-regulatory sources. This is where the distinct differences between backup and archive have never been clearer.
For more information on how you can help ensure your customers have the right tools to protect their people and their data, get in touch with us and ask about Global Relay.