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Decisions, decisions! What to consider when choosing a compliant archive!

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A question I am often asked is what should be considered when selecting a compliant archiving solution?  Here I present the top 10 factors our customers ask about:

  1. Compliant: It seems obvious, but is the compliant archive solution actually compliant?  I would look for independent attestation and even with that it is reassuring to know the solution has been tried and tested and has worked over a number of years.question-mark-1872665_1920.jpg
  2. Security: Again, seems obvious, but security is not just about SOC-compliant data centres, it is about constant testing of the application code and environment for vulnerabilities; then systematically managing those vulnerabilities. Also, it is about the ability to prove the integrity of the data.  What steps are in place to validate the data has been captured, stored and can be searched?
  3. Scale: Can the archive meet your capacity requirements, today and in the future? What if you want to put more data types in?  You acquire another company?  Can your archive supplier prove they can scale to meet any contingency?
  4. Experience: Superficially, the needs placed on an archive are simple. The truth is often very different.  It is important to make sure your archive supplier is experienced in the nuances these challenges present.  That is usually something that comes with years of experience.  You don’t want to find your archive supplier can’t support you when the regulator calls to your door!
  5. Integrated: Once upon a time an archive was someplace data went with the expectation that if it was needed again it would be found there.  Today, the archive is an organic and living part of the organisation’s memory.  It is accessed and retrieved from on a regular basis.  A great archive offers industrial grade applications which integrate with the archive.  These applications are:
    • End user searching: Allowing users across the organisation to access their records from the golden source which is the archive.
    • Governance: Controlling what is said, ideally blocking and if not, quickly identifying illegal, inappropriate or just plain inaccurate communications greatly decrease the cost of later remediation.
    • Search, eDiscovery and case management: Getting at the data, finding it, organising it, managing it and sometimes exporting it are critical capabilities. Enabling you to actually use your archive to defend the organisation in both legal, regulatory and reputational risk situations.
    • Analytics: As stated earlier, the archive is a big part of the corporate memory.  There is tremendous value for the whole organisation to be had, when one can access the archive, enrich data within it and perform analytics and apply machine learning.  There are real performance, cost and security advantages, if you can perform these activities on the data in the archive rather than have to export or feed them to a separate data lake.
  6. Ease: I believe it was Steve Jobs who observed if you make things easy to use more people will use them. The more people use your archive the more value the organisation is getting from it.  Make sure the user experience is designed for the user’s efficiency and not just to look pretty.
  7. Open: It’s your knowledge, make sure you can access it. The archive needs plenty of options to access the data.
  8. Flexibility: Did you know five years ago what you would be doing today? Probably not, it’s the same with your archive.  It needs to be able to flex and grow with your needs so it will do what you need it to do in five years’ time.
  9. Good to work with: The provider, not just the product. What is the financial strength of the provider?  More importantly, when you are having issues, will they be by your side?
  10. Value: Value to your organisation is not just about cost, but cost is important. How much cost can be avoided by having:
    1. Efficient workflows
    2. A compliant organisation
    3. High degrees of automation

Also, ask yourself what business value can be driven by being able to leverage all this communications data

     #11. An extra bonus! On-prem or cloud? The world is moving to the cloud for archiving and analytics, but your business needs or culture may require you to go on-prem. Make sure your provider can give you options whichever direction you want to follow, and remember, you may change your mind in the future!

So, that’s my Top 10 + 1.  I  would love to know what things you look for in the world of Compliance Archiving.

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