Regardless of the industry your business operates in, it is highly likely it will be subject to email storage legal requirements. An amendment to the Federal Rules of Civil Disclosure in 2006 stipulated that all businesses should be able to produce electronically stored information – including emails – within a thirty day period when ordered to do so by a court.
This does not necessarily mean that your business has to retain its emails indefinitely. Unless your business operates in a regulated industry that requires a longer retention period (for example finance, pharmaceuticals or some areas of healthcare) your business should only need to retain its emails for as long as the relevant Statute of Limitations.
One important point to note is that, when ordered to produce electronically stored information by a court, it has to be shown that the data is in its original format without alteration or amendment. Therefore, in order to comply with legal guidelines for email storage, not only is it necessary to implement a solution to store emails, it is also important the solution ensures the integrity of the data.
Why Email Archiving is a Compliant Solution
The email storage legal requirements in some industries require certain categories of electronically stored information to be retained forever. Due to the volume of emails that businesses receive on a daily basis, storing decades of email data on the mail server is impractical. It will cause mailbox quotas to be exceeded, limit the functionality of the mail server and effect network performance.
For this reason, most businesses choose to archive their emails – either locally or off-site depending on the size of the business, the nature of its business, and its internal security arrangements. Backed up copies of an email database can also be used as part of a disaster recovery plan and – subject to the solution used to archive emails – ensure email continuity.
Provided the solution has the necessary mechanisms to ensure the integrity of email data, it will also comply with legal guidelines for email storage. However, businesses should be aware of potential issues that would result in an email archiving and storage solution being non-compliant or as an inappropriate method of disaster recovery.
Potential Issues with Email Archiving and Storage Solutions
Email archiving and storage solutions can be deployed in four different ways – hardware, software, cloud-based or as a hybrid solution using elements of two or more other solutions. Each potentially has its own issues, but the primary compliance concern for businesses should be that the solution backups and archives emails in real time as they enter or leave the mail server.
Email archiving and storage solutions configured to perform periodic backups do not fulfill the criteria to comply with legal guidelines for email storage because the opportunity exists for an email to be deleted or altered before the archiving solution has had the opportunity to copy it. This would mean that a business might not be able to provide an immutable electronic record if required to by a court.
An issue to be aware of about hardware solutions is they have the potential to be lost, stolen or damaged and will run out of space over time. Software solutions – and hybrid solutions paired with software solutions – are liable to space restrictions and malware infections, and some cloud-based solutions are limited in the email services they support or fail to provide tamper-evident audit trails.
What This Means for Complying with Email Storage Legal Requirements
What this means for complying with email storage legal requirements is that businesses have to select their email archiving and storage solutions with care and with future costs in mind. The chosen solution must have real time copying and archiving, and a method to prevent unauthorized access to archived emails. Ideally an option would exist for administrators to set retention policies in order to prevent the accidental or malicious alteration/deletion of archived emails while they are stored, and to reduce the time spent managing the solution. With policies in place, emails can be deleted from the archive automatically when the retention period is over.
The future costs of email archiving and storage can be significant with hardware and software solutions. As email data accumulates, businesses may have to add storage devices, reassign server capacities or migrate data. These costs do not apply to cloud-based solutions which are usually charged per user with no limit on the amount of data stored. Businesses can comply with legal guidelines for email storage without having to budget for the inevitable growth of email data.
One further consideration is ease of use. As the volume of email data increases in a business, and email data is divided across multiple hardware solutions or servers, it becomes harder to search for and retrieve. By storing all a business´s email data in one location, cloud-based email archiving and storage solutions are easier to use and can be searched quickly and efficiently. Remember however, that not all cloud-based email archiving and storage solutions are compatible with all email servers and email clients, and some are not capable of maintaining compliant audit trails.
Comply with Legal Guidelines for Email Storage with ArcTitan Cloud
ArcTitan Cloud is a cloud-based email archiving and storage solution that takes all the above concerns into account to ensure businesses comply with email storage legal requirements. A “set & forget” solution, ArcTitan Cloud copies and archives email data in real time, maintains it in a secure and limitless data center – Replicated Persistent Storage on AWS S3, supports all email services and servers, and provides tamper-evident audit trails in order to comply with legal guidelines for email storage in regulated industries.
ArcTitan Cloud deduplicates all email data before indexing it, compressing it and storing it. This process makes for quicker database searches (ArcTitan cloud can search a database of 30 million emails in under a second) and ensures that search results do not contain dozens of duplicated, difficult to navigate results. Permission tiers can be set using a granulated delegation mechanism and administrators can define email retention policies to suit each individual business´s regulatory needs.
If businesses already have an existing archived email database, it can quickly and easily be imported into our cloud-based email archiving and storage solution from MS Exchange, Google Apps, EML, MBOX, MSG and PST. ArcTitan Cloud does not use proprietary formats to store email data, so archives can be just as easily exported via to EML, MSG, PDF, TIFF or PST. Scalable up to 60,000 users, ArcTitan Cloud is the most complete cloud-based email archiving and storage solution for your business.
Your Invitation to Try ArcTitan Cloud Free for Thirty Days
If your organization has concerns about email storage legal requirements, or you would like to know more about how to comply with legal guidelines for email storage, contact us and request a thirty day free trial of ArcTitan Cloud. Our offer consists of a fully-enabled cloud-based email archiving and storage solution with industry-leading customer and technical support free for thirty days.
There are no set up costs, no data conversion costs and no contracts to sign, and we will be happy to answer any questions you have about compliance with email storage legal requirements, compatibility with your network system and scalability as your email database grows. Simply contact us today to discuss your current arrangement for archiving and storing email data, and we can liaise with your IT team to have you connected to ArcTitan Cloud in no time at all.