Email is the primary form of business communication – and with the rise in ransomware, phishing and other cyberattacks, email archiving has never been more critical. An email archive can, at times, be the single most important repository of corporate memory and if implemented effectively, can be the key to accessing the insight and knowledge contained within enormous volumes of enterprise email. As well as remaining the go-to location for compliance and variety regulatory frameworks.

Traditional archiving – and the mindset around it – is flawed. In fact, according to new research from Mimecast and Vanson Bourne, 88 percent of organizations say they have experienced problems with their existing archiving practices. Nearly 60 percent cite administrative complexity as a top challenge, while 48 percent experience a lack of scalability. And another 56 percent are plagued by slow search performance.

If you’re still thinking about your archive in the traditional sense (that dusty on-prem catch-all), or if you’re not thinking at all about your archive, you’re likely making these costly, complicated – and completely avoidable – mistakes:

1. Ignoring upgrades. Haven’t upgraded your archiving solution lately? You’re not alone. On average, most organizations last updated their email archive two years ago. And only 38 percent have upgraded it in the last year. Ignoring updates means missing out on critical patches and bug fixes, which can constrain performance and reduce efficiency.

2. Settling for “Good Enough” search. When you perform a search, you likely expect fast results – and you probably expect to find what you’re looking for in one attempt. Unfortunately, the magic number when it comes to archive search is “five”: on average, users have to run five searches per query, and only five percent actually find what they need. It gets worse. 50 percent say these search queries take longer than five minutes each, with 20 percent reporting search completion times up to ten minutes.

3. Underestimating the importance of e-discovery. Inefficient search is more than just frustrating. It can impact your ability to quickly respond to legal inquiries, and prevent you from meeting regulatory compliance obligations and external requests, like Subject Access Requests (SARs) and Right To Be Forgotten (RTFB) requests under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – which is a concern for 84 percent of organizations. Perhaps because of the legal, regulatory and financial consequences, 44 percent of organizations are not totally confident in their current e-discovery capabilities.

4. Not planning for downtime. Uninterrupted access to email and archives during server downtime is a win-win for everyone: lines of communication stay open, productivity remains high, and disruption after a cyberattack remains low. That is why 91 percent of organizations say that in the event of system downtime or failure, they would want uninterrupted access to their email. Unfortunately, one-third say this isn’t currently possible.

5. Storing your data in one place. Incidents like technical failure, human error and cyberattacks happen – and without sufficient backup and recovery in place, they can destroy your data. One corrupt email, one mistaken “delete,” or one phishing attack is all it takes to wipe out your entire corporate memory. Yet only 50 percent of organizations can recover all their data after one of these incidents occur, and a further 47 percent say they can recover only some of their data.

The benefits of email archiving in the cloud are real. These include faster search speed, data recovery, long-term data preservation, fixed cost, and reduced IT administrative burden – to name just a handful.

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Julian Martin

Julian Martin

Julian Martin is a cybersecurity strategist at Mimecast, a cloud services and IT security firm.