File archiving is a valuable tool for any organisation that needs to free up storage capacity – moving unused data off of active storage systems.
Gary White- Waterford Technologies
For example, you may not know if you’ll need a piece of data in five years or from five years ago, but you know cannot delete it either, so you place the data into a long-term storage system where it’s accessible if needed. That long-term storage is the archive. Design documents, software builds and images are just a few of the data types that are often relegated to archives.
Of course, many companies save data to comply with government, industry or self-imposed regulations. There’s a great deal of concern with established regulations, like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), but the recent changes to the Federal Rules for Civil Procedure (FRCP) state that anyone possibly subject to a future court proceeding has to be able to produce the required information. This impacts a much broader audience than SOX or other compliance regulations because anyone who might be involved in litigation must take appropriate steps to protect and preserve their data.
Still, if you determine that a piece of data has no possible future value or bearing on future litigation, there is no reason to archive it — you can delete it. Data that can be reproduced or regenerated may not need to be archived. Another school of thought takes a more conservative approach and keeps every piece of data.
Is file archiving just for companies and applications that have to meet regulatory compliance requirements?
It’s a myth that file archiving is only for regulatory compliance. In reality, archiving has been around for decades — well before the hype of compliance — but compliance needs have become a serious driver for archiving. File archiving is for any valued data in any business of any size. This includes traditional documents and emails, along with a myriad of other digitally created content, like photos, movies, sound files, etc. All that data can have monetary or nonmonetary value to a company.
How does file archiving differ from email and database archiving or document management systems?
The thing they all have in common is “archiving” — long-term storage and preservation of data that’s inactive but may be needed in the future. However, the difference is in the types of data that are being archived. For example, structured data typically includes database records. Unstructured data includes documents, images and a wide range of other file types. Semi structured data often refers to email systems where unstructured email text and attachments are stored within structured databases. Some vendors try to do it all through a single unified product or separate products within a family (aka a “suite”).
The point is that each archiving product has a different focus. File archiving products tend to work with unstructured data without regard for the originating application, offering powerful data movement, indexing/search and policy-based retention and deletion features. By comparison, email archiving focuses on archiving email packages, like Microsoft Exchange, but one tool may emphasize the role of content searching, while others may emphasize high availability and replication for disaster recovery. It’s easy to see email archiving combined with other features.
If you would like to find out more about our File Archiving solutions, contact us.