Investing in email archiving solutions make a lot of sense even for startups and small enterprises.
It’s 2018 and buzzwords like social media, cloud collaboration, and real-time communications are all the rage; enterprises are consistently implementing new digital strategies to keep pace with change and fuel growth.
And so, here’s the big question – what happens to older yet ubiquitous email in business scenarios?
Modern digital enthusiasts would argue that the new ways of working would completely reinvent the workplace, making tools like emails redundant. But the ground reality is very different – the number of active email accounts stand at 2.7 billion, and in a few years could grow to cover almost half of the global population as the world embraces digital ways of doing business and email becomes an important part of our digital identity.
Consider this data, for instance: The average business user receives over a hundred email messages daily, spending over 3 hours every day on their mailboxes.
The numbers are staggering. Without adequate frameworks in place, existing firms will clearly struggle to manage growing volumes, regulatory complexities, and emerging integration needs.
The case for smaller businesses and startups is even more intense.
From garage dreamers to mom-and-pop spinoffs, from the gig economy brewing at the local coffee shop to great ideas sparked in incubators, from fast growing small businesses to companies in the midst of transformational change, email communication remains an integral and dependable part of communication infrastructure.
Given the ‘infrastructure-lite’ nature of startups and smaller businesses, often these enterprises rely on elementary systems and are at the risk of losing critical email data reserves.
With almost all conversations and information exchanges now stored electronically, it’s essential for businesses to be able to locate relevant information:
Did the third-party vendor agree to the exact terms?
Were all the essential boxes checked when bidding for a contract?
Did the firm log all the right documents when applying for a patent?
Close to 75% of a company’s intellectual property resides in mailboxes and messaging systems. Fast, intelligent archiving helps safeguard the biggest asset of a small business: the ideas and knowledge behind the product, service or the solutions offered.
Archives are more than an external email warehouse
It’s a central repository where emails are stored in a ‘non-active’, read-only state, preserving them in their original form. A good email archiving solution will scan through messages, automatically cull out what’s needed, and after indexing, will store them for easy retrieval.
A robust email archiving solution not only aids ediscovery, but also lets the admin department set restrictions and access rights, keeping vital business information secure.
An anecdote illustrates the point – in 2002, Fluor Daniel Inc. was asked to produce and print mails contained in 93 backup tapes, in a case against Murphy Oil US. In the absence of proper indexing, this, apparently simple task, cost the company USD 6.2 million.
As a result, businesses are increasingly making email archiving solution a part of the organizational backbone, right at the starting line.
#1 Maintaining compliance with regulatory norms
Each industry is ruled by a set of data management regulations, unique to their segment of operation. New to the terrain, startups often spend the first few months (or even years) trying to bring it all together to create a valuable business.
Email exchanges in the early stages can prove to be very useful critical source of information in meeting future regulatory and compliance needs.
Finance, Healthcare, Energy, Legal and HR-focused companies are typically information-heavy. An email archiving solution that logs, stores, and allows easy access to mails can prevent reporting delays and avoid non compliance penalties.
#2 Supporting litigation, if needed
For a small business, getting involved in a contractual or regulatory dispute, where it has to go through the discovery process, to furnish all mentioned documents within a stipulated amount of time, can be very disruptive.
Failure to do so can result in crippling penalties, like in the case of a US financial firm which was penalized for USD 1.57 billion for being unable to present emails.
Startups can’t absorb such costs, and with an efficient email archiving mechanism in place, it doesn’t have to. Good archiving solutions have sufficient defence against malicious attacks, and with a read-only interface, the possibility of fraud is minimal.
#3 Reduce storage management efforts
It’s important to realize how Email as a form has gradually evolved – and is now a very different from when it first gained traction back in the late 90s.
Messages are rarely confined to the usual black and white, with a range of attachments, links, and redirects to external drives. Clearly, the Email is now a system of its own which requires smart harnessing, particularly when dealing with media, refining contracts, or collaborating on tech projects on a regular basis.
With mails continually flowing in, local mail boxes can get clogged leading to sluggish and erratic performance. But putting a cap on it, results in the users being forced to clear out their mailboxes at a growing frequency. The possibility of random losses or even deletion – is high.
Email archiving eliminates the need for maintaining large mailboxes on on individual devices. Bolstered by central archives, users could clear their inbox without restrictions, ensuring clutter-free mailboxes.
#4 Enabling faster, simpler e-discovery
High-level e-discovery includes gathering data for strategies, litigation, audits, and so on – but on a more granular level, the same systems can be used to access, retrieve, and apply archived information to boost daily productivity.
Minor but time-consuming snags like trying to retrieve a deleted email, tracing a mail with multiple recipients, or locating a specific file or piece of information, can now happen with a few clicks, saving employees valuable time.
Emails are also a good source of historical data – messages archived over the last one year, for example, would accurately reflect a startup’s movement in the marketplace, record successes (and failures), show grievances, and ultimately open new pathways for product growth & development.
#5 Managing costs in an expanding, capital-heavy environment
Cloud based Archiving solution has several benefits over onsite storage and archival.
Onsite systems, especially for small businesses, offers limited protection against threats to the system, besides being heavy on maintenance, management and capital spend.
Cloud based archiving solutions, on the other hand, generally charge you by the month or the year – not by the volume of events, emergencies, or criticality of services required. A well-defined system for archiving emails can help startups manage IT costs, and redirect precious resources towards – design, development, sales, strategy, and growth.
A resilient bedrock, achieving continuous growth
To support growth, companies must embrace intelligent and effective Digital systems – and when it comes to storing business correspondence, investing in a good email archiving solution is a ‘no-brainer.’
Clearly, email remains the go-to platform for all things official.
With cloud based archiving services, it is now possible for startups and small companies to have access to secure and dependable systems and tools that hitherto were available only to larger enterprises. New and growing firms can now undertake preventive measures on a pay per use basis and insure themselves against disruptions that can cripple a small business.