While some school districts archive their email to check a box and be compliant, others understand what can happen when they get an Open Records request from a parent, from a journalist or when litigation arises. Providing that information in a prompt manner is going to save you money and even help your case.
Yet, some schools and districts are complacent knowing that someone will spend time sifting through countless tapes or tens of thousands of messages on an old server. They assume that this is an expected practice that comes with the need to archive.
Typically, when a school or district decides to archive its own email, there will be costs that far exceed those of a third-party solution. Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t use an onsite archiving solution and why you should trust your archiving needs to a third-party provider.
Unknown costs. Single-instance storage (SIS) is a system's ability to keep one copy of your archived content, while allowing multiple users or computers to have access. This technology was developed to eliminate unnecessary data redundancies and save server space. If your system lacks SIS, your ongoing storage costs can significantly increase. And to make matter worse, if you’re using that same archive server for email, it’s going to slow everything down and upset users.
With no way to organize the data, let alone search it in any effective way, every minute it takes is another wasted dollar. You can’t search by user, date or metadata, so being able to fulfill a request just isn't going to happen quickly.
You can make another case against a homegrown archiving solution if your school or district uses multiple email providers (e.g. Gmail for students and Office 365 for staff). How will you access the archived data from each of those systems? Can you go to one place and search across both to find what you need?
The answer to both of those questions is likely “no.” Instead, you’ll have to go to different places without a powerful search engine to speed up the process. All of this is going to take time; it’s going to take labor; and, again, it’s going to cost you much more than what you planned or budgeted for in the first place.
Lastly, consider the security of your internal archiving solution. Whether it’s a disaster recovery effort or, worst case, a security breach, regaining access to seven years’ worth of data rather than just last month’s (if you’re lucky) can’t be accomplished if you have all of your eggs in one basket.
Third-party archiving solutions are designed to reduce overall costs, including labor, hardware and software. Get the data that you need much quicker, take the security concerns off your hands, and use a third-party archive that doubles as a backup and disaster recovery solution.
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