An Expert Guide to Email Archiving

An Expert Guide to Email Archiving

Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

MSPs face the ongoing challenge of delivering clients robust IT and cybersecurity services at prices that small businesses can afford. Clients will often balk at the seemingly endless list of additional items in an MSP’s cybersecurity tech stack. From a sales perspective, MSPs must clearly articulate the benefits and ROI of each element of their cyber defense strategy. What’s more, with the growth of digital communications and the ever-increasing legal and compliance burdens on companies worldwide, most SMB companies now face many of the same cybersecurity and compliance requirements as larger enterprises.

Comprehensive email protection, including security, backup, and archiving, is one such area where MSPs should better educate clients. Small businesses are inundated with spam, phishing attacks, and malware threats, just like larger organizations. No matter the company size, email is the lifeblood of business communications and vital to day-to-day operations. Even smaller companies must comprehensively backup their digital communications – including email, chat, and files – in case of data loss events, such as inadvertent deletion, cyber-attacks, hardware failures, or rogue internal employees.

Enter email archiving. This is an area where many clients are often confused about the benefits and need for extra investment. In this blog, we will explore the basics of email archiving, along with the benefits to MSP clients.

What is email archiving?

Email archiving is designed to save all email communications for an extended time period (based on retention policies) and index them for easy search and retrieval for legal, compliance, or employee supervision purposes. Email archiving is different from email backup.

An email backup solution is designed for business continuity and disaster recovery purposes. An email backup indexes and stores copies of email communications on redundant (often cloud) infrastructure, for emergency recovery purposes. Email backup enables a company or their MSP to rapidly recover a company-wide email system, individual mailboxes, or specific emails so that employees can quickly get back to work and communicate after a data loss or system outage event. Email archiving serves a very different purpose.

Email archiving uses journaling to capture every email sent or received on an email system to create a tamper-proof and comprehensive record of all email correspondence in a company. While email archiving technology was originally devised to offload old emails from production email systems and to preserve storage resources, today email archiving enables the search and retrieval of email for data governance, employee supervision, compliance, and legal discovery purposes. Robust email archives are closed-based and feature unlimited storage and rich search and filtering features to pinpoint the desired archived communications.

Why Archive Emails?

Here are the main reasons why MSPs should include email archiving in their standard offering for clients:

1. Simplify e-Discovery

Emails are the most commonly requested items during legal discovery. When companies are sued or involved in civil suits or even criminal investigations, it is vital to be able to quickly and cost-effectively produce the requested items in the discovery process. Email archiving helps internal investigators or outside legal counsel precisely and quickly search for and pinpoint responsive communications. Robust email archiving solutions also feature legal hold capabilities, where specialized or override retention policies can be put in place when legal action is threatened or pending. Companies big and small face lawsuits, and email archiving is a key way to cost-effectively manage the legal discovery process.

2. Meet Compliance Requirements

Companies of all sizes face a dizzying array of compliance requirements. For example, in the financial sector, many companies are regulated by FINRA and the SEC and are under strict obligations to archive and preserve all employee communications, both as a deterrent to wrongdoing and to provide a tamper-proof record for investigations of fraud or malfeasance. In the financial sector, stopping insider trading is a top priority and the best way to prevent or catch the sharing of insider information is through comprehensive archiving. Importantly, even very small companies must comply with these regulations, just like larger enterprises. Other industry verticals have similar archiving requirements and new data privacy regulations, such as Europe’s GDPR and California’s CCPA acts, which require companies to have fine-grained control over their archived client communications.

3. Reduce Cost and Complexity

Original email archiving systems were designed to offload older emails to save on storage in the production email system and to ensure peak operating performance. Today, most email systems have migrated from on-premises systems to highly scalable cloud-based email services, such as Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace. With the growth in digital communications of all kinds, the biggest concern today is having a fast, scalable cloud-based archive that can accommodate the dramatic rise in the volume of digital communications. Fortunately, robust email archiving solutions today provide clients with unlimited cloud storage in a wholly separate cloud environment from the production email system. A dedicated cloud archiving solution helps organizations cut down on IT costs and reduce complexity. Top email archiving solutions give authorized users and investigators a single pane of glass for fast search and retrieval of relevant email communications.

4. Knowledge Management

Another benefit of email archiving is knowledge management. In the past few years, organizations have experienced historically high employee turnover. This recent period has been dubbed the “Big Quit” or the “Great Resignation.” In today’s operating environment, it is more important than ever that software and IT systems help companies overcome the challenges of high levels of employee turnover. With a comprehensive email archiving solution, company management and new employees can more easily preserve the institutional memory of an organization and leverage archives to retrieve vital employee communications, documents, and intellectual property from prior periods.

5. Supervise Employees

Lastly, an email archive can help organizations supervise and better manage the workforce. Searching for important employee email communications doesn’t just happen once a lawsuit has been filed. Many internal HR investigations occur without the matter ever involving outside lawyers or counterparties. Fortunately, a robust email archiving solution enables companies to pursue fact-based internal investigations where email evidence is vital to the process. This is a day-to-day need for email archiving that any company leader will appreciate.

MSP Benefits of Archiving Emails?

The client benefits of email archiving are clear. What about the benefits to an MSP’s business? Here are a few:

1. Maintain Client Compliance

MSPs have a unique role to play in helping clients maintain their legal and regulatory compliance. Organizations outsource IT not only to save money but to tap into the expertise of IT professionals who understand how technology and compliance work together. MSPs can win new clients and better serve existing clients by serving as trusted advisors in their client’s compliance journey. Email archiving is one of the foundational technologies to enable clients to get and stay compliant.

2. Efficiently Manage e-Discovery and Internal Investigations

Managing labor costs is a key goal of most MSPs. Invariably, when a lawsuit is filed or an internal investigation is needed, the client will turn to their MSP for help with the process. Without the right technology and services, investigations can become time-consuming and costly. With a robust email archiving solution in place, MSPs can quickly and efficiently help their clients pinpoint responsive email communications, saving time and money.

3. Grow Your Revenue

Lastly, email archiving is a solution that will help MSPs deliver a more comprehensive and valuable managed service to their clients. MSPs grow by packaging advanced technologies into premium managed services that solve real-world problems for the client. In doing so, MSPs are able to charge higher monthly rates and lock in more attractive profit margins, creating a win-win scenario for the client and the MSP.

Dropsuite’s cloud-based email archiving solution helps any organization efficiently store, safeguard, manage, and discover data from most email systems such as Microsoft Exchange Online, Hosted Exchange, and Workspace Gmail. Emails, attachments, calendars, tasks and related files are archived using envelope journaling, ensuring all assets are stored without fail.


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