What is Archiving and Why is it Important?

by securedatamgt | 23 Mar 2015

Financial File Archive

Data archiving is the sort of paperwork jargon that many employees will be confronted with in the workplace. They nod and murmur in agreement when it’s discussed – but how many really understand it and the greater implications it can have on a business?

Archiving is a vital records management process that businesses and their employees should be familiar with. The consequences of not understanding your businesses archiving processes could pose serious problems in the future. So lets set the record straight…

What is Archiving?

Archiving is the process by which inactive information, in any format, is securely stored for long periods of time. Such information may – or may not – be used again in the future, but nonetheless should be stored until the end of its retention schedule.

It should be emphasised that archived, inactive data can be made active again, as the implication of not being able to access information again sometimes dissuades businesses from archiving their records. Information should still be readily available if required at short notice.

Archived data can be stored in a number of different formats, on a variety of devices.

When businesses archive data they tend to archive entire collections of files. The word archive in itself suggests the retention of multiple records. Data that is archived might need to be because of legal rulings or because it is vital information that is likely to be used again in the future.

The Importance of Effective Archiving

Archiving is vitally important for information management and can give a business greater control over their information processes.

As a business grows it will create more data – data that needs to be meticulously managed and monitored in order for it be utilised properly. Keeping tabs on this data can prove problematic for businesses that never put an archiving system in place.

Data that is not archived is harder to locate, secure and appropriately disseminate if stored in a local environment – such as an employees’ laptop – and thus will be inaccessible to other users. This will eventually have a negative effect on business functions and employee productivity.

To learn more about how out-sourcing your records management could save you time and money check out our blog post: Offsite Document storage and retention

The Top 3 Benefits of Archiving for Growing Businesses

1. Prevent Data Loss

Information that hasn’t been archived on a central, secure repository could be lost forever. The chances of an employee accidentally deleting or misplacing a file is slim, but it does happen. In some cases data recovery experts might be able to retrieve this information, but this is likely to take some time, cost a lot and is rarely 100% accurate.

Archived data allows employees to retrieve back up information independently without having to rely on the expertise third parties.

How to Maximise Archive Storage ROI (Infographic) from Imation

2. Legal Requirements

Archiving is important for legal reasons too. Many businesses accidentally dispose of documents that they legally should be keeping.

An effective archiving system will ensure company-specific retention schedules are adhered to, regardless of each employee’s knowledge of these schedules. Data protection authorities are enforcing more sever penalties on businesses  so employees should be made aware that ignoring these policies could lead to hefty fines or even prison sentences in some cases.

3. Increase Security

Archiving is also important for security reasons, especially at a time when cyber-attacks and data breaches are becoming more frequent.

By securely archiving documents businesses can keep track information and increase protection from unauthorised third parties. Even the most cautious of businesses are now targeted by very adept hackers.

Paper records in open circulation can easily be taken from crowded offices or stolen by bitter employees. A reliable offsite archiving system will reduce this risk by warning senior staff when files are missing.

Archiving is vital for business continuity and ensuring the highest level of performance in a competitive marketplace.