archiving email for business email archive

We’ve already outlined the email archiving options available to you, so this week, let’s take a closer look at how the oldest solution (on-premises archiving) compares to the newest innovation in this space (cloud-based archiving).

Given that all businesses need a way to archive their emails, the challenge for IT decision makers is to find an email archiving solution that works for them.

How do you decide which one will work for your business? Here are some points to consider:

On-Premises Archiving Considerations

On-premises archiving is when information is stored within your business’ data centre, and your business is wholly responsible for the installation, configuration and operation of the archiving system, as well as its underlying infrastructure. Put simply, it’s the ‘do-it-yourself’ way to archive. So what are some issues to look out for?

  • CostPerhaps the most important consideration is that it requires a large up-front capital investment in hardware, software, ongoing operations and support.


  • Failures in provider security. How will you screen personnel? How will you verify the physical and network security of data centres?
  • Availability and reliability. Outages can and do occur. How do you ensure optimal data centre power and network connectivity?
  • Legal and regulatory compliance. Given that there are significant implications for those who fail to comply with data retention laws, consider whether you have the infrastructure, processes and procedures, and staff to achieve regulatory compliance. In Australia, directors are personally liable in the case of a breach.
  • Perimeter security model. Under this model, critical data and applications will exist outside enterprise network firewalls. How will you keep it safe?


Though having an on-premises system means that your business would be in total control, it also means that an internal hire will have to ‘own’ (ie. be responsible for) data security, and commit to being vigilant in keeping the system as secure as can be at all times.

Cloud Archiving Considerations

Data security is arguably the most pressing concern for all IT decision-makers, especially in the cloud. In fact, 49% of enterprise and 51% of SMBs cited security and privacy concerns about cloud (Forrester Research).

There’s no doubt that failure does happen, even for the largest companies. Just look at the recent Apple scare as an example. On the other hand, at other times, it’s actually safer (like when Google Enterprise President’s laptop was stolen, there was nothing on it because ‘everything was stored remotely – there was no loss of data, and no loss of productivity’).

However, there seems to be a misconception that data archived to the cloud is randomly sprinkled throughout it in an unsecured manner, when nothing could be further from the truth:

  • Physical access. If you’re archiving email in the cloud, it can’t get in the hands of an employee who wants to take it elsewhere in the form of a hard drive or server backup tape. The cloud reduces physical access to data, and locks down who has access to information.
  • Encryption. Any reputable provider will replicate encrypted archived data multiple times. If someone manages to gain unauthorised access to the encrypted data, they still won’t have the other half of the puzzle – namely the key to decrypt it. This ensures that only the right people see the data.
  • Commitment to security. Email archiving vendors are vigilant about data security. The rapid analysis technology they use locks down touchpoints where information is transferred from one place to another, identifies new threats and applies security patches. IT leaders in cloud security and data infrastructure systems management are focused on this task 24/7.

In the cloud, data lives on more reliable hardware infrastructure than what most mid-sized IT decision makers can afford on their own budget. For many of them, it’s simply easier to let the providers worry about delivering capabilities they could never afford, such as redundancy, multiple data centre backups, and climate-controlled data centres.

Here’s a summarised comparison of on-premises versus cloud email archiving:

On-premises Email ArchivingCloud Email Archiving

Stored within on-premise data centre – a single point of failure

Redundantly stored in multiple secure data centres

On-premise data centres are open to threats from all personnel, visitors, hackers, and theft (stolen laptops, BlackBerries, or files)

All personnel screened and monitored, visitors continually escorted by security professionals

Data stored inside network security firewall

Data is encrypted in transit (before leaving the firewall) and at rest within the cloud archive

Managed by in-house staff with many IT priorities

Managed by dedicated, full-time, messaging experts

If you’re looking at a cloud email archiving solution, remember to verify:

  • Integrity of machines being used. Are they an established business? Have they spent billions of dollars to maintain an appropriate cloud environment?
  • Measures being used. What kind of network security measures are there? What controls or lockdowns are in place?

No matter what email archiving solution you choose, it’s important to ask questions about these points. If you’d like to learn more, please download the full report:

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