Message Archiving: The Basics

Primer on Most Common Methods of Storage
Message Archiving: The Basics
Archiving is the long-term storage of information in a repository, usually compressed to reduce storage space. Archiving information helps reduce data loss, as it ensures that everything will never get lost and can always be accessed. Top priorities all in this era of e-discovery and computer forensics.

Email and messages are the most common types of data to be concerned with archiving in financial institutions today - particularly given regulatory mandates about necessary records-keeping.

An important part of archiving is the ability to search to find the necessary content, whether for an examination, legal case or just day-to-day business use. Even just a few months worth of correspondences can quickly create thousands of messages that would be difficult to browse through manually. Email archives should also be backed up on separate physical drives to protect against data loss.

Email Archiving Essentials

On the Enterprise Level:

Companies with email servers need to archive company email for security purposes. This ensures that employees' emails will remain available in case any security violations or legal issues arise.

Numerous email loggers are available to work with email servers, including Windows and Linux. The features that vary between software are compatibility with employee email clients, search capability for archived email, and the restoration process if data is lost.

On the Individual Level:

Many modern email clients have archiving features. Google's Gmail allows for archiving rather than deleting email. Deletion is also possible, but with the amount of storage space, archiving all Gmail messages is sufficient.

For email downloaded to personal computers, archiving messages through email clients is possible through Google Apps for an annual fee.

Message Archiving Essentials

Many voice messaging software clients have built in archive features that automatically log conversations. For instance, Skype automatically saves messaging conversations for 30 days.

Most messaging programs save their logs at the individual computer's level, with no centralized repository. This is good for employees being able to look back at previous conversations, but note: there is no universal access to employee chat logs at the enterprise level.

About the Author

Thomas Donchez

Thomas Donchez

Contributing Writer

Thomas Donchez is a graduate of East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Security and Computer Science. Tom is currently working toward his Masters Degree in Computer Science and resides near Allentown, PA.

With a strong background in computer security and great interest in current trends, Tom enjoys writing on security related topics. His recent research includes rootkit detection and advanced steganography methods, and his thesis work relates to network traffic analysis and reporting. Tom also spent three years as an ASP.NET web developer.

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