In a traditional sense, archiving is the preservation of historical documents and records. These are often unique documents such as government papers or books of historic importance. But in the digital world, Document Archiving has a slightly different meaning. It is a way for companies to save documents and information without taking up space on the main server. Here are some facts about document archiving to understand it better.
What is document archiving?
In electronic document management, archiving is where you off-load data that is rarely or never used from expensive, primary storage to a less expensive secondary storage. This data can still be accessed when needed and is secure but isn’t taking up space on the primary storage area. The secondary storage can also be off-site with a service offered by a document storage specialist.
Electronic archiving often uses a process called concatenating files – compressing and encrypting them. This makes them take up less room on the storage facility and also means that the only people who can access the data are people with the key.
Why use document archiving?
The use of archiving storage has a couple of main benefits. Firstly, it helps speed up the primary storage as it doesn’t need to hold as much non-essential information. This is stored on the secondary storage which isn’t accessed on a daily basis and therefore can run a little slower. As much as 80% of business data can be classed as ‘non-mission critical’ which means it isn’t required for the daily running of the business.
The other reason is that it can cut down on costs. The need to upgrade storage on the primary facility, for example, can be expensive. But if that non-critical data is stored elsewhere, the space on the primary storage will last much longer. And it is easy to access when the required to keep it has expired and the data can be safely deleted.
Using such a system also helps the business keep compliant with various regulations. For example, if you are required to keep receipts and other financial information for seven years, this can be a lot of data. By condensing it and storing it off-site you make this requirement less intensive on the business while easily complying with regulations.
Data archiving software – what does it do?
There are various options for data archiving software and the company you work with may have a preference or even a bespoke system. Electronic data archiving often makes use of automated programs. These can identify low use records and then automatically move these to the secondary storage. Often these can be accessed online such as through web storage facilities.
You can run some document archiving systems within the business. The biggest problem with this is that technology is constantly changing, and this means systems become obsolete. This is why many companies choose to work with a specialist who has the latest software and hardware at no extra expense for your company.
As technology changes, older stored documents may be in obsolete formats. Again, you can invest in software to read and access them if you want but using a document archiving specialist can save the expense and the need to learn the new software.
It can be surprising just how much data a business can aggregate over time. Some of this isn’t personal data but all need to be carefully handled. By having a clear document archiving plan in place, you can ensure what is done and when to cover everything from moral obligations to legal requirements and be able to track steps taken to cover these.
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