As your company grows and diversifies, so will your data volume. To avoid running out of data storage space, companies need to identify what type of data should be kept and for how long. In the case of an email, for example, these distinctions could also include different retention periods for different departments, different projects, or different levels of management. Retention policies also affect your storage space. As an administrator, you need to manage how individual mailboxes are used and estimate the amount of storage capacity required to retain email.
A good data archiving strategy will allow you to regain control of your growing data, optimize storage, and protect your data for compliance.
Here are some pro-tips to consider while planning your data archiving strategy:
Customize the email retention period and avoid retaining everything forever
A major pitfall when it comes to organization archiving is when an admin inadvertently enables “retain everything” as the default policy. However, imagine if you retain everything forever? The amount of data stored in your archive will not just affect the performance of the archive itself but will also result in mounting storage costs while skewing your data insights. To make the best-informed decision on your retention period, identify the users first. For example, in the case of top-level management or legal department, you can enable a “retain forever” option while restricting the retention period to a minimum for other employees.
Pro-tip: Identify the optimal retention period for all regulated information consistently across your organization or define separate retention periods as relevant to specific data or user types.
Meet the legal and regulatory obligations of your industry
Growing regulatory compliance requires organizations to retain sensitive data and make it available when required, which is the reason many of these unused files and emails are archived in the first place. These policies need to include schedules that demonstrate appropriate retention periods for the various categories of information. For example, HIPPA compliance requires a business to retain healthcare data for a period of 7 years. FINRA and SEC compliance also requires individuals or firms in the securities business to retain data for 6 and 7 years respectively in non-rewritable and non-erasable format.
Using a custom retention policy like Zoho Mail‘s, the admin can choose between “all user accounts” or select “specific accounts” include emails deleted from the user’s mailbox, or even in some special cases emails classified as spam. A good retention policy should allow filtering of emails that match certain criteria (such as sender, recipient, subject, content matches, attachment types or attachment content, etc.) and allow those emails to be retained for a specified period. Businesses that do not preserve data long enough to meet their legal and other regulatory obligations may face severe penalties as a result.
Pro-tip: Establish clear, recorded, and defensible retention policies that demonstrate your ability to meet business needs as well as legal and regulatory obligations.
Choose different parameters and customize your archival policies
Just as it is important to have policies in place that dictate how your data should be stored and for how long (pertaining to the sector), it is also important to realize that not every user is the same when it comes to archiving. For example, email exchanges from top management and legal teams cannot be treated as same as those exchanged internally or with customers. Using a strong custom archival policy, you can set certain archival conditions such as enabling a “retain forever” option for key members of the organizations or select appropriate archive conditions, such as emails older than a certain number of months or email size exceeding a certain limit, among others.
Pro-tip: Create custom archive policies for specific user groups with tailor-made retention periods and customize them further with certain archive conditions like age, message size, and more.
Reclaim your storage by releasing closed legal holds
A litigation hold requires an organization to preserve all data that may relate to a legal proceeding involving the company. This is to make sure that all documents relating to the litigation are not destroyed and are available for the discovery process. Placing a litigation hold on data increases storage costs and increases footprint exponentially over time, so releasing the hold is necessary once the investigation is closed. As you release the hold, any data with an expired retention period will be deleted, allowing you to regain storage.
Pro-tip: Release legal holds on your data once the investigation is closed and free up the storage space.
Manage user storage like a pro
Not all mailboxes grow at the same rate: some email power-users have mailboxes bloating to terabytes in a few years, while some others will never exceed their default mailbox quotas. Therefore, access to user storage reports like those Zoho Mail offers helps in understanding top users and user behavior. These reports help identify add-on storage requirements or choose proactive management by sharing the pool of shared storage space among users.
Pro-tip: Developing a full picture of your organization’s data use and requirements enables you to set the most efficient policy, ensuring that your storage is optimized efficiently.
Cost optimization tip: For larger organizations with infrastructure support staff and other non-core business employees who might not require archiving, you might consider using a mix of Zoho Mail Premium plans (which includes archival storage with eDiscovery and a 50GB storage) and Zoho Mail’s Lite plan (without eDiscovery and archival storage).
You can also try to mix and match by purchasing only the required licenses and assign the right licenses to the people who need them.
Make these tips and tricks part of your admin toolkit to use archival storage efficiently. Try Zoho Mail‘s archive options eDiscovery to safeguard your organization’s data for compliance while keeping your budget optimal and user experience seamless.