CHALLENGES POSED BY 21ST CENTURY COMMUNICATION TOOLS ON INFORMATION ARCHIVING

The growth of the internet and web protocol has seen corporate offices and companies move from writing several communication memos to communicating with email and other social apps for team communication like Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google meet, and so on. However, despite the many benefits of using these e-communication tools, it brings about difficulties in archiving communication. With the traditional memos, it’s pretty easy to compile all communication into a huge database sorted by dates. Hence, anyone could access past communication in a jiffy.

ARCHIVING EDISCOVERY

1/4/2022

The growth of the internet and web protocol has seen corporate offices and companies move from writing several communication memos to communicating with email and other social apps for team communication like Slack, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google meet, and so on. However, despite the many benefits of using these e-communication tools, it brings about difficulties in archiving communication. With the traditional memos, it’s pretty easy to compile all communication into a huge database sorted by dates. Hence, anyone could access past communication in a jiffy.

So here begs the question. Should we ignore the new era of e-communication and return to the good old method that facilitates an easy paper trail?

NOT.

Hence, there is a need for optimal archiving solutions for companies and organizations across all sectors; manufacturing & production, medicine & health, banking & finance, and many other industries. Organizations should be able to communicate with their preferred social platform(s) with the assurance of a business solution that archives all business communications to keep a record of interactions in compliance with state regulations.

What is Information Archiving?

Information archiving involves collecting old and inactive information in various formats and moving it into a secure location to be retrieved if needed, such as in data forensics. With a versatile, search-ready archive, you can save time and money finding, protecting, collecting, and exporting potentially relevant material.

Essential Requirements of a Compliant and Legally Defensible Archive

Just as we have numerous methods to safely archive memos and physical documents, there are different options for archiving electronic conversations and documents. However, regardless of the archiving solution you choose, here are some critical standards your archive must follow to remain compliant and legally defensible:

1. Long-term Preservation: Long-term preservation implies system independence. Data cannot be linked to a specific technology set that will be obsolete soon. It must be stored in a standardized or industry-standard format that can be publicly accessible. The system will be able to convert archived data to these formats while tracking standard metadata to provide context for the communication. The software must be capable of transferring data from one medium to another as needed. This ensures that data is preserved over time, regardless of what happens to hardware, software, or software vendors. Data should be system-agnostic and not bound to a vendor because it is expected to be readable for years, if not decades. As a result, vendors who lock data in their systems are considered legitimate archives providers.

2. Data Integrity: Integrity refers to the ability to preserve content in its original form, and archiving systems must be built on this foundation. First, the content must remain unchanged. This requirement is heavily reliant on storage. Different forms of media, such as physical and logical WORM (Write-Once, Read-Many) and fixed and removable media, are defined by standards. These are storage areas where you can write stuff but not edit it once it’s been written. The system should also date the material and offer a signature or hash to verify that it hasn’t been tampered with. In most cases, the storage will provide excellent security to reduce the possibility of tampering. To ensure archive integrity, the capture method must be well described. Similarly, the destruction procedure must be established, and audit trails must be preserved after destruction.

3. Data Security: There is nothing mystic about maintaining data confidentiality and privacy. To allow for full user authentication, relevant systems must be in place. Users must also have access to data access controls, allowing them to choose who has access to what. This involves verifying the authenticity of access via multi-step authentication technology. Verifying confidentiality requires an audit trail of what has been accessed and by whom. It is necessary to report on these audits to know who accessed what. Because archives must be accessible at all times, the systems that support them must also be.

4. Traceability: Traceability begins with a system that records all operations performed on archived documents with a precise timestamp. The system must be able to give a full lifecycle trace on archived files, from capture through views to destruction. Policy-driven time stamping is required, allowing for the establishment of verifiable procedures for the entire lifecycle of documents. Any modifications to these procedures and rules should also be traceable. When these four requirements work together, your digital archive becomes legally defensible, helping your organization achieve compliant archiving. Yet, surprisingly, not many solutions available today map to these requirements.

Benefits of Archiving Data

Archiving is vital for information management and can give your company greater control over its information processes. As your business grows, employee interaction will increase, generating more communication data – that needs to be appropriately managed and monitored. Without an appropriate archiving system that lasts long, companies can find themselves on the wrong end of a legal battle with no proof, ruining years of hard work.

When data is not archived, it becomes difficult to locate important information when needed, negatively impacting business functions and overall productivity. Here are the top benefits of archiving your business communication.

1. Data protection: The digital archive has an extremely high level of security that protects the fidelity of archived information. First, secure authentication protocols can be enabled for authorized users to ensure secure access. This secure protocol provides role-based login, meaning that each authorized employee can be assigned different access privileges (A low-level officer cannot access managerial-privileged information). Also, user activity and logins are recorded in trace logs; hence, there is a record of everyone who tried to access information from the archive at any time. Finally, when it comes to data transit, encryption technology can be used to protect private information.

2. Environmentally-friendly business activities: “Sustainable business development” shouldn’t be a mere catch-phrase on your company’s website; a modern corporation that wants to attract customers and investors must prioritize sustainability. The most crucial aspect of sustainability is that even small initiatives count. Adopting paperless habits of storage is a fantastic place to start. The digital archive is your go-to tool for eliminating paper and adopting environmentally-friendly practices. You can save much paper and implement restorative practices simply by replacing paper with a digital archive for document storage and control.

3. Preventing human errors: As humans, we occasionally make mistakes while sorting and archiving physical data; a piece of information could be wrongly sorted, causing many problems. However, it is well known that computers do not make mistakes, especially with AI technology that reduces the need for a manual computer operator; the system automatically handles data archiving and presentation, avoiding document damage or loss due to human error.

4. Increased information processing: You can forget about sifting through many documents in a physical storage facility for a long and exhausting search. Instead, all of your data is collected and stored in a digital archiving system for as long as you need it. As a result, you can access information no matter how old it is by jotting down a key phrase or the date the document will be saved.

5. Automated document disposal: After the customer contract expires, to protect their privacy, the corporation must destroy all client information, according to GDPR standards. Dealing with paper documents might be difficult because you must physically shred piles of paper and ensure it is done thoroughly. Archiving lets you delete information with a single click of a button, saving you time and preventing customer data from being compromised. According to GDPR standards, the system must delete old information without leaving a trace.

6. Protection from physical damage: When actual paper documents are stored, they become vulnerable to water, temperature changes, and other types of harm. When you archive documents in a digital environment, you don’t have to be concerned about what might happen to them. Unlike a physical archive, a digital archive may be updated with the newest security software and other technologies that help protect your data. In addition, as all data is stored on the cloud, the information will remain intact even if you damage one of the devices.

7. Reduced storage space and human resources cost: Handling sensitive client information necessitates excellent attention to detail. You must provide security and storage capacity and find employees to administer the archive, audit data, and ensure everything is in working order. This adds much extra expenditure, and as the firm grows and the amount of documents grows by the day, the work gets increasingly difficult. Because the digital environment can hold many files without additional staff or physical space, an electronic archive saves you time and money. In addition, every authorized employee has mobile access to data and may control it.

8. Legal Requirements: It would help if you archived data for risk mitigation and legal reasons. Unfortunately, many businesses accidentally get rid of vital data and documents that they should keep legally. With an effective archiving system, company-specific retention schedules are strictly followed, regardless of each employee’s knowledge, saving the company significant amounts in penalties and legal settlements.

9. Faster audits: Most companies regularly conduct data audits to verify the safety and security of all their data. Doing this can be tedious using manual archiving tools because the paper is more prone to deterioration and damage, not to mention the time wasted checking all the files. A digital archive can be tailored to your business processes so you can conduct data audits as and when due. In addition, such a system processes data faster, misses no details and alerts you if something is missing.

Challenges Facing Electronically Stored Information (ESI) and Information Archiving

Communicating with electronic means is now commonplace, even in a corporate setting. Confidential company details are shared via emails and other social applications. As said previously, change is constant; hence, archiving information now focuses on getting Electronically Stored Information (ESI) rather than paper trails from documents and memos.

Despite the widespread breakthrough achieved by many software solutions, Archiving ESI still poses significant challenges for agencies, particularly in; ·

  • Handling voluminous data,

  • Filtering bulky transitory information, and

  • Collection of incoherent data.

Since the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020, E-communication has increased even further. Many companies have adopted a remote-first approach, conducting meetings via conference calls and handling team tasks with other software; this has increased communication volume, causing many software solutions to fail. It becomes herculean having to monitor the details or a video conference and several transitory information that may not be significant in the long run. For example, if a manager mails their employee, telling them to “use the company’s official car to run an errand,” the software has to archive this information. Whereas, without a remote approach, this conversation may be made in person, reducing the load on software systems.

Several transitional information makes the already increasing volume bulkier. Many software solutions have difficulty filtering this information to maintain only relevant ones.

Also, with a remote-first approach, nearly all communication is done electronically; as a result, people can use GIFs and emojis to convey their messages efficiently. Using GIFs, emojis, and voice messages midway through communication can confuse a software solution because many older software solutions aren’t optimized to interpret information for easy understanding when accessed.

It is also worth noting that companies/businesses communicate over several social applications, with never-ending data encryption and privacy updates. Hence, each social platform has its unique challenges when it comes to archiving ESI.

Is there a Solution?

Finding a digital archiving solution that functions well is essential; regardless of whether the company runs a fully-remote or physical office, ESI must remain archived without the fear of a failing system due to the abovementioned challenges. A poor archive system can expose businesses, leaving them with a lack of proof in case of litigation. Hence, ensuring that your organization has a backup of all communication and ESI is as vital as generating revenue. At Grotabyte, our unique value is providing an integrated platform that delivers a centralized, search-ready information archive powered by Artificial Intelligence. Hence, no matter how bulky, no information is wasted, misrepresented, lost or incoherent; our data collection technology is automated across all social platforms, despite individual challenges. Hence, information is collated to highlight the focus of every conversation, saving time and money. Our solutions are based on retention policies that can be specified or mirrored from the source to guarantee that data is only kept for as long as needed. Grotabyte is economical, easy to use, and ultimately effective.