Raise Your Archiving IQ: 5 Advantages of Cloud Archiving

Whether to migrate from on-premise to a cloud archive is one of the biggest decisions firms are now having to make. Here are 5 advantages of archiving data in the cloud in a digital-first world.

25 April 2022 6 mins read
By Jennie Clarke

Businesses today are generating higher volumes of communications data than ever before. With the rise of remote and hybrid work, and geographically dispersed teams, there is an ever-widening range of platforms in use to keep team members connected. But while communication is the lifeblood of today’s businesses, many are struggling with how to supervise and manage all the data that is gathered and stored from these platforms.

This expansion in communication channels has also left many firms (particularly those in financial and other highly regulated industries) grappling with a combination of legacy on-premise storage options to retain vast volumes of historic data (from traditional data sources like email), as well as ‘new’ communications data. The latter is being created in huge volumes through companies’ use of increasingly diverse data types including social media, collaboration tools like MS Teams and Slack, as well as a range of other unified communications services that enhance business process and improve how enterprises interact, such as SMS, VoIP, and video conferencing.

To mitigate compliance exposures, some firms have taken to storing everything they gather in separate data lakes, which are centralized repositories to store data in its native, or raw, form. Storing data this way however is not guaranteed to solve an organization’s compliance woes, as a lack of data optimization available in this format means that firms risk retaining data that is no longer useful, or which could produce the wrong results or insights when required.

Without good classification of their data (e.g. by what a given communication is about and exactly who is involved in the communication), firms tend to retain all, which is a risk. The same applies even to newer cloud-based data lakes.

Data lakes aside, whether to maintain an on-premise, legacy storage infrastructure – or move to the cloud – is one of the biggest decisions that firms are now having to make.

Five Reasons to Migrate to Cloud Archiving

1. Compliance Made Simple

Regulation mandates firms to retain electronic communications data in line with compliance obligations. Cloud archives play an important role in helping to maintain regulatory compliance. Organizations that store their data within an on-premise, or legacy system, often have to retrospectively build-in the features and flexibility that cloud applications can offer as a default – such as the efficient capture of new data sources. This lines up well with regulation because cloud systems are more adaptable, enabling firms to retain information across business communications and applications in an accessible way for supervision or compliance audits.

2. Lower Storage Costs

Running on-premise archives can be a significant cost burden. Acquiring the software, hardware, storage capacity, and maintaining the workforce to create and support on-site archiving facilities is a major investment. Archiving in the cloud, however, can be a much less expensive option, with up to 30% less costs cost than on-premise solutions. Without the responsibility of creating and managing the infrastructure, organizations gain the benefits of storing data that will likely be required in the future without having to dedicate significant resources to it. This is especially important for companies with a smaller footprint who are looking to get the most out of their data long term.

3. Agility & Scalability

On-premise systems do not offer the flexibility that cloud systems can. For example, a firm with 1,200 employees, operating an on-premise system, may need to buy a 1,200-user version of an application outright and deploy hardware and an IT team to support it – even if only 100 employees will be using it initially. Agile and scalable cloud systems can dynamically scale for changing user counts and data volumes. As such they allow firms to buy exactly the level of subscription they need at any given time, enabling their operating expenses and level of usage to be more accurately matched.

4. Greater Flexibility

Cloud systems allow users to triage all of their data based on their requirements. Without the flexibility these systems give, companies still retain all the important information they need for compliance reasons but can struggle to locate it. As needs change over time and companies gain new sources of data, having the ability to tier data and remain compliant is crucial.

5. Stress-Free Data Discovery

A cloud-native archiving solution will sort, classify, and index data as it gets archived. Volumes of data will automatically be put into cases and made available based on function. Users across functions can then easily search within the archived data to locate the files that they need. While the majority of cloud vendors offer such capability, the ability to perform quicker, intelligent searches based on advanced classification is becoming more critical. Furthermore having a centralized location for all communications data allows users to better visualize all the information they have gathered using the metadata gathered from the archive. As a single platform solution for the capture, retention, search, and analysis of data across over 100 data types, this is an area where Global Relay Archive excels in terms of enabling more seamless data discovery.

On-Premise Archive vs Cloud Archive

Historically, firms have chosen to host data on-premise due to concerns over data security and control. Many believed storing their data outside their network on third party-owned and operated servers diminished their authority and control over it – making them potentially more vulnerable to security and privacy breaches. However, modern cloud solutions provide superior levels of security, reinforce existing security protocols, and even offer security measures beyond that of what the firm can do alone – including cybersecurity protocols.

Storing data long term and maintaining compliance for a widening range of communications channels will continue to be challenge. While turning to the cloud for archiving data may not feel “necessary,” it can help businesses get the most out of their data sooner than later. Cloud archives offer improved data accessibility, decrease data storage costs, and help ensure regulatory compliance as more communications channels are used in the workplace. Archiving data is an important part of a robust data storage strategy, and moving to the cloud can often be the missing piece of that puzzle.

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Published 25 April 2022

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