Updated: Jul 20, 2020
In the age of COVID-19 we talk a lot about “Essential Workers”. These people play a critical role in preventing the people, our infrastructure, and the economy from collapsing. Let’s be honest, we didn’t identify our local grocery store clerks, or cleaning workers, to be “essential” before the novel coronavirus hit. But we quickly realized that the guy at the local auto shop we see every few months to change the oil in our car, needed to continue working so that medical workers could use their vehicles to get to and from hospitals. We now have a greater sense of what we need to keep the lights on and food on our tables. If/when another novel virus comes around that causes a global pandemic, we will be better prepared to handle the effects of it.
You might ask, “What do ‘Essential Workers’ have to do with archiving?” Well, archiving is essentially an essential worker of your technology environment. Publicly traded companies are governed by Sarbanes Oxley in the U.S.A. to retain email, for instance, for a specific duration (5 years minimum) in order to be in compliance. Hospitals, doctor’s offices, and any suppliers or manufacturers of medical equipment or devices, must adhere to HIPAA standards by the U.S. Government, which requires a minimum of 6 years retention of electronic documents. Private companies may not have any government standards to adhere to, but they should at least have a well written internal policy for records retention, and strictly abide by it.
The main reason for archiving is for potential litigation. If a company has a lawsuit against them, they might be asked to produce documents from as far back as they have data stored. That could be many years if they have not paid attention to where all the data may reside, such as a replicated Data Domain or tapes stored off site. However, if a private company has a documented policy for records retention, and they follow it to the letter on all media, they cannot be legally required to produce what they do not have. The same applies to governed institutions. It is also imperative to have solid e-Discovery capabilities for archived data, and well-trained personnel, which we will talk about below.
Ancillary benefits for archiving are to reduce the load on, and expense of, primary storage, as well as the ability to recall (restore) data not available on backup media. Some archives are able to recall whole items of “shortcut” data still residing on primary media, but this can be problematic.
So, what good is all this archived data if you can’t find it in the archive, right? That is where e-Discovery comes in. But you don’t want to just be able to find anything. The ability to refine your searches should be coveted. Not only do we want to ensure the results of the search matches the criteria, we also don’t want to drink from the fire hose, so to speak. As part of a lawsuit, for example, you only want to give opposing counsel exactly what they asked for. No more, no less. Any variation from this could cost millions in unnecessary expenses. If there is enough properly trained staff, good e-Discovery can be a major asset to any organization, big or small.
You might already have an archive repository. How’s that working out for you? Is it still current (i.e. supported)? Are new features being added? Do you have multiple archive repositories? Is the infrastructure required for it/them unwieldy? Does it take too long to find the appropriate data?
LMC Associates has assembled a team of industry professionals with many years’ experience designing, installing, managing, maintaining, and migrating archive data, as well as training staff on effective e-Discovery techniques. We have partnered with industry leading software companies that have created top of the market archiving tools to ensure your data is safe and discoverable. Work with us to consolidate and modernize your archive.
Author: Vincent Ghika. Vincent is an accomplished archiving specialist with 30+ years in IT and 10+ years in archiving and e-Discovery.