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To Archive or Not to Archive: Types of Email and Data to Archive

April 27, 2016

Data Backup and Archiving
One of the things companies do in order to speed up their servers is to have their personnel archive data and emails periodically. Apart from these scheduled archiving dates, companies should also indicate what kinds of data should be archived. Not all emails and information that you have on your computer need be backed-up and stored for future use since not all of these are actually needed for such requirements.

So, how do you determine what types of data and what emails should be archived and which ones can be scrapped? You should be aware that what you might perceive as trash can be valuable to your company, so it might be a good idea to set guidelines for archiving. Knowing what can and cannot be deleted will help save your company from headaches in the future, and can also help you preserve the information that you may need when the time comes.

Types of Data To Be Archived and to Not Archive

Company Critical Information – this is what makes your company run and is the type of information that only a select few actually have access to. These consist of documents that cannot be remade or recreated, and these include contracts, tax documents, credit card information, insurance policies, and other similar documents. These should not only have copies in your archive, but should also be backed up a few more times, with encryption of course. This is the kind of data that needs to be on your backup servers, in your cloud storage, and your archives, just in case one or more of these become inaccessible.

Operations Required Data – how do you determine if data is required and should not be deleted, but can actually be recreated and remade? These are the reports and email threads that you need for work. These are documents that are used to show progress, that outline what transpired, what deals were made, and when deadlines are set. Operations required data, or necessary data, should not only be backed up, but also archived in case the back-up cannot be accessed. This information is usually gained from workers who create these and who communicate with your clients, vendors, and other entities that work with your business.

Spam emails, personal messages, and useless data – some companies find that not all of the personal messages that a person receives via their email is considered trash. Useless data however (like those downloaded gifs and funny images that you send to co-workers for a quick laugh) are just that, useless data, and can be easily discarded. Spam emails are usually marketing messages and advertising, so these can also be thrown out of your storage. For personal messages, if these are between co-workers, companies usually decree that these be archived instead of just deleted. The same goes for personal correspondence that may be used in litigation in the future, whether it actually has something to do with the business or not.

Outdated Data – these are expired contracts, email threads that are more than a year old, and other similar types of information. Since these can still be used as reference materials for future needs, these can be archived but not necessarily backed-up.

Not all companies have the same policies for archiving and backing up data. You will need to determine your own and roll this out to your employees so they know what to preserve and what can be thrown out.

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