Whether it’s an angry hurricane or a destructive fire, disasters can and will happen. Sadly, most businesses that suffer through a disaster will fail within two years. Digital archiving is one effective tool you can use to help protect your organization’s long-term health against the threat of a disaster.
What are digital archives?
Digital archives are electronic versions of your company’s historical assets. Archive content is fixed and not needed for current operations; its main purpose is long-term storage and retrieval. Archives can provide an automated mechanism for regulation-mandated records retention, and typically have extensive metadata attached to allow for search and retrieval of even the oldest records.
How are archives different from backup?
Contents in your digital archives don’t change to reflect your daily operations. Archived data is not in current use and will be kept essentially as-is over the long term. Backup for disaster recovery, however, generally involves up-to-date copies of operational information that can be restored quickly. In fact, you’ll even want to back up your archives to protect yourself in the event something should happen to the original files (a safety net not available with paper-based archives). Remember this rule for backing up: three copies, on two types of media, in one additional location.
Why are archives needed?
Digital archives go beyond operational recovery (disaster response) and organizational recovery (business continuity). Your company doesn’t want to lose regulatory records or long-term, institutional history. Corporate governance, litigation, and regulatory compliance all demand data be archived past three, seven, or even ten or more years. Digital archives also provide security and traceability, with audit trails recording who accessed what, when, and what they did.
What else should I consider?
Since digital archives are for the long term, don’t forget to address issues such as life expectancy (of the software required to read data and the storage technologies themselves), increasing capacity needs over time, and the eventual disposal of the data.
A disaster could strike at any time. If you want your business to be one that bounces back after the worst happens, it’s time to get started with digital archiving. Contact Infomax today to learn more.