Digitally archiving e-mails with archival value: why and how?

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Are you also dealing with an overflowing mailbox of incoming and outgoing mails? Is your mailbox more and more a database of all kinds of files and attachments? Then it's time to digitally archive your e-mails! Emails are an important form of information for businesses. Just think about how appointments are made, quotes are approved or information about files is shared. Emails are an integral part of business correspondence, which is why it is vital to preserve emails of value permanently. In this blog, we explain the principles of email archiving and give you an insight into how Zeticon can help you with these challenges for your organisation.

Why archive e-mails digitally in a central, digital archive room?

Different e-mail clients or webmail services such as Gmail and Outlook, for example, offer different functionalities for 'e-mail archiving'. For instance, you can create labels, move e-mails to thematic folders by file, client or subject via the 'archive' button.

These are especially handy features to create order in your mailbox by grouping emails, but what about emails that need to be kept for a longer period of time, in line with legal requirements and compliance? After all, e-mail clients are not made to keep e-mails permanently. After all, email clients use proprietary and compressed formats that risk losing metadata and information.

If information gets stuck in different systems, it is often difficult for organisations to keep track. Here, e-mail clients or webmail services act as a kind of silo where information stays with the same person. This slows down business processes considerably.

On top of that, they do not have extensive search functionality to look up information not only from e-mails, but also from attachments quickly and efficiently. It is therefore better to archive e-mails in a central, digital archive instead of an e-mail client or webmail service.

The 5 benefits of email archiving in a digital archive

1. Efficiency

A tidy inbox is like coming home to a clean house. Tidying up your inbox and prioritising, identifying and then archiving emails can free up space in your inbox. So avoid cluttered mail servers and make optimal use of your storage space.

In addition, you have a central management for all your archived e-mails instead of fragmented information in different e-mail clients. This way, you have one central source to start looking up information efficiently.

2. Guarantee authenticity and integrity

Authenticity and integrity are central properties in sustainable archiving. Authenticity means the document is what it claims to be and integrity means the content is complete and true. By digitally archiving your e-mails, you ensure the authenticity and integrity of your e-mails.

3. Guarantee legal compliance

In some sectors or organisations, it is a legal requirement to retain certain documents, including e-mail communication, for a certain period of time to comply with legal requirements. Digital archiving ensures that organisations comply with legal requirements and regulations on data retention.

4. Risk management

Archiving e-mails reduces the risk of losing important communications or evidence in case of disputes. Also, when employees leave the company, emails containing important information can be difficult to retrieve. Keeping a complete and orderly archive can help organisations protect their interests and reduce legal risks.

5. Improving accessibility

Digital archiving allows you to search, retrieve and access emails much more efficiently and quickly and also remotely. This improves the accessibility of information and reduces the time needed to find specific data compared to manual archiving methods.

Why archive with Zeticon's information platform?

Our platform offers various functionalities that ensure that your e-mails are stored permanently and that you can make maximum use of the aforementioned benefits. Here are some functionalities:

  • Quick and efficient access thanks to a flexible metadata model
    Various metadata can be added such as the genesis context of your e-mail, AVG/GDPR rules, etc. Through the metadata, you can add clarification on the subject or matter to which the e-mail relates. In addition, Zeticon's platform automatically creates links between emails, attachments and files, allowing you to track them quickly.
    Emails also contain hidden metadata, which makes long-term preservation through printed e-mails useless. This is because this metadata is lost or can become unreadable when you print the e-mail. Via our platform, all technical metadata is automatically uploaded into the application and is also searchable.
    The platform offers extensive search functionality where you can search in various ways such as via a free search field, in an advanced manner, search by synonyms, multilingual search, etc.
  • Guarantee of integrity and authenticity
    Thanks to the standard checksums and virus controls built into our information platform, e-mails and their attachments are checked for integrity and authenticity just like other files. This way, we assure you that no corrupt files are archived.
    Preserved link between e-mails and attachments
    When attachments are sent in a file format that is not durable, there is a danger of unusable files. This means that the file format can no longer be read because the software is no longer available. In e-mails drafted in HTML10, images are sometimes stored on an external web server because the message would otherwise become too large. You may lose these images if you do not keep them separated. In our platform, images, e-mails and attachments are kept as separate objects in a suitable archiving format. The specific hierarchy between the mail and attachments is preserved. Thus, we guarantee the complete overview of a specific e-mail correspondence and it is fully searchable, including the attachments.
  • Legibility guarantee thanks to preservation derivatives
    For the preservation of e-mails, EML and MSG are standard formats. These formats are also given a preservation format to ensure long-term preservation and consultation. As a user of our information platform, you can rest assured. Zeticon closely monitors technological developments in terms of file formats. When new formats emerge or become obsolete, we take the necessary steps to guarantee preservation. Depending on the file type of the attachments, preservation guides are also created for these.

  • Most suitable and secure environment
    Our platform ensures secure and sustainable storage of the e-mails and their metadata. This includes standard backups and redundant storage. Zeticon has a tested backup procedure, with the original stored in different, geographically separated locations. Several backups are taken periodically, each with its own retention time. So no worries that your data will be lost!

  • Possibility of interfacing with other platforms
    Thanks to Zeticon's open REST API, you can automate the archiving of your e-mails. You can forward e-mails from a specific folder of your inbox to our information platform. Another option is to set up rules in your inbox to determine which e-mails should be archived. This way, you avoid an export and ensure that your most important e-mails are archived and no information is lost.
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Written on Thuy Nguyen