An enterprise information archive should be much more than cheap storage and data resiliency, or place to hunt for (or lose) long forgotten evidence in the event of an eDiscovery case. In fact, the enterprise archive, be it for email, files or IM conversations, now has a vital role to play in increasing employee productivity, rather than just being a dark and dusty vault where data goes to die.
As analyst firm Ovum predicts enterprise end-user mobility will be top of the CIO agenda in 2015, ask yourself how quickly can your users find that two-year-old email or vital attachment while on the move? It’s worth considering how a lack of mobility will affect client response times or employee satisfaction in your organization.
The good news is that the move to better and brighter times has already begun. In its Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving 2014, Gartner predicted that by 2019, “75 percent of organizations will treat archived data as an active and “nearline” data source, and not simply as a separate repository to be viewed or searched periodically.” For enterprise CIOs, this means we’ve got roughly five years to think about uncovering value in the vast quantities of data we store for undefined purposes at an undefined point of time in the future.
But balancing the information needs of an increasingly mobile workforce with secure and highly-available services often present a major challenge, particularly for traditional on-premises IT environments. As your data volumes grow exponentially, and you bank more valuable data, many businesses are looking to the cloud to solve these demands.
Elastically scalable storage, predictable subscription costs, performance, ubiquity of access and high availability are important factors but the real advantage here is increased flexibility around scale and style of deployment as well as use of these services. Cloud archives can more easily accommodate connections to live Outlook services, SharePoint and third-party APIs. Moving the email archive to the cloud makes it easier to allow employees to search all of their data through their phones and tablets, a simple victory that is largely unsupported by on-premises archive vendors. All of these reasons mean an ‘active archive’ can only exist in the cloud; the limitations to performance, scalability, access, security and usage are too great when the archive remains on-premises.
Cloud archiving vendors are also the only type of technology vendor who are going to have a product roadmap that aims to create new and innovative ways to bring your data to life. Most cloud firms roll out changes, improvements and new features on a continuous delivery schedule so there is always something new to delight your end users. By contrast, older less agile, on-premises technology vendors are usually stuck to a rigid multi-year release cycle that imposes significant burdens on your technical team – re-indexing your archive because of new ‘engines’ or search providers is a great example from two of the market leaders of on-premises archive technology. We don’t want to do that again in a hurry, that’s for sure.
Having an active archive for your enterprise information offers the business a single, secure repository in the cloud in which all your corporate memory can be stored is a simple, yet highly effective and strategic way for the long term retention of your data. For your end users, simply supporting their use of mobile devices will be a significant coup in what is seen as a stodgy and un-cooperative application service. But, continuing to delight them with ways of experiencing and interacting with that data today and into the future will at last give them a way to find more productive ways of working.
If you’re stuck in the past and trying to break free from the aging and outmoded on-premises archive, this video may help you. I recently sat down with Gartner research director, Alan Dayley, to break down the beneﬁts of the cloud over on-premises email archiving.