Enterprise Data Management (EDM) is an essential component of maintaining the fluidity of business operations. It represents the process of gathering, cataloging, and preserving sensitive business information thus ensuring its continuous availability to relevant entities for ensuring company growth.
Having in mind that the biggest portion of business information is relayed via email – 97% – in regulated industries, EDM must include email archiving as a way of capturing and storing data in a standardized and safe manner for a prescribed amount of time. Not only does it automate the process, but it also removes the possibility of tampering with information and makes it continuously available to authorized personnel.
How Does Enterprise Data Travel?
Every successful company operates like a well-oiled machine but this is only made possible by maintaining an uninterrupted flow of information. Business information that is shared between team members also needs to travel across company departments in order to be utilized maximally.
This is one of the reasons behind creating company-wide email retention policies – to ensure all information necessary for internal processes and external collaborations is available at all times in its original form.
In this sense, successful data management doesn’t differ much from managing employees and their communication skills and habits.
By creating and implementing a wholesome communication policy in the workplace, companies are in the perfect position to ensure the use of approved channels, appropriate language, and ultimately complete usability of all information years after it is created and shared.
Who Is Responsible for Managing Enterprise Data?
While it’s every employee’s responsibility to follow company guidelines pertaining to all aspects of communication to ensure email compliance, companies also need to assign specific tasks in service of the same goal.
- IT managers (put in place strategies and procedures for proper information handling)
- Sysadmins (find and utilize suitable archiving tools)
- Compliance officers (ensure the information is preserved in line with regulations).
Bear in mind that with 121 emails an average worker receives every day, large quantities of information are shared both within an organization and outside of its boundaries. The bigger the number of people involved in data exchanges the greater the need for high-quality email archiving solutions that capture and preserve it as part of company-wide policies. In that sense, the better the thought-out retention strategies are, and the more strict the rules, the less risk for a company and its employees.
When creating an EDM strategy, certain aspects need to be seriously considered to ensure its success. Here are the most important ones.
Create a Data Retention Policy
In regulated industries, companies are obligated to preserve data for an appointed amount of time. Depending on the industry and the region the company operates in, that period varies from several years to indefinitely.
For example, FINRA requires companies to save all brokerage companies to store emails containing stock exchange information for at least seven years, while HIPAA poses an indefinite deadline.
Having in mind that it’s industry standard for all emails to be archived indefinitely, it’s up to the companies to set expunge periods in line with the relevant retention policy regulations.
Identify Information Types
As previously mentioned, certain types of data must be preserved longer than others, but first data must be properly classified. Therein lies the purpose of mandatory data audits followed by adequate action that will ensure proper enterprise data management.
For example, according to the Data Protection Act, employee personal data cannot be stored for longer than necessary. Aside from ensuring data safekeeping during that time, it also specifies that information about former employees must be deleted after six years, and that of job applicants after the position is appropriately filled.
Email archiving solutions, therefore, must be able to identify data according to set criteria to enable companies to become and remain legally compliant.
Ensure Data Classification Consistency
If you’ve assigned certain properties to your email correspondence, then the same practice must be consistently followed by all organization members. The same rules must apply to avoid data inconstancies and cause issues with financial consequences.
Having labels assigned to data in the same manner across company departments will also ensure nothing slips through the cracks and all information is easily searchable and retrievable.
For instance, by adding a profanity label in the email archiving system a company can not only create timely alerts but also facilitate extracting evidence in case of related litigations.
In this sense, proper data management rests on creating clear company policies as much as their execution.
Secure the Data
Storing company data is meaningless if it doesn’t ensure necessary information safety and integrity. Therefore, the focus of automated tools is to protect not only high-risk but all data.
The most secure email archiving solutions pride themselves in setting up several layers of protection from external intruders, but also company employees without adequate access permissions.
Tools with established numerous user roles and audit logs ensure that no person can gain access to the information outside of their scope of professional interest, as well as recording all user actions.
Not only is securing data against tampering an effective tactic in handling copious amounts of sensitive company information, but it can prove crucial in maintaining email compliance and successful data management.
Managing enterprise data is a continuous process that will ensure not only optimal company resource usage but also play a role in preventing and successfully resolving external and internal conflicts. It includes determining how information should be handled and utilized, by whom, when, in what form, and for what purpose.
In that sense, email archiving should be a must for companies in all industries and regions that want to be able to access their information quickly, cut financial losses, and operate within legal boundaries.
Authored by guest contributor Alexandra Djordjevic who is a linguist who enjoys using English (among other languages) every day. Once an elementary school ESL teacher, now she writes about marketing, business, automotive, cybersecurity, SaaS, and whatever else piques her interest. Reading, watching, and listening to everything and anything under the sun shapes her professional and personal worlds on a daily basis.