Email archiving systems: The forgotten element of cyber security

With cyber criminals ready to pounce on overlooked systems, there is no time to lose

Since the turn of the century, there's hardly existed an enterprise that doesn't to some extent rely on email. 

From business to business, emails are known to serve different purposes. In some, they double as a medium of informal communication between employees; in others, they are dedicated strictly to external formal communication. In most, it's a mixture of both.

Regardless of the blend, each day office workers receive on average a mammoth 121 emails, creating a data problem that brings to the fore compliance and security concerns. Email archiving systems have the ability to resolve these issues, yet for many enterprises they continue to go overlooked.

The data problem causes problems

121 emails is a lot of data, resulting in almost three-quarters of an organisation's intellectual property being housed within their email and messaging systems. Inboxes are being continuously stuffed with valuable information, and employees cannot afford to drag files to the recycling bin in case the documents need to be accessed in the future. 

A data amalgamation process is thus created that threatens to overwhelm servers. Yet perhaps more crucial than performance-lag is the fact that this data build-up creates an irresistible, large, and unmoving target for cyber criminals to aim at.  

Just because emails are no longer visible to the employee, doesn't mean they aren't vulnerable. Being stowed away here or there in some virtual folder does little to ensure protection. Data cannot simply be swept under the carpet.  

In fact, email borne threats are on the rise, with malware outbreaks regularly hitting the headlines and bringing organisations large and small to their knees. Combined with the struggle to meet data compliance regulation, never has it been more important to shore-up email defences, and that means addressing email archiving systems.

The role of email archiving systems

When it comes to business operations there's nothing more vital than email, as it's how departments internal and external communicate. With that functionality snatched away, businesses simply cannot operate in the same way. The ability to minimise downtime in the event of infiltration should therefore absolutely be prioritised, which is the primary function the email archiving systems serve. 

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Email archiving preserves emails through continuous backup and makes them searchable by capturing and storing all incoming and outgoing messages in an organised manner. Some solutions feature premier disaster recovery capabilities that further safeguard data, meaning that in the event of flooding or earthquakes, your email data is still available. 

The best systems also come with security features that present a defensive barrier typically strong enough to dissuade would-be infiltration attacks, again reducing the possibility of downtime. A Forrester study discovered that most organisations require better encryption capabilities, whilst only 30% believe their current systems support needs for automatic spam, malware and virus protection. Look for an email archiving system that addresses these concerns, providing the security measures necessary to allow employees to operate software with confidence. 

A desirable system should also ensure easy access through it's archives, be seamlessly integrated into existing infrastructure, and meet compliance requirements.

So why aren't they prioritised?

Why then, do businesses continue to overlook their email archiving systems? The software exists to ward off potential attackers, and yet the security gap isn't closing anywhere near fast enough.

The problem lies with awareness. Simply put, business users often don't know they're using an email archiving system. Under the assumption that such a thing doesn't exist, systems aren't given the attention they deserve despite their critical role in facilitating business operations.

So, allow time to study your email archiving system. Organisations would be well served to examine how effectively their current tools are fostering the speed and security demands of their users.

If current systems are found to be lacking, time mustn't be squandered. Cyber criminals are counting on you to continue overlooking your email archiving systems; until they are regarded as a priority, your emails will remain vulnerable prey.

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