5 Reasons It's Time to Upgrade Your Archiving Solution to the Cloud

By John Russo on March 30, 2017
John Russo

VP of Compliance Technology

John has experience deploying compliance solutions at Bank of New York Mellon, Bloomberg, Citi, Janus, Lehman Brothers, and Barclays.


The rate at which communication technology is changing makes maintaining an up-to-date, in-house message archiving system an overwhelmingly involved task for many firms. More and more organizations are generating savings and productivity by moving their archive to the cloud. Particularly in heavily regulated industries like finance, on-premise archives are quickly becoming a thing of the past. In companies that make the switch to cloud-based archiving, the benefits are seen immediately by Information Technology, Compliance, Legal, email users and more.

Here are five key reasons why on-premise systems may be incompatible with the future of compliant, productive, and economically sustainable companies.

  1. Performance

    Many on-premise systems simply do not scale. As a firm’s archive grows, search performance quickly deteriorates. In an on-premise system, a complex eDiscovery search will typically take hours to complete. In some cases, users report search times in excess of 12 hours , with no way of knowing if the selected search terms will turn up the desired results. A cloud-based system can employ scalable technologies and dynamically allocated resources to complete the same search in a fraction of the time, usually within seconds. 

    Data exports can also be painfully slow on an on-premise system, and often fail because the export times out or the servers run out of resources. It is not uncommon for IT staff to set a large export to run over a weekend, and then return to find that the process failed. Audits and legal requests typically demand quick turnaround times. If searches and exports are slow and unreliable, your firm can be fined as a consequence of missed deadlines in audit scenarios.

    Even in smaller organizations, old infrastructure can’t keep up as the volume of electronic communications increases year over year. When archive performance degrades, a backlog of data waiting to be ingested can build on mail servers. With a finite amount of available storage, mail infrastructure can suffer from performance degradation and possible mail outage.

  2. Cost
    In initial estimates, on-premise installations often appears to be the more cost-effective option. However, a thorough analysis of the total cost of ownership reveals this to be completely misleading.

    Part of the appeal of an on-premise system is the promise of a permanent in-house solution. Unfortunately, due to natural deterioration and changes in technology, a hardware refresh including purchasing and deploying additional and more powerful servers is typically required. This is in addition to ongoing IT resources, downtimes, maintenance costs and man-hours related to the testing and implementation of vendor patches, upgrades, in-house scripts, and more.

    On-premise systems also consume valuable data center rack space, and add the associated costs related to power, cooling and dedicated staffing. Cloud-hosted solutions take the expense of a data center off the hands of IT.
  3. Reconciliation
    Without custom in-house scripting and development, organizations have no guarantee that every message that passed through a company’s servers was archived. For example, messages that cause problems are often sent to failed folders within the journal mailbox, and not archived directly, if at all. Even the most diligent support staff finds it difficult to resolve these failures in a timely manner. Custom in-house converters are typically deployed to handle external data feeds, which introduce added complexity and support overhead. This often leads to delays, and communications can fail to be archived properly. The regulatory, legal and reputational consequences of Systemic Record and Email retention failures can be devastating, and have led to multimillion-dollar fines.
  4. Additional Message Types
    Most on-premise systems are initially set up for email. When other message types are added, they are typically flattened into an email format, with no representation of the original message structure or metadata. This is difficult for users and reviewers to read, and prevents searching based on message type.

    In recent years, changes in communication technologies have necessitated the archiving of instant messages, social media, and even text messages. With a cloud solution, a vendor can add converters for new message types based on customer demand. Because changes are easily implemented remotely, new message types can be presented cleanly and with rich metadata, rather than shoehorned in to an email-oriented system.
  5. Managing Complexity
    It takes a great deal of time to oversee an in-house system. Because archiving touches so many parts of an organization, changes in assignments or personnel can easily take attention away from the archive. This leads to system degradation, which, when left unchecked, can lead to a complete stalling of email traffic. Furthermore the system integrations necessary to achieve compliant archiving requires in-depth knowledge to capture all messages types including email, instant messaging, social media and other business communications platforms.  In order to be compliant in most cases, these communications must be captured in a manner in which the native formats must be retained. Copies of messages will simply not suffice.

    Why would a financial firm want to take on such a complicated IT challenge? With so many moving parts, the risks are very high, especially during a regulatory audit or litigation eDiscovery request.

For a dedicated vendor such as Global Relay, the challenges of archiving are our complete focus. Our systems are monitored, upgraded and secured to an extent that even the largest IT team cannot take on. Moving the responsibility of archiving to Global Relay will free IT engineering and support teams, reduce costs, increase compliance and legal efficiencies, and allow staff to focus on the tasks that help your firm reach its goals.


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