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What is Archiving Software?
Archiving software, also known as Enterprise Information Archiving (EIA), is designed to efficiently store, index, and retrieve multiple file types in a long-term virtual archive. These files, such as images, invoices, CAD documents, voicemail, emails, website, and business social media content, are stored with metadata to meet discovery and classification requirements. This means the archive must be searchable to facilitate indexing and recovery of all stored material in its original context.
Data archiving is the process of identifying and transferring data that is no longer active from production systems to long-term storage. Archival software tools ensure that data is stored in an organized way and preserved in its original context for the long term.
Most companies use archiving software for email, instant messaging, and social media data compliance and retention. Archive software collects and packages files together and stores them in long-term storage, creating more short-term disk storage.
The key difference between archiving software and is that archiving software deals exclusively with original historical data. An archive system is designed to allow continuous and easy access to decades of business data in its native form. In contrast, backup software duplicates files and data from one system to another to restore it quickly in the event of a failure.
Archiving Software Features
Archiving software often includes the following features:
- Advanced search functionality
- Central management dashboard
- Data compression and encryption
- Data deduplication and deletion control
- Document tagging
- Email archiving
- External storage connection
- File recovery
- Granular storage management
- Long term data retention
- Offline access
- Optical character recognition (OCR)
- Platform support
- Regulatory compliance tracking
- Restore to current format
- Revision control
- Storage optimization
- Tiered storage
- User access controls
- Web archiving
Archiving Software Comparison
When comparing archiving software, consider the following:
Compliance requirements. Every business needs archival procedures that comply with regulations, but no one-size-fits-all solution exists across industries. It’s uncommon for a software solution to suit every possible need. Before evaluating options, assess and prioritize industry-specific characteristics vital to your company. Eliminate products that do not provide the essential features you need to meet corporate and industry requirements.
For instance, if your organization handles personal health information, you’ll need a solution that satisfies compliance laws, such as HIPAA’s long-term retention requirements. Organizations that handle sensitive and financial data will require advanced security and data restoration features. Also, consider if the service provider utilizes industry-certified data centers that meet ISO or SSAE compliance.
Storage mediums. It’s important to choose a software solution that works with the data and archival system your business is using. Possible storage mediums for data archiving include tapes, disks, flash storage, hard drives, and virtual and cloud options. Smaller companies and newer enterprises may find that physical storage mediums work best for them. However, as organizations get larger, virtual archives utilizing cloud storage are usually a better solution. Cloud storage helps enterprises streamline processes, increase security and compliance, and offers high capacity with lower storage costs.
Scalability and support. Regardless of how much data is being processed today, increased storage needs are inevitable. If your business is growing, you’ll want to find a solution that can scale with you. Also, consider whether the product can support your organization’s hardware platform and the level of customer service you may need to onboard.
Demo and test. Take the time to explore your options and ask for a demo to test the solution you are considering. Look for vendors who can provide services for all of your data types (e.g., email, mobile voicemail and text messages, social media, invoices, or sensitive data). This will help you streamline your processes and manage your communications from a centralized system.
Access controls. Some archiving solutions only allow you to create pre-set user roles. In contrast, others will enable you to customize the number of roles you can create and assign permissions to specific ones. It's also critical for the archiving software to provide a complete access log (activity trail). This will help departments restrict user activity on the platform and monitor for potential misuse.
Most archiving software products are priced by month or year. The cost depends on the volume of data to be processed and the level of features. Most vendors in this category offer free trials, and some free tools are available that can be helpful for limited budgets. Entry-level plans range $10 - $50/mo or $25 - $50/yr. Mid-market plans range from $100-$350/mo. Some one-time license options also exist. Single license options range from $275 - $3750/user. Enterprise-level single license options can be as much as $15,000.