So much of today’s workflow—likely the vast majority of it—is communicated and transferred via email. This is convenient, of course. Near-instant exchange of ideas, files, and data keep your organization’s tasks flowing smoothly. But when the concept of email was instituted, there was no way to predict how versatile and ubiquitous it would become as a method of transferring data. Because of that, it’s not very efficient as a storage system, especially when hosting your organization’s email capabilities on your own servers.
Good Habits Gone Bad
We’ve all said, in the course of the work day, “I still have that file in my email, somewhere,” and gone to search for it. From the individual’s standpoint, it makes sense—why save a file they don’t intend to edit on a local machine? It seems more efficient, from that point of view, to use email as a single, centralized repository for data. After all, it not only saves the file, but by its nature saves it with several helpful associations (date, purpose, source, and so forth).
Unfortunately, from and administrative point of view, this isn’t particularly efficient. First, it often means massive amounts of duplicate data. Second, depending upon the search functions possible, retrieving old data can be near impossible. For example, if the software’s search function does not allow the user to search within file attachments, the user must remember the actual name of the file or title of the email to which it was attached.
All of this data, including the data within the emails themselves, must be curated; this is something of a nightmare for the IT team and extremely wasteful in terms of resources. But there’s another way—one which doesn’t require users to save all of their email information on a local machine.
Cloud Based Email & Data
Cloud based services offer an enormous advantage over locally based services in many different aspects. First, there’s little need to concern yourself with the amount of storage space available, as the service can tailor the storage potential to your organization’s needs. Second, there can be an incredible reduction in duplicate data thanks to cloud based file storage. When a file is sent by email, it can be stored (singly) on the cloud; any identical attachments need not take up more space. Third, users can collaborate while working on the file, seamlessly, again, without taking up more space. Finally, search capabilities can be established to search within these files, allowing users to easily find and access them.
Making the Switch
If your organization is interested in cloud based email data preservation, there are numerous different providers and options available, with a wide range of price points to consider. Find a number of different reputable sources and consider which have the features best suited to your needs. Also, take into account their customer service reviews and how much technical support they are likely to offer before you commit to a single service.