The earliest record of data archiving dates back to 3000 BC. when ancient Greeks decided to preserve the knowledge of the cultures, politics, languages, and alphabets present in their surroundings. The world’s first known library dates back to the 7th century BC, and its archive boasted around 30 thousand clay tablets sorted based on topic.
The first corporate data archives were created in the 60s and 70s, when companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Coca-Cola, Bank of America, and Ford, started to archive data to improve upon past mistakes and stay ahead of the competitors. Today, information archiving is an essential component of running any business. Let’s see why.
What Is Data Archiving?
Data or information archiving is the practice of preserving important corporate data by moving it onto a designated storage device. The goal of archiving corporate data is long-term retention for the sake of regulatory or operational purposes. Companies usually store non-primary archived information on a lower-cost storage device.
Data archiving starts with a professional assessment of the types of data a company needs to save for future retrieval. Information archives are fully indexed and searchable to make data retrieval as seamless as possible. A data archive can be set to read-only, or it can allow for reads as well as writes.
The Importance of Information Archiving
Data archiving is a very important practice because it enables businesses to preserve important corporate information while saving money on storage space. Thanks to various helpful data archiving tools and software, companies can archive and retrieve corporate data with great efficiency and reliability.
An archive makes it easy to retrieve data that needs to be audited for regulatory purposes. This includes anything from contracts, cash expenditures, payroll reports, board meeting minutes, expenses from receipts and forms, etc. Companies that do not have such documents readily available may have an auditing process that’s unnecessarily long or expensive.
Data Archives vs. Backups
Let’s make a clear distinction between a data archive and a data backup. Although both are viewed as secondary repositories, they have entirely different use cases. A data backup is a copy of critical data used for quick recovery, protection, and business continuity. Data archives are used for long-term data retention and usually contain infrequently accessed data.
Offline vs. Online Data Archives
There are several different ways in which companies archive data. Some use online storage, which archives information onto an easily accessible disk system. Then there are data archives that are stored offline, usually written to removable physical media such as tape. Another option is archiving corporate data in the cloud, which is the most flexible option.
Best Practices for Archiving Data
Before you start creating a data archive, you first need to make an inventory of important documents, files, records, etc. A data professional should categorize all information based on what’s needed for ongoing business tasks and what can be moved to an archive. Creating a data archive frees up storage space and saves money at the same time.
You also need to think about the lifecycle of your archived data. This is especially important when using cloud storage. Determining exactly when old data needs to be purged will do wonders for your budget. Here are some other best practices for archiving data you should have in mind:
- Choosing the right tools — Try finding a solution that has advanced search capabilities
- Preparing for regulatory compliance — Create a data archival strategy that’s compliant with existing regulations
- Creating an information archiving policy — identify and document all the essential procedures and processes for handling data
Data archiving is the practice of preserving non-primary, but still important corporate data to be accessed at a later date for compliance or other reasons. Due to the sheer amount of information, businesses usually resort to using lower-cost storage to archive their data. Some companies archive their data on-premise, while others opt for cloud storage as a service.
Archiving various types of corporate information is important for regulatory and compliance purposes. The archive needs to be fully searchable and well-organized to ensure maximum efficiency when the time comes to analyze it. Remember to choose the right tools, make a compliance plan, and have a data-archiving policy in place.