For any business, data storage is an essential function. Important information must be stored so that it can be accessed quickly. Most companies also need to store data for long periods of time.
In the past, filing cabinets and floppy disks were up to the task of restoring valuable business data. These days, companies are turning to internet-based solutions for both short-term and long-term data storage.
For data that must be accessed quickly, there are a number of solutions that many people use without even thinking about it, including storage space on a hard drive or in the cloud. Programs and apps let users save data short-term with just the touch of a Save button. The archival storage of data requires a specialized storage solution and specialized software for data retrieval. If data is being archived in the cloud, this is where cloud archiving software comes in.
What is the Difference Between a Cloud Backup and a Cloud Archive?
Cloud backup is a concept we're all familiar with. If you've ever offloaded photos from your phone to Google Drive or iCloud, then you've used cloud backup. For a company, backup processes involve the transfer of data at regular intervals. The backed-up data is easily referenced and often changed for various reasons. While cloud backup can be used to store files and data for long periods of time, this kind of system isn't very efficient for archiving.
Cloud archiving is used when the data intended to be stored isn't expected to be used or modified in any way. Just like with a physical archive, a cloud archive is mostly used for reference purposes. Healthcare, finance, academic research, and other industries require that certain records be kept for long periods of time. Numerous cloud archiving solutions are specifically designed with one of these in mind.
Archiving is also done to clear up valuable space for more frequently used items. When data sits dormant for months, or years, it wastes valuable space on a hard drive or server. Archival data space is also much cheaper than data storage, because archiving requires less energy and activity.
Many companies choose to archive their data in a public cloud offered by companies like Amazon or Google. This setup does not require any special hardware or software. Archiving in a public cloud reduces a company's footprint in its data center and saves energy. It also makes a company's systems more elastic, durable, and cost-effective.
Archiving needs can vary from company to company and from industry to industry. Therefore, a number of specialized archiving services are available, particularly for organizations in financial services. These specialized archiving solutions are able to store emails, important documents, text messages, social media posts, and other electronic information that must be stored in order to meet regulations.
What is Archiving Software?
Companies looking for a cloud archive solution need to consider what each solution offers, including the tools used to access archive data, the cloud portal, the compliance regulations it meets, and the applications that are supported.
Even though data sitting in a cloud archive isn't meant to be accessed often, it still needs to be searchable. A cloud archive must also be insulated from tampering, overwriting, and cyber-attacks. It should allow for easy access in the event of an audit or legal issue. If key data or documents cannot be accessed during these crucial events, it completely voids the purpose of a cloud archive.
To enable searchability, most cloud archiving systems attach metadata to each bit of information before it is archived. The metadata will describe the type of document, data sources, file author, date created, and date archived. In industry-specific systems, the metadata will also describe key pieces of information such as financial data.
What are the Benefits of Cloud Archiving?
Even the smallest businesses are capable of producing a massive amount of data. Archiving this data on-premises can be costly, and perhaps the biggest benefit of a cloud solution is reduced cost, as a server-based archiving system can be expensive to set up and maintain.
The software that comes with a cloud archiving system is another major benefit. Cloud archiving software lets a user optimize their dated storage functions and seamlessly access critical information when needed.
As with other software platforms, cloud archiving software is constantly being developed, with many providers launching new features to meet customer demand. Often, these updates will include the latest in business technology. For example, many cloud-archiving software platforms have started including automated, artificial, and machine learning features. These elements make archiving practices more efficient and data retrieval faster. They are also designed with the latest regulatory changes in mind, helping users to remain compliant.
Another benefit of cloud archiving software is its flexibility. Different kinds of files, images, videos, and other data can easily be processed and archived by cloud archiving software platforms. This flexibility is critical in today's business world as companies are constantly changing the way they communicate, and the way work gets done. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent switch to remote work revolutionized the way many companies handle compliance, and an archiving solution suddenly needed to handle massive amounts of information coming from platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Cloud archiving software not only needed to be able to store new types of data, but it also had to be able to process them and correctly assign metadata.
How Can MirrorWeb Help?
Ultimately, cloud archiving software is an effective and simple way for companies to archive and retrieve data in a way that is cost-effective, compliant, and secure. This type of software allows companies to have an optimized, searchable archive capable of handling a broad range of data types. More than being an essential function, an effective archiving system can both boost the bottom line of a company and help it maintain regulatory compliance.
At MirrorWeb, our cloud archiving solutions allow your company to stay compliant and audit-ready. Book a demo today to find out more.