The Future of Enterprise Information Archiving Takes Shape

The concept of the interactive archive as the future direction of the Enterprise Information Archive is starting to take shape in the minds of CIOs and IT staff, who are trying to meet the new requirements demanded of their data. It’s a vision driven by the idea that archiving is about more than simply-storage or vault models we’ve become used to.

The Archive Unleashed

I’ve been speaking more about the concept recently, but it was ‘The Archive Unleashed’ webinar early in October, which highlighted how the idea was evolving. Cheryl McKinnon, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research who joined us for the discussion, called out the key battles grounds of ownership of unstructured data and migration of legacy systems as areas which will define how this vision will evolve.

Also, my presentations at one of Mimecast’s leading technology partners, Essential Computing, ‘Email Archive Migration Masterclass’ and IP EXPO have helped us refine the idea even further. At Mimecast we talk about an Interactive Archive and while this isn't a specific product, it’s a vision that sets us and our customers on a journey to a more useful archive. Interactive Archiving is set apart from today’s EIA solutions by some important characteristics, which we can now define…

  • Value inherent to archive data: Most EIA solutions simply store, or vault, information. Extracting value from your intellectual Property therein is nigh on impossible. A significant part of our long term vision for your archive and its data, is to help you make the most of that data and the business intelligence locked in there.
  • A new type of Cloud: While cloud archiving isn’t new, most cloud solutions are just a point replacement for an on-premise archive. Outsourcing the data storage is all they can offer. An Interactive Archive is one that brings all the benefits of the cloud, and the innovation of a cloud vendor, to deliver more access, more uses cases, more advancements and more value.
  • End users are vital: Today, end users have very little aside from a clunky search. Our concept of interactivity of the archive comes from the consumption of information by the end users; in short how they access their data, and on which platforms--their key productivity apps like Outlook, through to dedicated Mobile OS apps to support them on the go.

The key principles above are hard for existing archive software vendors to deliver on, I’d go as far as to say, almost impossible. This is primarily a symptom of the way their software has been designed and how there is little or no roadmap for innovation into the future.

We think about our archive data within the confines, both physical and metaphorical, of the word “vault” and how data is simply retained, never to be seen again, let alone provide any value. Sadly, these types of archives are where your data goes to dies, never having the chance to become interactive for end users, and struggling at best to deliver results.

At IP EXPO I closed my presentation by encouraging the attendees to forget about the romance of the steam age, and forget their ‘old-style’ on premise archives. Steam powered computing if you will? These archives are killing your data, and worst still they’re stifling your organization's competitive edge. It’s time to enlighten your users with the tools they need and empower your administrators with the controls and security they demand, as well as learn to look for the value in your own corporate big data.

‘Don't just store information, use it’, is the way in which most progressive IT teams are translating the Big Data opportunity. It’s a perspective we should all get behind.