An effective data governance solution offers a strategic advantage

Data governance is often thought of as a “check-the-box kind of thing”, according to Achmad Chadran, an archiving product marketing manager for Mimecast. It’s required, but, generally speaking, considered a hassle.

He prefers we see it as an opportunity.

“The tools to run analysis on emails are getting more and more sophisticated,” he notes, “and the kinds of business insights you can draw from these analyses are virtually limitless, depending on how deep your reserve is and how rich it is when it’s captured and archived.”

Following are a few considerations to optimize archived email data.

1. Design for Immutability

All email should be captured and stored automatically without the need for manual or scripted processes. It’s essential that archived data can’t be easily modified or deleted until the pre-defined retention period is reached. This must be a vital part of your long-term archiving strategy.

2. Account for All Data

Employees regularly use a number of devices and likely have more than one email account. As such, email data can become so scattered that even systems administrators may not know where it all is. And data can leave the network without the IT department's knowledge, opening holes for malware and ransomware.

“When an employee can create a Gmail account in three minutes and use it for six months without anyone knowing, you have an entire data store of work-related information sitting on Google's servers, and not your own,” says Robert Douglas, president of PlanetMagpie IT Consulting in Fremont, CA. “This creates a data-control issue. Use policies and proactive software to protect the network from these threats.”

3. Make It Easy

A full-service data governance solution provides various levels and types of access to users. By automatically indexing data, users can run queries using key phrases in emails, for example. A mobile-enabled archiving solution makes it possible for employees to search and retrieve archived data from anywhere on any device via a handy app.

4. Enable Monitoring & Tracking

Keeping track of who accessed what emails when, and knowing what they did to them is another key factor of data governance. This is particularly important for data of evidentiary value, according to Jana Landon, a lawyer with Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young in Philadelphia.

“Emails are their own forensic packages,” she explains. If you have emails that contain, for example, admissions or warnings, “When you put those in front of a client or opponent, the first question is, ‘And what did you do in response?’” Being able to accurately track that could make or break a case.

Strong email data governance ensures your organization has access to the email archive assets it needs.

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