Data archiving software is an essential building block of data storage, because every company needs to store sensitive, important data in a secure and efficient manner.
For data which is used on a daily basis, a number of ways of achieving this are available, from cloud storage to dedicated on-prem networks. What happens, though, when data which is no longer being actively used need to be stored for long-term retrieval? This is when data archiving software is used.
This simple definition hides a great deal of complexity, however. Storing data in a way that is efficient, safe, and searchable can be a real challenge for many organizations. Thankfully, this is a task which archiving software can help with. The best data archiving solutions will provide you with an efficient and secure way of storing data for the long term, and can also help to ensure compliance with regulatory frameworks.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the four key features of data archiving software.
At the core of any archiving software is the ability to search through archived data. Searchability is a crucial feature of this software because without a powerful search interface it can be difficult to find documents that may not have been actively used for years.
Most archiving software will therefore append meta-data to each and every piece of data that has been archived, and allow a user to search through these meta-data.
Typically pieces of meta-data that will appear in the description of an archived document are:
- The type of documents (such as a PDF or an email document).
- The data sources, which is where a search will mine for results.
- The author of a file, and the dates it was created and archived, allowing users to search chronologically.
- Important data pieces located in the files, such as financial data, so that users can search the archive with these keys.
Even the smallest company today will produce a relatively high amount of data. Archiving this can be expensive, because companies will need to purchase extra storage space every few years.
There are two strategies that are used to counter this, and they are often used in tandem.
One is to make use of cloud computing – one of the major benefits of cloud computing is the reduced cost to store large amounts of data, and the reduced need to invest in costly on-premises hardware. The second is archiving software, which can be used in conjunction with cloud storage to optimize the hardware requirements of an archive.
This is what research firm Gartner calls “overall storage optimization.” As they point out, archiving software with this functionality permits you to “reduce the volume of data in production and maintain seamless data access,” and this in turn provides many benefits. It can reduce capital outlay and operating expenditures, improve information governance, lower risk, and improve access to secondary data for reporting and analysis.
Though, at the moment, the three features above can be used to define quality data archiving software, archiving software is continually developing and new features are being released on a regular basis. This means that the future of data archiving, while retaining the core functions above, might make use of some new and exciting technologies.
At the moment, most backup and archiving trends are focused on automation. It is believed that AI- and ML-driven automation systems could help to make the process of archiving data much quicker, and even be used to automate the production of meta-data. In addition, these systems could be used to speed up the process of proving that data archives are compliant with regulatory frameworks.
Finally, one of the major benefits of archiving software over other archiving solutions is that this software provides firms with the ability to archive a wide variety of different types of data, and to write archives to a similarly wide variety of storage media.
This is particularly important today, because so much of what many firms do takes place in media that have not traditionally been regarded as “documents.” The best archiving software on the market today will allow organizations to archive social media posts, for example, or logs of customer service requests.
As long as these data are correctly labeled and searchable, this allows archiving software to provide you with a truly holistic archive of your business activities.
Archiving: Efficiency and Data Compliance
Ultimately, data archiving software provides firms with a powerful and easy way to archive their data for long-term storage and retrieval. By providing organizations with search capabilities, resource optimization, and the ability to archive a wide variety of media, archiving software can greatly improve both business efficiency and the speed of regulatory compliance.