Digital Archiving Systems: The 7 Essentials You Need to Know

Looking for a compliant Digital Archiving Solution? Here are the 7 crucial pointers to find the right solution for your organization.

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Evolving industry regulations, increasing regulatory requirements and an ever-expanding content landscape: It’s no wonder that achieving long-term content compliance on all fronts is a challenge for most organizations, especially when trying to keep control over data storage costs. Let us help you out!

While you might already be aware of the need to improve how you manage regulated information, choosing the right digital archiving solution is definitely not an easy process to navigate: What types of documents do you need to archive and for how long? What criteria should be taken into consideration? Are you required to keep content in its original format?

To help you answer these questions and more, we’ve compiled this list on what you need to consider to make the right decision for your organization.

1. Preservation volume

First of all: Does such an investment make sense for you, after all? If you have less than 3.000 documents to be preserved, digital archiving is a task you can outsource. But as soon as you hit 3.000, you do need a reliable, scalable and cost-effective digital archiving solution.

2. Hardware independance

So you do need your own reliable archive? Then the first deal-breaker is hardware independence. This is critical to assure that your digital archiving system will meet all your current and future needs. To avoid trouble, ensure that your software works with all types of storage technologies on a WORM (write once, read many) principle. WORM technology ensures preservation of data in a non-rewritable, non-erasable and unalterable compliance-ready format. Thus, it plays an important role in meeting regulatory requirements. WORM compliance demands that data is unalterable, so once information is written, it can’t be modified or overwritten. And of course, your archiving solution should support the evolution of your storage infrastructure.

3. Integration in ECM

Enterprise content management systems (ECM) or document management systems (DMS) are different from a digital archiving system, but they go hand-in-hand. ECM platforms make it possible to manage data, content and digital documents on a day-to-day basis, but they don’t necessarily have the functionality to ensure their preservation with guarantees of authenticity and durability. What’s more: When your input sources become more complex and diverse, it becomes more cost-effective to consider a stand-alone, dedicated digital archiving solution. 


Document Management

Digital Archiving

Document modification

Make several versions coexist

Destroy (remove, delete) a document

Except management of final triage

Manage conservation rules


Define a classification structure

(managed by users)

Centralized by the administration

4. The multi-criteria aspect

A Web Services interface is crucial for an easy integration of the digital archiving software into an existing environment and your established document management workflows − from creation to ongoing discovery and access.  But that's not all you have to keep in mind when it comes to making the right choice: To be worth the investment, the digital archiving software you aim for must be working on different Operating Systems (Microsoft, Linux, Unix), with multiple databases (PostgreSQL, SQL server, etc.) and it has to support multi-lingual operations. 

5. Indexing and search functionality

Thought now you had all aspects covered? Not quite. Make sure your digital archiving solution will be compatible with structured content as well as with databases (in .CSV format, for example). And of course, your solution of choice will need to enable users to perform searches on archived documents.

6. Compliance with regulations and norms

A digital archiving system can avoid problems of non-compliance with regulatory statues, ensuring the consistent application of policies organizationwide, providing audit reports.

Most regulations across countries and industries share two main points in common: The information must be set in time, and the storage media must be unalterable.

But there are a lot more requirements your system should guarantee compliance with. For example, the ISO 1464-1 standard contains specifications on design and operation of digital archiving systems. Other national and international norms include standards such as the NF Z42-020 in France, which certifies one of the pillars of the digital archiving system: Digital safety, describing the required conditions to guarantee documents’ integrity over time. Consider only digital archiving systems that help you comply with regulations across borders!

7. Reliability and Backup Structure

To always do the best to be prepared for the worst, make sure robust recovery modelling techniques and configurations are set up with backup protocols in place. Errors and malfunction can result from unexpected events, thus a disaster recovery policy must be well defined. Electrical failure, extreme weather conditions, virus and hacking threats for example may occur in an unforeseeable scenario, despite best prevention measures. As such events can severely damage files that have been archived, play safe and ensure that your digital records policy includes a backup procedure. This is crucial for the safety and durability of your archived documents. 

You'll also be interested in the best practices for digital archiving, how a solution that checks all boxes looks like, and how governance and compliance are being assured by up-to-date services that include cloud storage.

Need to build a business case around digital archiving? 
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Published on    Last updated on 03/08/2020

#Digital Transformation, #Digital Strategy, #Content Management, #CMS

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