Why Organisations Should Archive Documents and Email

In a world progressively swamped with digital data, the notion of archiving is ceaselessly transforming. Long gone are the days where archiving merely implied physical file folders on dusty bookshelves. Contemporary archiving now encompasses much more, providing intelligent, simple, and most importantly, secure techniques for managing data.

The term "archive" roots itself to the Latin "archivum" and ancient Greek "archeion", underscoring the enduring history of document storage. However, in today's digital era, document and email archiving almost exclusively occurs in digital form. This digital or electronic archiving pertains to the long-term, unchangeable storage of data and documents necessitating secure preservation and ready access. This is especially pertinent as many documents do not shed their significance over time but serve as critical references for businesses. In this process, it's paramount to bear in mind audit-proof and legal aspects, as well as internal company policies.

The necessity for archiving arises primarily from statutory retention periods, which can fluctuate between a few years to multiple decades. From invoices and contractual papers to tax returns and medical records—the array of documents needing to be archived is extensive.

Pertinent requirements can be discovered in legislations such as the Tax Code (AO), the Commercial Code (HGB), the principles of proper accounting (GoB), and also in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In these instances, lawmakers stipulate different archiving durations for a variety of business documents.

Documents that must be archived for 6 years include, but are not limited to:

  • Business communication
  • Delivery notes
  • Copies of business correspondences
  • Received business correspondences
  • Payment notifications
  • Meeting notes
  • Price lists
  • Audit reviews
  • Declarations of assignment
  • Quotations

A 10-year archiving duration is applicable to items like:

  • Business reports
  • Balance statements
  • Yearly financial reports
  • Accountancy records
  • Bank statements
  • Invoices
  • Inventory lists
  • Import documents

In addition to legal mandates, the unique internal attributes of every organisation or sector greatly influence the duration for which documents ought to be retained. Some documents, such as judgements, demand notices, or court records from the medical and legal sectors, for instance, are required to be held for as long as thirty years.

On-Premises or in the Cloud?

As technology has advanced, so too have the options for archiving. Organisations can choose between on-premise solutions, where software is installed and operated on the company's own hardware, and cloud-based archiving.

On-premises solutions provide the utmost degree of control and data protection, as all data stays on systems operated within the business. This is especially vital for organisations dealing with highly sensitive or security-relevant information. However, the business must possess the staff and expertise to manage both hardware and software independently. Depending on financial resources and preferences, on-premises equipment can either be bought or leased.

On the other hand, cloud solutions offer effortless scalability and flexibility, given that resources can be readily adjusted as required. Additionally, they eradicate the expenditure and toil tied to the upkeep and handling of server hardware.

Irrespective of the selected approach, archiving documents and email has become an essential practice for businesses. It's not merely about adhering to legal requirements but also about protecting vital business data and guaranteeing efficient and secure access to crucial information.

Considering the continuous growth in digital data volumes and the rising significance of data protection and security, a strategically planned archiving solution is vital for the long-term success and compliance of any business. By acknowledging the importance of document and email archiving and investing in contemporary archiving solutions, organisations can not only diminish legal risks and reduce expenses but also streamline their business processes and future-proof their operations.

Wish to Know More? We're Here to Assist!

Birgit Würtele

Christian Wieck

Michael Niehoff

Sasa Mitrovic

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