The ease with which emails can be exchanged – and the propensity for employees to have inboxes overflowing with urgent calls for their attention – should not distract businesses from the importance of keeping the huge amount of data that they send and receive secure.

Where businesses would painstakingly file written correspondence in previous years, they now must construct a similar system for their electronic correspondence, with emails that are being sent and received being archived in real-time.

Email archiving is compulsory for some businesses, that have to keep old emails for compliance reasons, but all businesses should have an archiving system which makes correspondence quick and easy to find and that keeps business and personal data secure.

UK regulators, such as the Information Commissioner and the FSA can and will come down heavily on businesses that breach data security in an way, whilst also holding businesses to account if they do not prove that they have an adequate email archiving system in place. So, what are businesses to do?

On site archiving, for example, is the traditional method of storing email usually predicated by company policy that does not allow off-site storage, whereas increasingly popular cloud-based archiving provides a resilient, off-site solution without upfront costs and is usually cheaper.

Businesses opting for on-site storage should consider factors such as: the size and capacity of the data store; the physical security of the system; and ensuring that there are back-up processes in place. Those looking at implementing a cloud-based system need to be confident in the long-term feasibility of the company that the business is using for data storage and its security procedures.