Email Archiving for Law Firms

Due to the colossal volume of data that has to be retained, email archiving for law firms can create significant issues if using an inflexible or non-compliant email archiving solution. We look at the available options and recommend a solution suitable for email archiving for all types of law firm.

Surprisingly there aren’t that many regulations specifically governing email archiving for law firms. Although most state bars and rules of professional conduct recommend law firms retain client records for at least seven years after a matter is closed, most of the email archiving regulations law firms have to comply with come from the industries in which their clients operate.

For example, if a client operates in the financial industry, some emails have to be retained for a minimum of seven years to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley. Similarly, emails to and from clients operating in the pharmaceutical industry may have to be retained for up to thirty-five years, while certain investment and insurance documents have to be retained indefinitely.

This can lead to a colossal volume of data being retained in emails – creating issues with the amount of space available on mail servers, and the speed with which it is possible to recover documents to support litigation. Email archiving for law firm can help resolve these issues, provided the solution chosen to address the issues is both flexible and compliant.

Email Archiving and the General Data Protection Regulation

In addition to the variety of privacy and security regulations stipulated by federal and state governments, law firms with clients subject to the EU´s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) also have to account for the rights of EU data subjects. Under the GDPR, EU citizens have the right to know what personal data is maintained about them, correct mistakes, or request the erasure of their data.

GDPR also has rules stipulating only the minimum necessary data can be retained to complete the purpose for which it was collected, and once that purpose has been completed, the data should be permanently deleted. This creates the scenario in which emails maintained in archive folders may be subject to more than one retention policy depending on the nature of their content.

Therefore, whatever solution chosen for archiving emails for law firms has to be sufficiently flexible to apply multiple policies to data, while still having the capability to conduct fast searches and generate accurate search results. GDPR data access requests have to be resolved within thirty days, or a law firm could be fined for non-compliance, even though no data breach has occurred.

The Available Email Archiving Options for Law Firms

As in all industries, there are three email archiving options for law firms – software solutions, hardware solutions, and cloud-based solutions. Software solutions will most likely be the chosen option for law firms subscribing to Microsoft´s premium service for Office 365, despite this option not having tamper-evident audit logs or effective disaster recovery capabilities. Currently, there is no audit log retention available in the E1 plan, E3 only retains the log records for 90 days, and E5 plans only retain logs for 1 year.

Hardware solutions – those using removable storage to archive emails – are more effective for ensuring immutable copies of original emails and providing total disaster recovery, but they are inflexible when it comes to searching email archives for documents and/or personal data required under a GDPR data access request. Furthermore, removable storage devices are at greater risk of theft, loss, or damage. It you use Office 365, there can also be latency issues with an on-premises archiving solution.

Cloud-based email archiving for law firms resolves the issue of search capabilities and security by archiving emails in one place in a remote data center. Authorized users can access archived emails from any Internet-connected device – making cloud-based email archiving a better solution than software-based email archiving for law firms with mail servers in multiple locations.

Not All Cloud-Based Options for Email Archiving are the Same

One important point to note is that not all cloud-based options for email archiving are the same. It has already been mentioned that Microsoft´s premium service (which is cloud-based) is ineffective at disaster recovery. This is because Microsoft´s email archiving service for Office 365 only archives emails received or sent through Office 365 accounts. If any other email service provider is used – i.e. Gmail – email data will be permanently lost in the event of a natural disaster or cyberattack. There are often outages with Office 365, according to downdetector.  Email data can be lost in outages, but Microsoft is not responsible for recovery.

Another difference between cloud-based options for email archiving is that some solutions archive emails in real time (i.e. as the emails pass through the mail server), whereas other solutions perform the archiving process periodically – potentially missing emails that have been received and immediately deleted. There are also differences in how, as well as when, the archiving process is performed – the biggest of these relates to a process known as de-duplication.

In the de-duplication process, all duplicated content and duplicated attachments are removed from emails before the emails are indexed, compressed, and archived. This process makes searches quicker, search results are delivered more rapidly and, when the search results are delivered, there are not dozens of duplicated emails to navigate through to find the information you need. Not all cloud-based options for email archiving have this capability.

ArcTitan Cloud – Flexible and Compliant Email Archiving for Law Firms

ArcTitan Cloud from SpamTitan is a cloud-based email archiving service that eliminates issues such as single-account, periodic, and duplicated email archiving by archiving all emails as they pass through the mail server, after first de-duplicating content, indexing the content, compressing the content into stubs, and archiving it in encrypted format in a secure data center onto Replicated Persistent Storage.

ArcTitan Cloud has the flexibility to allow the application of archiving and retention policies by user, by client, by department, or universally to match the law firm´s compliance requirements (or those of its clients). It also has a level of security that ensures an email will never get lost or stolen, and offers tamper-evident audit logs with which administrators can identify unauthorized access or alteration.

ArcTitan Cloud is also fast. Our solution is capable of archiving up to two hundred emails per second, and searching a database of thirty million emails in under a second. There is no limit on the number of searches that can be conducted simultaneously or the number of search results per search. The results of searches can be viewed, exported to file, printed, or restored to the mail server for future use.

See ArcTitan Cloud in a Free Demo

If your law firm is evaluating email archiving options, we invite you to take advantage of a free demo of ArcTitan Cloud. The free demo gives you the opportunity to see the flexibility and compliance of our email archiving solution. There is no obligation on your law firm to subscribe to ArcTitan Cloud at the end of the demo.

To find out more about our offer, do not hesitate to contact our team of Sales Technicians today. Our team will be happy to answer your questions, and explain more about how employees can easily retrieve lost, misfiled, or accidentally deleted emails, and conduct eDiscovery searches much quicker than before. Thereafter, it takes just minutes to schedule a free demo of email archiving for law firms.