cloud email archiving security

Thanks to the increasingly common uptake of Internet technology, email has become the standard way to “have things in writing”. In the future, it looks like dependence on email can only increase, as will the legal and governmental scrutiny surrounding it.

An enterprise email archive is necessary for all types of businesses – there’s no dispute over that. There is a dispute, however, about the best way to archive emails. Some choose to go for in-house, while others choose to outsource.

Cloud email archiving is an outsourced solution, and carries many considerations along with it – typically, in relation so security. However, we argue that security is actually one of the two main advantages that cloud archiving has over its on-premise alternative:

#1 Security is greater than or equal to an on-premise solution

People hesitate to trust this fancy new thing called ‘the cloud’ because they’re unsure of SaaS security. In particular, they worry that:

  • their data will either be intercepted en route between customer and the data centre
  • their SaaS provider will access sensitive corporate data

In actual fact, archiving to the cloud is just as secure (if not more) than an in-house solution. It really just depends on the vendor you choose. Ask your cloud provider these questions to get a better understanding of their level of security:

How will you protect my data?

Obviously, this should be your first question to ensure all corporate data is safe at all times. Make sure that your cloud provider uses several layers of data protection.

We use SSL (secure socket layers) to encrypt all data that moves “across the wire” from the customer-messaging environment to secure data centre clusters, so no customer information is accessible in clear text. Cluster data is also encrypted and authenticated with Australian Department of Defense standards.

Will the cloud vendor encrypt your data when it’s in transit? How exactly? Ask to be walked through the technical details for total clarity.

Who is your data centre partner?

You need to make sure that your cloud vendor’s data centre partner has invested the required amount of money needed (lots) in hardware and upkeep of their data centres.

We chose to have Amazon Web Services as a partner because we know they meet and even exceed credit card and financial industry data security standards. This allows us to comfortably say that in nearly all scenarios, our customer data is more secure and tamper-proof than an on-premise archive solution.

It’s important to understand how your data will be secured on their end. Does it line up with what the cloud vendor has told you about their data centre partner’s security?

#2 Reliability can be significantly better than an on-premise solution

Reliability for email archiving means being able to search and retrieve archived data quickly – such as in the event of an eDiscovery request. This is the reason why paperless archiving systems have become the norm – to avoid the hefty penalties that can come with failing to respond to discovery requests  in a timely fashion.

Cloud computing technology allows you to pull up a search request within seconds, which is why it’s being used so much for data storage, including email. To preserve all content without gaps in the data store, one needs:

  • access to the archived data
  • continual communication between messaging servers and the archiving system

Your cloud provider should support storage of redundant copies of your data. This ensures that you can always retrieve it, even if one of those copies is inaccessible for any reason (as the system will just pull up another copy which is stored at a different location).

For example, Amazon Web Services has invested billions dollars infrastructure providing multiple layers of redundancy. That means customer data is stored in at least 2 secure locations physically separate data centres connected by fibre – but on different power grids, internet access points and flood plains.

Cloud email archiving can be extremely secure and reliable – you just need to know who you’re dealing with. To learn more about cloud email archiving, please download the full report: