Modern business communications are evolving more rapidly than anyone could have guessed, even as recently as 10 years ago. While email remains a major player in electronic communications, channels such as social media and SMS/text messaging continue to grow in prominence — which means organizations hoping to stay on top of their regulatory compliance requirements need tools designed to capture and archive these nascent channels as well as their predecessors. Unfortunately, many organizations continue to rely on solutions designed for yesterday, and in today’s workplace that simply won’t cut it.
What organizations need for electronic communications compliance today has drastically changed from even just a few years ago. Now, they require a solution that captures and archives all relevant business communications and can produce them for review with all relevant context at a moment’s notice. And, of course, once you’ve found a solution that can do all these things, there needs to be a way to efficiently migrate your existing legacy archives to a new platform.
Fortunately, such solutions are readily available. The following steps will help you identify a new solution and build an efficient plan for implementation and migration.
Step 1: Assess Your Current Environment
The first step in your transition must be an honest, thoughtful assessment of your current archival environment. At a minimum, you’ll need to provide answers to a series of key questions.
- How much data is being stored?
- How many servers are in use?
- How old is this data?
- What types of data are included?
- What are the pros and cons of changing from your legacy archive to a newer solution?
- How will performance improve?
- Will the new solution allow us to supervise more data/communication types?
- Will the new solution allow us to change our archival strategy?
- What are the potential barriers to changing from your legacy archive to a newer solution?
- What is the total cost of migration?
- Is migration going to be complex?
- Does the market support our decision to move to a newer archival solution?
For the most accurate information possible, you’ll want to source answers from those stakeholders who are most knowledgeable about these aspects of your archive. Establishing answers for each of these points will help you make informed decisions about the migration process and will create a solid basis for the remainder of your firm’s journey.
Step 2: Evaluate Risks of Remaining on Legacy Archive
This step focuses on the reasons why your firm is making the leap to a newer archiving solution with a rundown of possible risks you may face by clinging to the existing archive. It’s crucial that you involve as many stakeholders as possible, as highlighting potential risk helps employees to understand why this shift is taking place, and why they should view it as an exciting, positive change.
There are two critical sources of risk to focus on: regulatory risk and increased costs. Older archive solutions simply can’t keep up with the supervisory demands of the modern workplace, and new regulations require a level of insight into data not possible on legacy solutions. Meanwhile, the issue of rising costs is subtle but undeniably important. Many newer solutions have lower personnel costs, lower energy costs, and require less frequent hardware updates than older solutions.
Step 3: Estimate the True Cost of Remaining on Legacy Archive
To further drive home the benefits of switching away from a legacy archive, Step 3 requires you to estimate the true costs of remaining with your existing solution. Far more than simple subscription costs, you must also include costs for hardware and storage (which will be immediately excised by your switch to a cloud-based solution), costs for personnel, upgrade and legacy archive support costs, potential fines for incomplete or late responses to regulatory requests, and the possible costs of litigation in which your firm is unable to “get in front” of the problem with timely production of required records. Remember: The older your legacy solution, the more expensive it will be to continue propping it up with stopgap solutions.
Step 4: Calculate Time-To-Value Roadmap
Once you’re past the steps that detail the risk you face by clinging to an existing legacy archive solution, it’s time to calculate your Time-To-Value, the time period between which you initially begin your migration and the point at which your firm sees tangible value from this move. But before you can build your proposal, you need to determine whether your firm will be migrating all legacy archive content en masse, or if legacy content will be slowly migrated over time. Either option is viable, but they each bear different costs that should be carefully examined before a final decision is made.
Step 5: Build Your Migration Roadmap
With the prior four steps out of the way, it’s time to build your migration roadmap. You’ll want to start with expectations. Setting realistic, achievable expectations is key to ensuring you can actually meet them. From there, it’s important to build support and confidence in your vision and your ability to execute said vision. Without buy-in from employees, your new solution is not likely to succeed, and attaining that buy-in requires confidence and detailed documentation. If an employee has a question, it should be answered in your roadmap. Finally, you should recognize that you can’t do this alone. By partnering with experts to guide the management of the project, you can tap years of experience and know-how, while ensuring you receive objective feedback on what is and isn’t working.
While the above may seem complex and time-consuming, making the switch to a new archival solution is worth the effort. Not only will it save you money in the long run, it will also ensure that when examiners ask you to produce records, you’ll be able to do so in a timely manner and with all relevant contextual information intact.
For more, we highly recommend you watch the webinar 5 Key Steps To Migrate From Enterprise Vault to The Cloud for yourself.