Email Archiving

Requirements for Town Email Archiving and Management

In today’s world, many people prefer to communicate with organizations via email.

Due to the prevalence of email-based communication, it’s becoming increasingly important for municipalities to have their own email archiving systems, usually based on the state’s requirements.

Email archiving is essentially a vault that can store emails. An email archiving system makes it easy to retrieve emails at a later date –no matter what the reason.

For some states, it is even required that you store public information for seven years. This includes email communication as well.

Available options for email archiving include cloud-based archiving, hosted archiving, and on-site archiving. Read on to discover the pros and cons of each –and see which one’s best for you.

Cloud-Based Archiving

Cloud-based archiving and storage is a popular option. Cloud-based archiving operates through a third-party system, which frees up both the user and archive provider from system maintenance. As a user, the only duties you would be responsible for would be specifying what messages should be saved, and for how long they should be stored for. You can store messages on the cloud for months, or even years –depending on the requirements for your archiving. Cloud archiving solutions can be a money-saving option, which can be beneficial to smaller towns who often forgo archiving due to cost. Google Vault is a robust cloud-based system that is $10 per month per email address, or $120/year per email.

For very small towns, this might be a suitable and affordable option if only one email address (e.g. the Municipal Clerk’s) needs to be archived. It could get costly for small towns a separate email address for the Treasurer with two or more emails for the elected board members need this service. This could mean that the cost for email addresses with email archiving could eclipse the cost of hosting.

The nice thing about the Google Vault solution is that it does auditing, which means that if you delete emails, they are still retained on the system for later retrieval. Google Vault will automatically archive all emails that were sent by your town email account, and it provides a way to place and enforce holds on inboxes.

Hosted Archiving

Hosted archiving is another third-party archiving system. With hosted archiving, you would hire an archive company to monitor and store emails. Unlike cloud-based methods of archiving, the company will maintain the records themselves, meaning there will be no worry about setting up, maintaining, or storing records. No programs and no software for you to mess with also mean that it’s easy to use. The downside to hosted archiving is that it can cost a pretty penny, and for a lot of smaller cities this wouldn’t be a viable option.

On-Site Archiving

If you are able, on-site archiving may be the best option. However, this option requires dedicated tech support, or the archive must be small enough to manage in-house. One of the main benefits of on-site archiving is that you are directly in control over what is stored, for how long, and where. This means that you’ll have detailed knowledge on how to retrieve it if necessary. While this option often involves setup costs in the beginning, in the long run, it can save money since it eliminates the need to outsource archiving duties for long periods of time.

Being able to archive important emails is important for many cities –but the ability to find and open these emails is just as important. Be sure to take all of these things into consideration when deciding on an archive host. And of course, remember: just because it may cost less upfront, this doesn’t always mean it’s the best choice. Always weigh your options carefully.

For more information on website hosting, and email archiving services for towns and municipalities, visit Town Web Design today. At Town Web Design, we work with small and medium-sized municipalities, and would be happy to help you find an email archiving solution that will allow you to remain in compliance with state laws.

Image: AJC

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