How mature is your Archive?

A recent report from analysts the Aberdeen Group found that 59 percent of respondents do not have an e-discovery or message archiving strategy in place.

The worrying implication is that the majority of businesses today are not in a position to meet even the most basic IT governance requirements, let alone access the value residing in their data assets.

It is clear that many organisations continue to rely on their backup infrastructure to provide data archiving capabilities but a backup is no substitute for a carefully considered strategy.

In order to help organisations accurately assess the status of their current archive and plan future strategies, Plasmon has developed the Business Archive Management assessment.

This model defines five stages in the development of a mature archive. In addition, it identifies four key business processes that when, put in place, lead to an increasingly sophisticated archive environment.

The five developmental stages and four business processes can be visualized in a simple matrix that can be used to chart the status and evolution of an archive.

The Five Archive Stages

The developmental stages of an archive environment begin with Chaos where the concept of archiving does not even exist and extend to the fifth stage of Business Value where archiving is totally embedded within the business process and the value of archive data is fully exploited.

In between these two extremes the archive environment evolves, becoming Reactive to risk and regulations, moving into the Business Sustaining stage which centralises the archive process and then to a Proactive state that incorporates the wider needs of the organisation.

These definitions enable organisations to assess their current state, quantify risks and highlight additional benefits.

> Chaos

> Reactive

> Business Sustaining

> Proactive

> Business Value

The Four Key Business Processes

In order to evolve from one stage of archive development to the next, key business processes must be brought to bear.

These include both Business and Archive Planning considerations in combination with Archive Operations designed to meet specific regulatory obligations, control risk and establish an overall code of best practice.

Another area of critical importance is Infrastructure Management which selects specific software and hardware solutions and defines their long-term maintenance.

> Business Planning

> Archive Plan and Design

> Archive Operations

> Infrastructure Management

The first step in the archive assessment process for an organisation is to determine where their current archive strategy is positioned within the five archive stages.

With this established, they can concentrate their efforts on the four business processes essential to evolving their archive environment.

The process has been designed specifically to help a company advance from a less mature to a more sophisticated archive stage in order to capitalize on the business and financial benefits of a truly integrated archive strategy.