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29 May 2024

Long-term Archiving in the Cloud: More than “just” Compliance?

Dr. Nikola Milanovic Chief Technology Officer

Dr. Nikola Milanovic

Chief Technology Officer (OPTIMAL SYSTEMS)

For decades, document management systems have provided a viable option for long-term archiving, together with specialized storage mediums.

Usually, those systems combined provide for compliance with regulatory requirements. Digital documents can be archived for a specified period (so called retention times) together with their metadata. It is guaranteed that they cannot be changed or otherwise manipulated — either through the leading business application, the API or even on the storage medium itself. Thorough integrity checks are available, and every access is protocolled in an audit log that cannot be manipulated or repudiated. To keep this promise, document management systems interface with storage appliances through proprietary interfaces. The storage appliances themselves utilize manipulated operating systems to provide virtual and physical protection for data.

High costs and security vulnerabilities

This combination worked very well for a very long time. However, two things changed: the type and the volume of the archived data and the connectivity of the underlying systems. The first change means that storage requirements grow, and thus the price. Dedicated storage systems are usually expensive. Furthermore, streaming content such as audio or video or very large volumes of documents place an additional burden on the system, which must be able to scale effortlessly. If not, the system fails, and all processes that depend on the archived data fail, too. In addition, archives are connected to other business applications which need access to data, as well as to the Internet. Thus, an archive becomes a popular target for security exploits. As a potential attacker, why bother with penetrating individual business applications, when the whole company knowledge is to be found in the centralized archive, just for the taking?

There is now a new, single point of attack and security risk for an entire organization: the archive.

Your enaio® documents securely stored in the cloud

enaio® cloud-archive is the ultimate solution for efficient and audit-proof long-term archiving of your enaio® documents in the cloud. Accessible at any time, from any location and with any device, completely administered for you by our SaaS operations team.

Your long-term archive in the cloud

So, what to do? Invest more in security: take on the challenge of strengthening your system, getting it to the right patch level and making sure no one clicks on a suspicious email which will infect the network in which your archive is hosted. The alternative: Put all these systems in the cloud and delegate the responsibility to someone else. However, none of these are trivial things, nor are they easily done overnight. There are considerable costs involved and the technical capabilities of these systems are limited if they are simply migrated to the cloud according to the “lift and shift” principle. And sometimes there are good reasons not to do so, e.g., because of existing interfaces and integrations. But what if you “simply” migrated your archive to the cloud and continued working as if nothing had happened? What if your archive was now hosted in the cloud, data was transmitted seamlessly to your leading business applications over secured channels no matter where these applications are? What if the data in the archive were professionally encrypted, with transparent and easy-to-use key management guidelines? What if you did not need to pay horrendous maintenance fees for outdated on-premises archiving devices, but could pay per use instead, and scale your archive immediately up and down as needed?

If this sounds like a good scenario to you, there are already solutions. So far, there are only a few, but some established ECM providers, such as OPTIMAL SYSTEMS, are venturing into this new territory. They are starting to provide cloud archives together with their core document management systems.

Resiliance and fault tolerance

Lower costs and additional resources are the main advantages of archive migration to the cloud. Another is the increased reliability and fault tolerance: even if your local infrastructure is compromised (we hope that this will never be the case!), your business data are still safe and secure and always available in the cloud archive!

If you are just thinking about introducing a long-term archive into your landscape, you should consider the possibility of archiving directly in the cloud, instead of on premises. If you are already operating an on-premises archive, think about the numerous benefits of migrating your archive to the cloud, with the financial benefit in fact not being the leading one.

Do you have any further questions about long-term archiving?
Get in touch with us!