The Importance of Email Archiving for eDiscovery

Electronic discovery or eDiscovery involves the identifying, collecting, and producing of electronically stored ...

Electronic discovery or eDiscovery involves the identifying, collecting, and producing of electronically stored information (ESI) in response to a legal request, typically during an investigation or lawsuit.

ESI includes:

  • Audio/video files
  • Databases
  • Documents
  • Presentations
  • Social media content
  • Websites
  • Emails

Some people may not expect to see emails in the definition of eDiscovery, assuming communications between colleagues have little consequence, but emails are vital to the eDiscovery process. Because of their importance, regulatory agencies often require businesses or industries to implement email archiving techniques, software, or cloud storage solutions, ensuring email eDiscovery access.

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What Are the Basic Principles of an Archive for Email eDiscovery?

Email is among the most ubiquitous forms of business communication, with some estimates speculating the average professional receives over 100 emails daily. Emails can contain simple exchanges or detailed conversations about contracts, agreements, and general business activity.

In legal proceedings, emails matter because of their candid nature. Most people communicate more casually and candidly via email than in formal memos or reports. The candidness of email exchanges can lead to valuable evidence. Also, the metadata offers evidence beyond messages, including:

  • Providing access to date and time stamps
  • Sender and recipient details
  • Chain of events

Email eDiscovery requirements from HIPAA, FINRA, and other regulatory agencies mean organizations must keep and protect email through archiving practices. Archiving saves the emails and email threading for eDiscovery by creating a searchable database for swift discovery and reporting, depending on the archiving method used. Today, the preferred and sometimes required method of archiving is email journaling.

Unlike traditional email archiving software, email journaling creates a more targeted approach to archiving practices. The process allows administrators to set rules for archiving requirements and copies and archives emails before they reach the recipient or leave the servers. Also, email journaling creates a tamper-proof system for email security and preservation. The retention of this important information is called information governance.

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What Are the Basic Principles of an Email Archive?

Whether your company uses email journaling or traditional archiving methods, there are basic principles and best practices for an email archive:

  • Capture
  • Indexing
  • Storage
  • Security

The primary purposes of an archive are preservation and retrievability, especially for email eDiscovery. Cloudficient Expireon is a modern approach to email archiving that can handle both user emails and journal data.


Capturing refers to the process of intercepting and securely storing all relevant emails under the company's retention policy — a guide that defines rules about how long different emails remain in the archive before deletion. The process includes inbound, outbound, and internal emails.


Indexing refers to the creation of a searchable database of email content, including attachments and metadata. The index is vital for timely eDiscovery for emails. The wrong archiving solution can lead to costly delays and penalties. Archives can either index all items as they flow in and out of the organization which then needs maintenance for the index database or provide indexing on demand.


Storage refers to the storage environment: on-premises, cloud, or hybrid. On-premises email archive eDiscovery solutions are not practical in the modern age, with email as a preferred communication channel. The requirements for storage can slow down in-house servers and impede daily operations. Cloud storage solutions from Cloudficient are preferable, with a reduced risk of data loss and a promise of scalability.


Finally, security refers to the implemented methods to protect the integrity of email data. Cloudficient offers archive encryption, robust access controls, auditing trails, and continuous monitoring using its email journaling solutions. Email journaling also permits legal hold functionality to protect against accidental eDiscovery deleted emails during routine maintenance and cleanup.

Email organization

What Are the Risks of Not Having an Email Archiving System?

While not all businesses have legal requirements to maintain email for eDiscovery, the absence of an archiving system with intelligent retention is problematic when faced with an eDiscovery request. By failing to preserve relevant emails, accidentally or intentionally, a business faces severe legal sanctions, fines, or even the dismissal of its case.

Even if email archiving isn't a requirement, a company can still face legal and financial problems because missing emails may cause incomplete discovery responses. The likelihood and probability of missing emails are high without a reliable archiving system to retain and expire data. An incomplete discovery undermines a legal team's ability to understand a case or form a defense.

Data loss or missing evidence can cause reputational damage. Business partners and consumers expect superior information management practices from organizations. A failure to comply entirely with an eDiscovery request shows a company's inability to comply with typical best practices, meaning potential partners and consumers see the organization as untrustworthy or a risk.

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How Does Email Archiving Ensure Compliance?

By adopting archiving practices, your company can mitigate potential risks, ensuring data access and industry compliance. An email archive makes email eDiscovery so much easier because it compiles all pertinent emails in a centralized location with established retention policy rules.

An administrator can prevent email and data's premature or unintentional deletion by establishing system rules. Depending on the archiving solution, administrators can customize rules and place emails into various categories, such as:

  • Financial records
  • Marketing materials
  • Employee communications

Each category can have varying levels of security to ensure limited access and manipulation of records.

A well-organized database also makes eDiscovery a breeze by allowing the swift identification of relevant data. It can also ensure the legitimacy and protection of emails with various tamper resistance policies, like chain-of-custody logs and write-once-read-many (WORM) storage solutions.


What Factors Matter When Choosing an Email Archive Solution?

As you consider email eDiscovery solutions for your business, think about regulatory requirements and operational needs. Primarily, you want to assess the following:

  • Technical requirements
  • eDiscovery email search capabilities
  • Security and data privacy
  • Cost

Regarding technical requirements, you want to ensure that the archiving solution you choose is compatible with your company's email system, whether that be Office 365, Exchange, or Gmail. You also want to know if it can scale up or down with your operation without compromising data integrity. Cloudficient uses industry standards like Kubernetes and S3 compatible storage to scale to all organization’s needs.

Why Is Cloudficient Your Email eDiscovery Solution?

Cloudficient offers state-of-the-art solutions for your business's email archiving and data migration needs. We focus on providing a user-friendly interface that is quick and easy to learn. Our platform adheres to the compliance standards of the strictest regulatory agencies and mandates, including FINRA and HIPAA. Beyond our innovative and secure archiving solutions, we provide incredibly fast search and export functionality for timely email eDiscovery processes. If you want to learn more about Cloudficient, our delivery methodology, and our email archiving solutions, visit our website or contact us.

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