What is Archiving: Why is it Important?

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Digital archiving should be regarded as a critical component of any company and should be incorporated into every organization’s records management strategy. Archives are live historical documents. They are valuable to companies because they provide documentation, explanation, and justification for both past and current actions.

Archiving is the process of securely storing inactive information in any format (both digital and paper) that you no longer use regularly for long-term retention. Such information is still important to organizations and must be retained for future reference or regulatory compliance.

Archive documents are easier to locate, protect, and maintained throughout their lifecycle. Failing to do so will eventually have a negative effect on how your business operates.

Not only can archiving the appropriate data save money, but it also brings value to your company.

In this article, we will cover the archiving meaning and go through the reasons why this practice is essential.

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What is Archiving?

Archiving is the practice of safely preserving inactive information in digital and paper formats that you no longer use on a regular basis for long-term retention. Such information is still valuable to businesses and should be kept for future reference.

Archiving is used by organizations and enterprises to meet information retention obligations and to guarantee that data is available when needed. For example, in the event of a disagreement over business activity, contract, or financial transaction, the archive documents relevant to that issue can be retrieved.

Good archive management entails more than merely keeping information for historical and academic purposes. The importance of archives in good governance cannot be overstated.

Any business nowadays deals with a significant volume of data, and statistically, the creation of data within companies will continue to grow, which is why archiving is so important.

Data archiving is the technique of identifying inactive data and transferring it from production systems to long-term storage systems. It is mandated by many compliance and regulatory requirements, but it may also be useful during disaster recovery and forensic investigations.

Each institution should establish when information should be preserved, where it should be held, and how long it should be maintained before being destroyed.

Why Is Archiving So Important?

Data is subject to being destroyed or damaged (if digital), whether deliberately, accidentally, or as a result of a natural disaster.

Archiving helps organizations minimize data loss, decrease operating expenses, improve document security, increase compliance with various laws and regulations, and provide audit and legal proof in the event of a legal or audit incident.

As a company expands, it generates more data, which must be rigorously maintained and monitored in order to be appropriately utilized. Keeping track of this data might be difficult for organizations that have never implemented an archiving system.

In the digital age, all companies must begin preserving records for a variety of reasons, such as governmental rules, legal obligations, or simply because the papers are no longer required.

Keeping them available all the time costs a lot of resources, such as storage, manpower, and so on, as well as a loss in employee productivity because they have to keep maintaining the data even when it is not being used on a regular basis.

Let’s look at some of the benefits that businesses may obtain by implementing a suitable digital archiving strategy.

1- Prevent Data Loss

The loss of crucial documents might have serious consequences for your company. In fact, according to the paperless project, every misfiled document costs $125, and each lost document costs $350 to $700.

As a result, it is critical that your organization’s information be stored in a centralized and secure repository.

When data is preserved, it becomes quite simple to make this information available to employees again.

If data is not stored in a centrally controlled location, it is more likely to be lost forever.

2- Reduce Operational Costs

As previously indicated, recreating a lost document might cost up to $700. Organizations would ensure that no papers were lost by using a solution.

The more documents you lose, the more downtime your business will experience.

Data archiving lowers the cost of primary storage, which is often expensive. These data will subsequently be kept in less expensive forms of storage.

In addition, moving such information will surely reduce the size of data backup.

3- Improved Security

In an era where cyber-attacks and breaches are becoming increasingly common, preserving corporate documents may help businesses maintain track of all their information throughout their lifespan.

Using a digital system to preserve your company documents allows you to define precise permissions throughout your organization by defining who may see what.

Furthermore, paper-based documents are more likely to be misplaced or fall into the wrong hands. In reality, internal data breaches are more prevalent than external data breaches.

Document archiving removes papers from circulation, reducing the likelihood of a hack or malware infection.

In a competitive environment, archiving is critical for company continuity and guaranteeing the greatest level of performance.

4- Enhanced Compliance

Archiving is also necessary for legal reasons. Many organizations inadvertently destroy records that they are legally required to retain.

Due to regulatory compliance, certain organizations are obligated to keep data for specific periods of time. Feel free to check this in-depth guide for records retention.

To avoid penalties and fines, organizations should constantly follow laws and industry rules and regulations. Organizations can be in compliance with various standards and regulations if they have a comprehensive archiving and retention plan in place.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) are two examples of rules with which companies may be required to comply.

In reality, all businesses and organizations are controlled in some way for record-keeping purposes.

While financial services, energy, and healthcare-related companies are more highly regulated than most other types of organizations, all must comply with record retention standards.

5- Legal claims

In the event that your business is sued by a third party, whether a client, employee or another firm, you may be asked to produce particular papers to support your case.

This emphasizes the significance of keeping all documents conveniently available and safe in order to protect your company from legal action.

If a company is unable to effectively place a hold on data when it is needed, it may face a number of significant repercussions, ranging from embarrassment to substantial legal charges or fines.

Email and other business documents can be lost in the absence of a comprehensive archiving solution, most commonly due to the unintentional destruction of material that should have been kept.
This might have significant repercussions for a company that is involved in legal action.

6- Audit-proof

An audit entails checking your company’s records to ensure they are correct.

An archive system is audit-proof when it can assure that a document cannot be changed or lost from the time it enters the archive, through transportation, through final storage, and beyond.

Today’s document management or enterprise content management solutions actively support organizations in establishing audit-proof archiving requirements.

The last thing you want is to need material for a court lawsuit, a tax audit, or after a natural disaster only to learn that your archive storage was compromised.

The Difference Between Archiving & Backup

These two terms are frequently used interchangeably, although they have quite distinct meanings. Both are considered very important to be part of your overall data protection strategy.

If you have ever lost data or had it damaged, a Backup is generally used to recover the original data whereas an archive is a collection of historical data that must be kept for long-term retention purposes, such as compliance.

Backup is the process of ensuring that your data is recoverable in the form of a copy of your current existing active data, which your business will require if data is lost or corrupted under any circumstances. Archives are primarily instances of data that is no longer being used or active and ensures that your data is accessible when needed.

Backup is constantly changing information that is generally kept short term about 3 to 6 months and it is periodically overwritten. Because they are designed for quick recovery, they are not the ideal process for keeping data for the long term.

Short teamLong term
table comparing archiving and backup

What Is The Difference Between Records and Archives?

Throughout their active operations, governments and organizations generate and accumulate records. Files and reports, maps, plans, budgets, presentations, marketing materials, and so on are examples. Many of these records are deleted after they are no longer usable for current reasons. Archives are those that have been kept because of their long-term importance.

Archives are collections of records that have been chosen for permanent or long-term preservation due to their cultural, historical, or evidential importance. Records at the end of their lifecycle are either destroyed or archived. Thus, all archives are records, but not all records become archives.

I highly recommend reading the below article for more information about records lifecycle

Records Lifecycle: The Complete Guide – The Number One IM Blog (theecmconsultant.com)

Data Archiving Tools

The benefits and life expectancies of various data archiving techniques and data archiving programs vary. The amount of data being handled is simply one of the factors that will determine the optimal archival data solution for your company.

Archived files are stored depending on their types. Paper documents are usually stored in special cabinets while electronic documents are often archived using a variety of methods, including tape, disk, cloud, and hard drives.

Organizations should select a media based on their archiving strategy and budget.


Tapes have been used for data archiving for a long time. The disadvantage is the time it takes to retrieve data from those cassettes when we need it. However, due to its low cost, it is still employed for long-term archiving and when data is only accessed seldom.


Cloud-based archiving combines the power and convenience of local data backup with the scalability and dependability of the cloud to enable long-term data access in a low-cost solution that frequently satisfies regulatory and compliance requirements.


Data is archived and restored faster on disk than on tape. It is also simpler to seek and discover data on drives.

Hard Drives

Hard drives are the most prevalent sort of storage media, and they’re certainly the first thing that comes to mind when considering how to store a large amount of data. They’re also cost-effective.

What is Archiving?

By definition, archiving is the process of securely storing inactive information in any format (both digital and paper) that you no longer use regularly for long term retention.

Why Is Archiving So Important?

Prevent Data Loss

Reduce Operational Costs

Improved Security

Enhanced Compliance


The Difference between Archiving & Backup

Backup is the process of ensuring that your data is recoverable in the form of a copy of your current existing active data, which your business will require if data is lost or corrupted under any circumstances. Its primary function is to return data to a specified moment in time.

Archives are primarily instance of data that is no longer being used or active and insures that your data is accessible when needed.

One comment

  1. Bonjour. Article très intéressant.
    Cependant, je ne partage pas totalement votre avis concernant la partie stipulant que l’archivage concerne les documents inactifs qui ne sont plus utilisés régulièrement. Les documents prennent le caractère archives dès leur création à la seule différence qu’elles sont actives à ce moment.

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