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Commentary

Compliant Storage and Archiving An Oxymoron?

One of the great divides in the ECM world is the gulf between (and different understanding of) the needs of records management on the one hand, versus IT storage on the other. Archiving, storage, and retention all sound like similar disciplines, and to hear some IT folk speak, you could be excused for thinking they are one and the same thing. All too often very expensive electronic storage hardware and software systems operate in ignorance of, and non-compliance with, legal and regulatory demand
One of the great divides in the ECM world is the gulf between (and different understanding of) the needs of records management, on the one hand, versus IT storage on the other. Archiving, storage and retention all sound like similar disciplines, and to hear some IT folk speak, you could be excused for thinking they are one and the same thing. All too often very expensive electronic storage hardware and software systems operate in ignorance of, and non-compliance with, legal and regulatory demands.We often find organizations storing data that should have been destroyed long ago, or storing important business records in a form that is either difficult or impossible to access, in a format that has lost legal validity. Few enterprises have truly thought through the implications, policies and difficulties of storing electronic documents for many years in a compliant manner.

If you doubt me, then you should take a look at the recently released Electronic Records Management Survey 2007 compiled by highly regarded Cohasset, which talked to nearly 1600 people to compile the data. Here's just a snippet to whet your palate:

70% of survey respondees said it was difficult to find and retrieve information from backup storage media in response to legal discovery requests. Or, this - only 37 percent said that retention rules are applied to Archive Media, with that figure falling to 33 percent for longer term backup!

ECM is a fragmented and messy area at the best of times, but every enterprise both public and private has retention and archival demands to meet based on regulatory and compliance requirements. And frankly at the moment most firms -- despite spending heavily in this area -- are shambolic in their attempts to deal with these needs. IT must to respond to the business and regulatory environment, not the other way round. Currently that is too often not the case.

Alan Pelz-Sharpe is a principal analyst at CMS Watch. Write him at [email protected]One of the great divides in the ECM world is the gulf between (and different understanding of) the needs of records management on the one hand, versus IT storage on the other. Archiving, storage, and retention all sound like similar disciplines, and to hear some IT folk speak, you could be excused for thinking they are one and the same thing. All too often very expensive electronic storage hardware and software systems operate in ignorance of, and non-compliance with, legal and regulatory demands.