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Email Archiving for Compliance

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Email Archiving for Compliance

Email is a vital business communication tool and one that is used daily and extensively. Email is so popular that despite technological changes, including social and collaboration platforms, email usage is expected to rise to 376 billion daily emails in 2025. Email is a repository of important, confidential, sensitive, and proprietary data. Because of the importance of email as a central pivot of communication, if email inboxes become affected by cyber-attacks, system malfunction, or accidental data exposure, businesses become non-compliant with regulations and laws. By the time any of those mentioned above occur, without any email archiving in place, it may be too late to avert a disaster; an organization would become non-compliant with regulations, suffer a business outage, or be unable to present emails in response to legal discovery during a litigation exercise.

An effective way to prevent compliance disaster is to use an advanced email archiving solution to ensure your organization complies with data protection laws.

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What is Email Archiving?

An email archiving solution is a comprehensive technology that preserves emails, attachments, and calendars. Email archiving solutions are designed to provide the ability to archive emails in a secure, privacy-enhancing, discoverable, and robust manner. In addition, the inherent data protection afforded by an advanced email archiving solution ensures that companies using these tools remain compliant with various regulations, including the EU's GDPR, Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, FINRA, and many more.

Email archiving solutions provide several functions to ensure that an organization can comply with regulatory requirements, including the following:

  • Documentation and traceability for audit and investigations
  • Business continuity and disaster recovery
  • E-discovery for legal requirements in litigation
  • Records management
  • Encryption and access control to emails and attachments
  • Secure storage 

Email archiving solutions also provide a way to prevent disaster recovery as they act as a backup for vital business emails. In addition, maintaining vast amounts of email-based data on mail servers can put a network under strain. Email archiving solutions provide a way to offset this strain on a network to allow for better performance and more reliable eDiscovery when required.

Data Regulations and Email Archiving 

The data regulation landscape is a mosaic of industry-specific and country and state laws. Many regulations that apply to data include email because this medium often contains sensitive information. Email archiving ensures that your organization complies with record retention regulations. Advanced systems will also ensure that the data held in the email repository is secured using encryption, robust authentication, and access control. The data protection laws and regulations will typically include requirements that an email archive solution must offer, including retention time, availability, and security.

Some examples below give a flavor of the type of requirements, under law, that companies must meet when using email. This list is not exhaustive but provides insight into the conditions that must be met.

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

The European Commission states that the GDPR applies to the following entities:

  1. A company or entity that processes personal data as part of the activities of one of its branches established in the EU, regardless of where the data is processed or
  2. A company established outside the EU is offering goods/services (paid or for free) or monitoring individuals' behavior in the EU.

The GDPR includes specific requirements that impact the protection and restoration of personal data (including email-based data). These requirements come under the list of data subject rights and data protection. For example, personal data, including archived email-based personal data, must be secured and access controlled. In addition, article 32 of GDPR states that the organization must have the "ability to restore the availability and access to personal data promptly in the event of a physical or technical incident." 

Also, finding and removing a customer's data is a crucial tenet of GDPR, covered under the data subject rights. As much customer personal data resides in email, the email archiving system must be easily and quickly searchable to enable this GDPR rule to be undertaken.

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) 

FINRA and SEC are the two main regulatory bodies for financial services in the USA. Both bodies also cooperate globally. As a result, both bodies require stringent email retention regulations. The requirements revolve around the security, integrity, and accessibility of financial information in emails sent and received by financial institutions and their associates. 

SEC Rule 17a-4 requires financial services organizations to keep an archive of their electronic communications, including email. The requirements stipulate that any archived emails must be immediately accessible for two years and further stored for at least six years. Regulations can and do change. For example, a recent amendment to the SEC recordkeeping rules requires brokerage firms to "preserve electronic records exclusively in a non-rewritable, non-erasable format, known as the write once, read many formats." 

A notable enforcement of SEC Rule 17a was the 2017 case where 12 companies, including Well-Fargo and RBC Capital Markets, were fined a combined $14.4 million by FINRA for" significant deficiencies relating to the preservation of broker-dealer and customer records in a format that prevents alteration."

FINRA email retention rules are like the SEC requirements and include the following:

  • Retention of electronic communications must be for specified periods.
  • Email must be stored to maintain its integrity and prevent loss.
  • Emails must be easily and quickly accessible.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

HIPAA applies to a wide range of covered entities, including most healthcare providers and various contractors and subcontractors in the healthcare industry. HIPAA has two core rules that apply to email-based data: the Security Rule and the Privacy Rule.

The HIPAA security rule does not explicitly mention email archiving. However, the requirements imply that an email archiving solution is necessary as covered entities must securely back up exact copies of electronically protected health information (PHI) and must be able to "restore any loss of data." In addition, the retention period for emails is six years, and these archived emails must be accessible for audit. Also, the system must have robust security measures, including access control and safeguarding the integrity of protected health information (PHI).

The HIPAA Privacy Rule gives patients the right to request a copy of their PHI. These copies must be provided within 30 days.

Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX)

SOX applies to all public trading companies. One of the core measures required to comply with SOX is to ensure that "specialized software is installed that provides the "electronic paper trails" necessary to ensure Sarbanes-Oxley compliance." 

Under the SEC, Section 802 defines the types of business records that must be retained for seven years; this includes emails. SOX Section 802 covers the area of record retention and penalties for non-compliance. For example, Section 802 of the Sarbanes Oxley Act can set fines of up to 20 years imprisonment if protected documents (including emails) are altered, destroyed, manipulated, concealed, or falsified. 

Further Examples of Email Retention Times (USA only)  

Legislation Industry Email Retention Period
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Federal, state, and local government bodies Three years
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Regulations Pharmaceutical and food Five to 35 years
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) Credit cards and related processors  One year
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Banking Five years
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Telecoms Two years
Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act Banks and Financial Institutions Seven Years
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Regulations All companies Seven Years

Email archiving solutions must offer fast search and retrieval in all the example regulations above. However, this must be augmented by robust security measures that are integral to the solution by design.

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How Does an Email Archiving Solution Work?

The primary function of an email archiving solution is to generate a copy of every email that enters an organization's email server. The copy emails are securely stored in an email archive repository. Some advanced email archiving solutions, such as ArcTitan, deeply integrate into Microsoft Outlook so that users can seamlessly and, with lightning speed, search for emails within the email repository.

Email archiving solutions should be cloud-based to avoid any on-site hardware requirements. Cloud-based email archiving also provides the scalability needed for email.

The administration of cloud-based email archiving also ensures easy management and policy control from a central console. 

Features of an Email Archiving Solution for Compliance

A cloud-based email archive solution must have the following as a basic set of functions to ensure that compliance requirements are upheld:

Encrypted Email Transfer and Storage

Correctly applying encryption is a fundamental design of any email archiving solution for compliance. Email encryption must be used both during the transit of the emails and while the emails are in storage.

Authentication and Access Control

Encryption is enforced by robust authentication and access control measures. These 

should include password hashing, support for digital certificates, Active Directory and LDAP support, Google and iMail authentication, and Windows single sign-on authentication. Also, granular access control on a per-role basis helps to establish the least privileged access.

Enforcement of Retention Policies

The email archiving system must provide a mechanism and easy-to-use interface to allow retention policies to be set and enforced. Email retention policies must be configured to reflect your sector's regulatory requirements. They should also be easily adjustable if legislation is amended. The changing legislation landscape is essential to keep watch over, and conducting an annual review of your email retention policies should be scheduled.

Search and Retrieve

Fast and accurate search and retrieve is an essential feature of an email archiving solution for compliance. Many regulations stipulate that data must be made available at a specified time when requested. Also, fast search means that productivity is not impacted by employees trawling slowly through massive amounts of stored emails.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

Email archiving solutions go beyond email backup and retention. Advanced email archiving solutions like ArcTitan also deliver data loss prevention capability. DLP policies prevent sensitive data from leaving the corporate network. Email archiving keeps data in a secure repository for compliance and general requirements. DLP ensures that data leaks are prevented and upholds the tenets of privacy regulations such as the GDPR.

Legal Hold and Deletion Request Features

A legal hold, sometimes called a preservation order or document hold notice, is used to preserve relevant electronic information if litigation is expected or there is an active eDiscovery request. Legal holds extend standard email retention requirements. Audit trails, integrity checks, and policy updates to reflect the frozen deletion of emails must be available to meet litigation and other regulatory compliance.

Compliance Reporting and Audit Trails

Audit trails can be a vital piece of evidence if regulators demand proof of compliance. An email archiving solution should be able to generate reports to prove that your email retention policies are applied and that other security and privacy measures are enforced. 


Email archiving solutions integrated into email tools, such as Outlook, provide the level of automation needed to enforce email retention policies. Solutions such as ArcTitan automate email archiving so that sent and received emails are archived in real time. Automation prevents mistakes and lost emails. By automatically and instantly archiving all emails, productivity is not negatively impacted.

Flexible Access Rights and Traceability 

Evidence is a vital aspect of regulatory compliance and audit trails, and traceability is part of the legal requirements of many regulations. Therefore, having the ability to generate audit trails showing what happened to a particular piece of information, such as personal data, sensitive information, etc., is vital; ArcTitan provides a tool for data guardians, such as Data Retention Officers and security data access officers, to approve and track access, deletion, and legal hold requests.

Varying Types of Email Data

There are many email data types, and an archiving service must support this wide range of data types. In-solution archiving systems, like the Microsoft 365 archive, may experience challenges importing legacy email data. However, advanced systems such as ArcTitan are designed to support various data types, including legacy email data. 

Support for Remote Working

Remote and hybrid working continues to be a part of the workplace. As the workforce connects remotely, organizations must ensure that data compliance, security, and privacy persist outside the corporate borders. Cloud-based email archiving offers a cost-effective and efficient way to manage email-bound data across a remote workforce. One of the benefits of cloud-based email archiving is the centralization of disparate email servers. Under remote working conditions, this is even more important. Cloud-based email archiving offers a way to consolidate and manage the data in business emails, ensuring compliance across disparate working environments.

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Email Archiving and eDiscovery Management

Email archiving and eDiscovery are essential considerations in both litigation and compliance. In the USA, for example, several laws and regulations, both state, federal, and industry-specific, specify how long an organization must maintain records, including associated emails. In addition, the electronically stored information (ESI) retention laws, including in the US, HIPAA. HIPAA requires the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of protected health information (PHI) to be assured using appropriate measures, such as an email archive. Advanced email archiving solutions use measures to prevent tampering with the emails held in the repository and make the information searchable, available, and discoverable. In addition, the archives are encrypted, and access control is enforced to prevent unauthorized access. 

Most regulations expect email retention, and the storage of emails and other records lasts several years; an email archive system is explicitly designed for the long-term retention of emails. Email archive solutions are built to allow the easy search and recovery of emails in preparation for compliance, audit, and legal cases. An email archiving system will not overwrite old emails but will add to the archive. Emails, once archived, cannot be changed or deleted outside the scope of the retention policy; this is important for adherence to recordkeeping and retention regulations.

Lawsuits and Email Archiving 

Lawsuits are an example of the importance of using an email archiving solution. However, eDiscovery, or the search and retrieval of data, as required by laws during litigation, can be costly. For example, one report found that eDiscovery costs came in at around 20-50% of the entire costs of litigation. In addition, during a court case or legal challenge, emails may be required to provide vital evidence against that legal challenge. Therefore, retaining, managing, and protecting emails entering the corporate network is essential. In addition, as part of eDiscovery, a court may order to retrieve emails and other documents several years after they were initially sent or received.  

How Can You Comply With an eDiscovery Order Without a Managed System?

If an order for eDiscovery comes in, and you do not have a managed system, you must be prepared for an arduous and time-consuming process that can be complicated by technology and time zones. eDiscovery may involve sifting through thousands of emails covering several years and include communications to and from 100s of employees in multiple departments. With an automated and well-managed system, an organization could promptly comply with the eDiscovery order to produce all relevant emails.

Non-compliance with an eDiscovery order for ESI results in hefty fines, adverse inferences against the company, and even criminal charges. Cases may even be dismissed, and a ruling made against the company if they cannot meet the requirements of the eDiscovery order. In addition, company officers, business owners, and other executives may be subject to duties to preserve electronically stored information (ESI) when placed on notice of litigation. 

However, more than email backup is needed for eDiscovery as those emails must be searchable and available on-demand, and quickly retrievable. In addition, archived emails must be accessible, provide a wealth of material for a business's legal team, and be in an easy-to-access format.

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Best Practice Use of Email Archiving Solutions

Email archiving solutions help in complying with the legal requirements of the legislation. However, your email archiving policies must match your business goals. To help ensure that legislative compliance does not hinder your business objectives, the following best practices should be followed:

Categorize Emails

Create categories that place emails into varying levels of regulatory importance. For example, categorize an email as being 'customer,' 'contracts,' suppliers,' 'personnel,' etc. In addition, each category should have clearly defined email retention policies; these policies may be global and per category. 


A Data Retention Officer (DRO) can be employed in-house or via a third party. A DRO ensures that employees adhere to the email retention policy. However, email archiving solutions that offer automated arching can help alleviate the pressure of having a dedicated person overseeing this area.

Fast Search and Retrieval

Slow search and retrieval systems can impact productivity. Email archiving must be fast and accurate. Integration with email tools, such as Outlook, helps reduce employees' training needs and makes archive search faster. ArcTitan can interrogate up to 30 million emails in less than a second. 

Centralized Administration

Cloud-based email archive solution provides a centralized console that enables administrators, legal, and compliance teams to administer the archive policies, manage the use of the email archiving solution, and generate reports and other documents for proof of compliance. 

Choose Comprehensive Security

Emails often hold sensitive data, so appropriate protection measures must be used. Multi-tiered, permissions-based access controls should be enforced to apply the least privilege access rights. Encryption during email transfer and storage is a must-have. Some advanced systems, like ArcTitan, perform antivirus scans on email archives.

On-Prem vs. Cloud-Based Email Archiving

Being a cloud solution by default means better security – we're speaking not only about built-in protection into ArcTitan but about the safety of the cloud itself – so it's like two layers. Also, Data Loss prevention – when you store your data in the cloud – it's independent of any accidents that may happen on-prem. 

What is ArcTitan?

ArcTitan is a cloud-based email archiving solution that provides the features required for data protection and retention compliance. ArcTitan, a cloud-based email and message archive, is specifically developed to provide low-cost efficiency, availability, speed of search, and reliability. ArcTitan has seamless Microsoft 365 integration, remote access to archived emails, and lightning-fast search across the archive. Scalability and cloud nature mean no hardware requirements and unlimited emails can be stored. Many happy customers prove the efficiency of ArcTitan and will reduce the load on your email servers (reduces from 1000GB to ~200GBs).

Why Choose ArcTitan for Email Archiving and Compliance?

Compliance with legislation that impacts email is an arduous and often complex task. However, advanced email archiving solutions, such as ArcTitan, are designed to make compliance more straightforward and faster. So much of an organization's corporate knowledge is in its email, an investment that every business should protect. Archiving not only protects the intellectual property represented by email, but it also makes email management, in general, easier, improving productivity and performance. ArcTitan is a tool that provides a robust user experience achieved via a user-friendly interface, lightning-fast search, and seamless compliance with regulations such as GDPR. 

TitanHQ's email archiving solution, ArcTitan, provides cloud-based archiving and retrieval of emails to ensure your organization is compliant with Sarbanes–Oxley, HIPAA, and other regulations that require eDiscovery, email retention, and audit trails. Users can search, view, and retrieve archived emails from Outlook or any web browser in a few seconds. 

Search options cover the entire organization, departments, or groups and are granular to the header, email content, and attachments; any email pertinent to an eDiscovery request can be instantly retrieved. Archived emails include:

  • An audit trail.
  • Documenting any modifications to messages.
  • Ensuring compliance with regulations that specify data integrity.

Some of the benefits of using the ArcTitan email archiving solution include the following:

Email Performance

Internal servers can quickly become packed with the many emails sent and received daily. Email archiving frees up valuable space on internal servers by offsetting emails to a dedicated repository. For example, ArcTitan frees up to 80% of email storage space. This also significantly improves existing email performance and efficiency.

Unlimited Capacity

The ArcTitan email archive is stored securely in the cloud with unlimited scalability. Because of this, you can be 100% certain that you will never run out of storage space. Therefore, email performance will always be consistent whether your archive contains just a thousand emails or many millions.

Fast Email Restoration for Disaster Recovery

If it is necessary to restore email data after a security incident, such as a ransomware attack, the restoration process is guaranteed and much quicker. Therefore, your ArcTitan email archiving can be an intrinsic part of your Disaster Recovery Plan.

No Maintenance: 'Set & Forget.'

ArcTitan is very easy to set up and use. TitanHQ is known for exceptional support, and we will provide any help needed to optimize ArcTitan for your specific organizational and compliance requirements. ArcTitan is designed to be a 'set and forget' solution for email retention compliance. ArcTitan implementation and use are managed by TitanHQ or your MSP (managed service provider). No maintenance is required, so your internal or external IT team won't need to update software or apply patches.

Improve Email Compliance for Microsoft 365

Most email systems, including Microsoft 365, are configured on a per-employee basis. When someone leaves an organization, it is common for their email address and existing emails to be deleted. Email and data retention requirements across regulations only allow the deletion of emails if these emails are backed up and retained as part of the email retention policy. Some versions of Microsoft 365 include email backups. However, these options are expensive and can prove complex to configure; ArcTitan simplifies email compliance for Microsoft 365. 


ArcTitan is cost-effective, starting at $2.80 per active user per month. However, costs vary depending on the number of users and other factors. Customer reviews indicate that ArcTitan is a technically superior solution and competitively priced. For an accurate quotation, don't hesitate to contact TitanHQ directly.

Multiple Data Formats Supported

ArcTitan can import existing archive data from MS Exchange, Google Apps, EML, MBOX, MSG, or PST, export in several different formats, and you are not locked into proprietary data formats, so there are no costly data conversions. In addition, you can quickly move some or all your data to other systems at any time.

Elevate Your Email Security with ArcTitan! Protect your business communication and compliance effortlessly.

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MSPs and Email Archiving Solutions 

ArcTitan can be deployed as an in-house email archiving solution or via a managed service provider (MSP). ArcTitan is a fully maintained solution with automatic backups that eliminate the need for PSTs, tape machines, and disks and ensures hassle-free archiving with lightning-fast searches and data retrieval.

ArcTitan is purpose-built for MSP delivery. The benefits afforded by MSP delivery of ArcTitan include the following:

  • ArcTitan is designed to provide APIs for seamless integration into your existing management systems. ArcTitan allows an MSP to add email archiving to its service stack easily.
  • Excellent margins for service providers.
  • MSPs can re-brand the ArcTitan solution with corporate logos and color schemes to reinforce your brand or resell it as a hosted service.
  • Reliable, easy to use, low maintenance service.
  • Secure, encrypted email transfer, storage, and retrieval.
  • Tamper-proof archive with will audit trail maintained and automated backups.
  • Compatible with all email servers. 
  • Rapid searching and comprehensive reporting.
  • ArcTitan's cloud-based model integrates deeply into Microsoft 365 to extend message retention capabilities to ensure compliance.
  • It makes e-Discovery and compliance easy for your customers.
  • Compliance with GDPR, HIPAA, SOX, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and more.
  • Multiple hosting options, including hosting within an MSP's data center.
  • Provision for customer retention alongside email retention.
  • ArcTitan provides an easy-to-use mailbox reader, allowing new imports in a few clicks. 
  • The ArcTitan billing UI allows an MSP to manage billing and users, submit and download reports and monitor growth trends.

MSPs who become TitanHQ Certified Partners benefit from the marketing expertise of TitanHQ. There are varying partner levels, from Silver to Titan; each level has access to the award-winning TitanHQ security solutions, SpamTitan, and DNS Filtering, plus:

  • Silver: includes channel account manager and co-branded solutions
  • Gold: includes Silver package plus marketing and leads
  • Platinum: as Gold plus partner advisory board and beta testing
  • Titan: all the above plus winners' circle trip

Whether using ArcTitan in-house or via an MSP, your organization will receive first-class email archiving. In addition, ArcTitan will save your company money, ensure that your email servers are not overloaded, and give you peace of mind that you are compliant with a host of regulations and laws.

Try out TitanHQ's 14-day free trial of ArcTitan: you can evaluate the solution in your environment and see how easy ArcTitan is to use. Full technical support is included during the trial. Then, if you are happy, upgrade to a complete account – No configuration changes are required!

Elevate Your Email Security with ArcTitan! Protect your business communication and compliance effortlessly.

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Email Archiving Compliance Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The majority of a customer’s personal data sits in email. Email archiving compliance solutions are the most flexible, and safest option for archiving emails and allow you to meet your legal and compliance obligations under GDPR, Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA and other legislation. Email archiving compliance solutions are a must have for your business.

Compliant email archiving allows users to securely archive your organization's emails and simply retrieve these archived emails in a compliant way. A compliant email archiving solution meets industry standards for data retention are met. Email archiving can be GDPR-compliant with the right policies and procedures in place

Data growth is a real challenge for IT departments. Email archiving compliance solutions make it easy to manage information risk. Email compliance solutions and email archiving solutions enable the retention and protection from tampering of data or email for a specified period of time.

ArcTitan is a cloud-based archiving solution that delivers fast, easy to use, and effective email archiving to ensure compliance of the heavily regulated financial services industry. ArcTitan is complaint with all major data laws in financial services such as: FINRA and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

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