8 Key Best Practices for Archiving Digital Communication in the New Normal

In today’s online classroom, more communication is happening amongst staff and students than ever before, and schools are still required to comply with their applicable state and federal laws. Most, if not all, of k-12 schools have implemented an email archiving solution – although, they may be looking for guidance as data volume increases and communication is taking place outside of email.

Below is a list of 8 best practices for Educators to streamline Digital Communication Archiving within budget whilst remote learning:

  1. Identify what you need to archive/index

While many schools have long since implemented email archiving solutions, the scope has been widened as institutes are using a variety of different platforms for communication amongst staff and students. The personal information of students as it’s defined in many state laws across the US is not limited to what is included in an email. Because of the many ways in which staff and students are communicating, it is important to identify your top 2-3 digital communication platforms and archive those in accordance to regulations.

  1. Make Regulations a Priority and Establish High Standard Policies

Depending on the state in which your school operates, you may be subjected to state-tailored student data privacy laws and regulations. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is to be examined intently as all schools receiving federal funds will fall under this regulation. However, it is important to investigate the specifics of your state’s student privacy law. Setting simple High Standard policies that can cover your bases across the different Federal and State Laws your school falls under helps save you time and budget – while holding your staff and students’ privacy to a high level.

  1. Ensure Data Is Accessible when needed for litigation or internal investigation

Storing the data at your institute is the minimum legal requirement of many policies as this data needs to be accessed when it is called upon in litigation – or much more commonly, internal investigations. What happens when communication between staff members is called upon to solve a problem at your school? Well, this data needs to be located and extracted, so quick and easy eDiscovery searching must be enabled across all institutional storage. If the right data can be found quickly, internal investigation or even litigation processes can be expedited.

  1. Ensure you have enough space for influx of data

Under normal circumstances, Digital Communication Archives can quickly become pricy as data storage needs grows. The same is even more so true now, with all communication being done digitally and the growing presence of collaborative solutions such as Zoom in the educational landscape. Because of this, purchasing additional unanticipated storage can quickly run up your budget if the solution is not priced and built to scale with your mass number of users.

  1. Automate retention policies

The whole point of an archiving solution is to comply with rules and regulations, which heavily revolve around the retainment of emails and other communication between staff and students. Entrusting organization members to manually archive the correct data is a confusing, costly, and non-compliant process. Automated retention of all communications, set on policies pertaining to state/federal laws, is key in keeping costs down during this time – and ensuring data is easy to find during litigation or internal investigation.

  1. Automate Keyword Tagging and Indexing

While many institutions will follow the same federal and state regulations, individual schools may have different “personal” needs or uses of archives. Internal investigations can be greatly assisted by the addition of keyword tagging, which is indexing data based on specific words or phrases. For example, if wanting to monitor all staff communication pertaining to a certain piece of sensitive information, setting automated keyword tags can help you identify and group all occurrences of this sensitive information – making it easier for the investigation team to find and analyze.

  1. If Regulations permit, go Cloud.

If you have identified that regulations allow you to store your archives in the Cloud – do it. Building a largescale archiving infrastructure physically is complicated and requires maintenance and upkeep. In this time, institutes have a lot on their plate, and simplifying management of their archiving is critical. With Cloud Archiving, educators can lower the cost of ownership of their archives and allow for the flexibility to scale quickly, as upgrading storage and capabilities within a cloud solution is inherently quicker and easier than on-premise.

  1. Backup your Archives to avoid catastrophic loss

Are you backing up your archived data to avoid catastrophic loss in the event of technical issue with your live systems? Institutes’ archives are filled with sensitive information and having quality backups ensures that staff & students’ data is kept safe. Storing backups in the cloud can also be a very effective method for budget-tight schools as there is no need to purchase physical infrastructure hardware. Quick access to the archives for litigation and internal investigations purposes is extremely important, especially during the event of a disaster – and without a backup, institutes can be lost.

At Data443, we have many Clients in the Education space, and are keenly aware that they may be looking for advice on how to handle Remote Learning. Because of this, we compiled a list of what, at its core, can be the foundation of an affordable and effective solution for the Email Archiving needs of Institutions under Remote Learning.

Click here to learn more about the product we built with these best practices in mind.