Since the beginning of the 21st century, the world has entered in a digital revolution where digital tools and apps are used extensively. Every business relies entirely or partly on digital information that has become an even more important asset for companies. To manage this digital information properly throughout the entire life cycle, appropriate organizational and technical measures are required. Even if organizations are using capture and ECM solutions to manage information, they often forget the last life cycle step: archiving.
What does it mean to archive digitally?
In the “paper world”, most companies reduce archiving to its most simple solution: storing paper in the basement or in offices. Because paper is deteriorating slowly, we could assume that the readability on the long term was ensured and that the integrity of the documents could be proven easily.
Due to the fast evolution of technology and its fast obsolescence, integrity of information and readability of digital archives has become crucial. This requires technical and organizational measures to ensure the preservation of information.
Following international standards such as ISO 14721 or ISO 16175, a decent digital archiving solution will help your company to get rid of the paper files and will enable you to get easier access to your information.
A decent digital archiving solution requires several characteristics such as:
- Converting files to a long-term preservation format
- Describing archived information
- Documenting the lifecycle and information preservation operation
- Checking validity and fixity of information
- Ensuring long-term integrity
- Managing the retention period and disposition
- Monitoring the file format and storage solution
The purpose of the requirements is to preserve the legal and/or financial value of your information. A legal framework enforces companies to preserve a variety of documents such as social documents, HR documents, accounting,…and to be able to prove their authenticity and integrity. The aim of a digital archiving solution is to preserve the legal value and to manage the risk of a claim or lawsuit. The Belgian Digital Act will reinforce this purpose, assigning legal value to digital documents and providing organizations with security when using qualified digital archives.
Digital archiving advantages
A digital archiving solution will help you to manage your information better and will free yourself from business solutions like ECM, ERP, CRM, … Indeed, where business solutions change quite often to adapt to the daily practice, archiving solutions will preserve your information outside these software applications.
Digital Archiving solutions will also help you to:
- Get rid of legacy applications
- Easily search information and access it faster
- Ensure integrity for legal value preservation
- Better manage retention periods and storage
- Enable paperless offices and processes
- Easily manage privacy data
The Belgian Digital Act provides a new legal framework to implement digital archiving systems. The law defines the requirements to secure the legal value of digital documents to ensure their preservation. Digital archiving systems will have to meet the requirements defined by the Digital Act royal decree, to obtain the accreditation of a qualified trust service. Organizations will have to be prepared to acquire this qualification in order to preserve their valuable information.