How to Archive SharePoint Documents for Compliance

Organizations are often faced with the challenge of storing and retaining documents for compliance purposes for varying durations. Dealing with SEC, HIPAA, SOX, or DOD compliance requirements call for a reliable archiving and retention storage architecture. Administrators cannot afford any tampering with those documents.

SharePoint is primarily a document-centric solution and offers excellent collaboration and publishing features. However, it can present significant challenges in meeting the regulatory requirements for storage, retention and discovery. SharePoint’s built-in storage architecture fails to meet the level of compliance needed by the organizations. However, with the availability of RBS providers in your SharePoint infrastructure, these shortcomings can be overcome by separating BLOBs from the content metadata and exploiting vast possibilities of external storage and retention.

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There are different compliance requirements scenarios. One of the key among them is that you have to archive and retain certain types of documents and BLOBs in separate isolated storage. Archiving BLOBs in separate storage for compliance purposes ensures that these BLOBs are not accidentally deleted from SharePoint by users because a copy of the documents is kept in this separate retention archive from where they can be restored by SharePoint administrators.

Similarly, in many situations, you have documents that you must preserve for a predetermined period for regulatory compliance reasons and then they have to be automatically deleted from SharePoint. An example of this is current contracts and agreements in a financial, insurance, or other similar industry. On the other hand, certain compliance frameworks might require that some documents be automatically deleted after certain period of time has elapsed such as financial information that you don’t want to keep for legal purposes.

SharePoint Compliance

SharePoint Compliance

Figure 2: BLOB Retention for Compliance Purposes

However, not all RBS providers for SharePoint allow you the “archive” and “retain” capability at the same time; for such providers, “Archive” only means moving the BLOBs from storage tier to another.  Any SharePoint RBS provider that gives you this retention plus archiving capability must let you specify a separate storage, which is an archive to be used ONLY for retaining documents. StorageEdge has been built keeping in view these important considerations. It allows you to store compliance-related content enabling comprehensive management of SharePoint content throughout its lifecycle. It lets you create a retention archive which is protected for all regular SharePoint operations, either in the form of WORM (Write-Once-Read-Many) or only for the SharePoint administrators to access it.

Moreover, a good RBS provider must give you the ability to specify filters on which documents to put in retention archive. These filters could be on name, extension, size, content type, ownership, and more. The main idea is to give you real control over specifying which documents you want to archive and which to retain. StorageEdge gives SharePoint administrators flexibility and control over when, where, why, and how SharePoint content BLOBs are stored through application of filters. You can store BLOBs on multiple tiers of storage, according to a wide range of criteria including size, age, number of retained versions, changes in metadata or state (e.g. completed), file type (e.g. PDF, TIF, etc), content type and so on, meeting both operational and compliance needs.

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