GDPR-compliant archiving out of the cloud

vom 10.11.2020

24.10.2020 I by Kerstin Janke

Document management is by definition a topic aimed at the long term and security. Today, modern software applications support companies in the electronic documentation, legally compliant management and archiving of all business transactions: from data capture to distribution and processing to the storage of all information.

In order to be able to offer its customers fully cloud-based email and document archiving as an alternative to licensing and in-house operation, Inoxision was looking for a suitable cloud provider. The software manufacturer had high expectations: a stable and high-performance infrastructure at all times, which at the same time fully complies with the requirements of the DSGVO as well as the strict specifications of audit-proof archiving.

From a purely technical point of view, it is not a problem to provide more storage space for the growing volumes of data in the company. From an organizational point of view, however, it is. Additional storage resources are a cost factor and have to be managed. If documents and e-mails are to be archived over the long term, strict auditing, compliance and data protection rules must be observed. It should also be ensured that users can access their archived data again as easily and efficiently as possible when required.

Archiving paper documents, e-mails and digital records in an audit-proof manner

Andreas Reichmann, Managing Director of Inoxision GmbH from Neuenmarkt in Upper Franconia, describes the typical situation for medium-sized companies as follows: »Data volumes are growing rapidly. Often, several isolated applications are implemented for archiving and searching for documents costs employees a lot of time. And even if there is something like an archiving strategy in the company, most employees don't know it and find their own ways to archive their data.«

With inoxision ARCHIVE, the software manufacturer offers a powerful document and e-mail archiving solution that is designed to support companies at precisely these points - by archiving data centrally in an audit-proof manner with the ability to access the information again within seconds if required. A workflow server helps automate the archiving process, while batch processing with mask recognition and an OCR server ensure high performance and full-text search. »For some of our customers, however, it remained difficult to plan the dimension of the hardware resources required«,Andreas Reichmann recounts. »We therefore really wanted to offer a software-as-a-service variant as an alternative, where customers don't have to worry about their own IT infrastructure, IT operations or the right sizing«.

Global players don't fit with midsize maker mentality

In the search for a cloud provider to provide the resources for the cloud-based archiving solution inxosion.NOW, the Inoxision team examined quite a few different offers. First, an extensive test ran on the infrastructure of one of the global cloud providers. »In many aspects, this did not fit our requirements«, Andreas Reichmann recounts in retrospect. »The mix of high complexity and limited support quickly disappointed us with the large platforms. In addition, there were fluctuations in the stability and performance of the infrastructure«.

The lack of performance consistency and concerns about the data protection guidelines of international providers ultimately steered the search for a suitable cloud provider in a different direction. IT conformity with the European Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR) is now a top priority for all companies, and data protection principles must be strictly adhered to, especially when archiving sensitive documents and personal data, which is designed for the long term. Against this background, the search focused increasingly on a domestic cloud provider that is also legally subject to the local rules and regulations on data protection. The choice finally fell on the Infrastructure and Platform as a Service provider gridscale from Cologne.

»Not only do we operate our data centers exclusively in the German legal area, but with our German headquarters and jurisdiction in Cologne, we are also subject to all the requirements of the local data protection regulations. This is complemented by very comprehensive certifications of our technology and IT operating environment by accredited institutions and organizations, up to and including the German Federal Ministry of Economics«, says Henrik Hasenkamp, CEO and co-founder of gridscale. »The acceptance of cloud services crucially depends on whether service providers can guarantee a high level of security. The legal situation is complicated, and companies do not want to and cannot rely on vague statements or gray areas. Especially not when it comes to archiving their documents, business correspondence and e-mails«.

Flexibly scalable storage capacities in the cloud

According to Andreas Reichmann, the initial concerns about the comparatively smaller gridscale proved to be unfounded: Since both the application and the cloud platform are implemented as open and multi-client-capable architectures, the migration went smoothly and in the shortest possible time, and IT operations have been running completely trouble-free ever since. Thanks to the granular sizing and scaling options, any additional demand for infrastructure resources can be serviced virtually in real time and without downtime or maintenance windows at any time. This applies in particular to the highly volatile storage volume for e-mail archiving, which can only be predicted very imprecisely, and which can always be provided in the cloud as flexible and, if required, autoscaling storage capacity on an ad hoc basis and to any extent.

Since then, Inoxision's customers have been able to decide whether they want to use the archiving solutions as a traditional software application from their own data center or as a cloud service, inoxision.NOW. In addition to dynamic scaling, the cloud also offers cost advantages and avoids the need for major investments and fixed costs associated with in-house IT operations.

The original article in german can be found here.

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