Data Archival for Long-Term Data Retention: A Comprehensive Guide

Data growth is one of the most pressing challenges that businesses face today. Businesses face significant challenges where more data must be retained. As a result, data management can seriously hinder their ability to grow. 

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) can offer a robust and reliable solution to clients who might be struggling with data growth: Data Archive as a Service (AaaS). 

1. What is data archiving?

Data archiving is is the process of storing important business information for long-term retention. 

Storing data in an archive includes information that has been identified as inactive and consists of infrequently accessed data. Frequently file based, these data archives are transferred to and stored in long-term storage.

In data lifecycle management, the data archives and object storage act as a library of historical data going back to the beginnings of a business.

2. Why is data archiving and long-term data retention important?

Archived documents are generally ones that a business is required to keep to be compliant with regulatory standards. This is usually guided by a data archiving strategy, a data archiving plan, a Data Retention Policy or Data Archiving Policy. These type of data management and assurance of data integrity is important if they are needed in the future.

The archived files provide businesses with a paper trail to help justify and explain their actions. This helps during disaster recovery and forensic investigations.

Data archiving and object storage are also important because they help to minimize data loss. It also decreases operational expenses. They stay in a secure place while ensuring compliance with regulations and laws. Archival data even make it so that the business stays protected in the event of a legal case or an audit.

3. The 3 principles of data archiving

Data protection and archiving needs vary based on the needs of the client. However, the data archiving system should consist of the following three principles: availability, security, and retention.

1. Availability

Availability is important because clients may need to access crucial archived files of existing data at any given moment. When they retain data, they need to consider how they can access it, in other words, how available it is. If they are unable to access these documents in a timely manner, it could lead to a lawsuit or investigation being launched against them.

2. Security

Having archived data on an encrypted server delivers data security benefits as the risk of theft or deletion of confidential information drops considerably. The data archive needs to have a certain level of security to ensure that confidential information stays private for its entire lifespan.

3. Retention

Archival data may have to be stored for several years. Through long-term data retention, your clients will be able to reinforce previous business decisions with an audit-proof paper trail.

4. What is cold storage?

Cold storage is a means of storing low-touch archive data in low-cost storage methods.

Cold storage archives serve as a simple and low-cost method because these files don't have a reason to be accessed frequently. 

5. What is hot storage?

Hot storage refers to data that must be accessible immediately. If the stored information is operation-critical and cannot be delayed, it's a potential for hot storage.

Data is frequently kept in tiered or hybrid storage infrastructures to ensure quick data access for hot data storage. These are designed to cope with the large amount of increasing change created regularly by all end-users. 

6. What is the difference between cold storage and hot storage?

While cold storage is a more inaccessible method to store archived data, hot storage is known for being easy to access and is commonly used as a data recovery mechanism for backup data. There is no delay in how quickly you can access it and therefore has different storage costs associated with it.

Cold storage is for the dormant or older data stored on media files or in the cloud. Hot storage is more like a constant data stream for files that are still being used daily in the running of a business.

7. What is Data Archive as a Service (AaaS)?

It's likely that, as a Managed Service Provider, you are already providing services for:

Archive as a Service (AaaS) puts someone besides the business owner (or their staff) in charge of all aspects of archiving data into the cloud. The service provider will work to store data into the archive while keeping it relatively accessible.

MSPs can offer different types of data archival depending on the client's specific needs.

The main goal is preserving data for long-term retention purposes while protecting the record's authenticity, integrity, and reliability. Even if the client doesn't access the data for a long time, it's still there and completely intact.

8. What are the benefits of Archive as a Service?

There are many benefits that come from MSPs adding Data Archive as a Service to what they can do for their clients. AaaS allows businesses to lower the risks and inefficiencies that they might have had in the past with tapes and other media types through the cloud.

What's even better is having someone else handle integral aspects of business operation while business owners can focus on more pressing matters.

Prevent data loss

Losing important documents can be devastating to your company. Not only could recreating these documents cost hundreds of dollars, but it can also lead to lawsuits or work against you in an investigation where you could've had proof. This loss can also cause you to go through periods of decreased productivity.

Simple and reliable

It's simple to use and will keep your clients' archives safe until they are needed again. Data restore points are taken directly from backup storage, so no additional transfer from the archives is necessary.

Easily manage data growth

Data archival allows for several years of long-term data retention. Your clients might just need somewhere safe to file information that they won't ever need again. It's just there as a safeguard in case something happens.

As their businesses grow, they need to have a place to add inactive files to an already existing stockpile of information.

Cost efficient

The economic and simple per-gigabyte pricing is ideal because clients only pay for what they need. There are no additional charges that come from bandwidth changes or retrieval requirements.


Your clients have data that needs to be safe and secure at all times. With AaaS, data kept in a primary storage or even secondary storage is secure and resilient against disk failures, data corruption through malware infections or cybersecurity threats. It also helps to provide data protection that saves data from human error via accidental deletions.

Ability to meet regulatory or compliance requirements

AaaS helps business owners to stay compliant with regulations when it comes to regulatory requirements. Certain businesses are required to keep records in their possession for a predetermined length of time as part of their data management. This makes sure that all of the important archives are readily available for providing proof in legal cases or during an audit.

9. What are the requirements to consider for data archiving

There are several data archiving requirements that an MSP client must consider as part of a data archiving strategy for their clients. With Probax, MSPs can provide their clients with all of the data lifecycle management and archiving software needed to successfully deliver a robust and reliable AaaS.

Cloud storage requirements

The type of primary storage a client chooses will play a huge role in how accessible their archived data will be. After all, an archived file is only useful if you can access that data when the time comes. So, the chosen type of storage needs to be functioning at all times. 

Cloud data archiving and online data storage as a high capacity storage medium provides easy access to archive data from multiple locations while making it possible to manage and add new database records easily. In contrast to offline data storage, cloud data archiving provides better storage costs as well.

Retrieval requirements

Retrieval requirements and search capabilities need to be considered. Some types of archived data can take days to retrieve, like with offline storage. It can also prove time-consuming to retrieve when you are dealing with a system where files are difficult to find and have complicated search queries.

Some data archiving software cannot retrieve a single file or a part of a database. Your client might only be looking to retrieve specific records, but they may have to sift through an entire database to find what specific archival data they are looking for.

Other archives may require them to submit a request for access through an IT department or a third party. This can impact how quickly they can gain access to the archives.

Regulatory compliance requirements

Clients looking for data storage solutions for data archives should consider what their industry requires for regulatory compliance. If they are bound by HIPAA or GDPR, they may need to keep their client's records for many years after the file becomes inactive.

Their archived documents may need built-in data lifecycle management policies to make sure that records such as financial data or personally identifiable information (PII) are kept for the required length of time and still accessible until that time is up.

10. What is the difference between data archiving and data backup?

We've already pointed out that data archival is a means of file storage for data that is no longer active but needs to be accessible in case something happens later down the road. 

A data backup is a copy of current information stored in a convenient location so that when disaster strikes (natural disaster, data corruption, etc.), they have the option to return to a previous point of data from a specific time rather than start over from scratch to rebuild their business.

A data archiving strategy will be focused on long-term archive storage. Backup data may be more readily accessible and relied on for different data protection needs.

11. The MSP opportunity to leverage backup services to introduce cloud solutions

MSPs may offer high-value services and income opportunities by coordinating client cloud migrations and subsequently offering cloud solutions. However, the sales cycle for cloud migration can be very protracted, making it difficult for cloud solution suppliers to engage prospective customers.

You, as an MSP, could easily argue that migrating these services allows businesses to test the waters without affecting their business. Examples include failing back and failing over during disaster recovery testing.

This would also show the benefits the customer can get, which could include:

  • Lower costs
  • More efficiency
  • Better features

You're giving your customer a way to "see" the opportunities that the cloud reflects. It will also provide them with a sense of the value of your proposal and customer service.

12. Why is Veeam the #1 for cloud backup and archive?

Veeam is a single tool for modernizing backup, speeding up the hybrid cloud, and protecting your data. It does all of these things at once. In addition, Veeam is open and complements a diverse network of partners, enabling its solution to be readily integrated into any customer scenario.

Veeam is hardware-independent and software-defined, allowing for maximum customer customization. In addition, it provides simple, adaptable, and dependable backup services so that our customers may focus entirely on doing business.

13. Why are Probax and Veeam better together for MSPs delivering cloud data archive services?

Probax is a leading Veeam Cloud & Service Provider (VCSP) partner. Probax provides out-of-the-box solutions to assist you in rapidly delivering Veeam-powered solutions to your end clients.

Probax has created an incredible platform with MSPs in mind. They are constantly innovating, scaling, and delivering new services to their partner network. In addition, Probax is continuously pushing for serious collaborations with Veeam technologies. 

Probax provides a one-of-a-kind next-generation management portal that includes intelligent site discovery and automated systems.

This enhances Veeam's business model while also enabling its MSP customers to give scalable, ready-to-use data protection solutions that provide significant benefits to their own MSP business.

14. Why is Veeam Cloud Connect the best data archiving solution?

Using Veeam® Cloud Connect removes some of the cost and complexity of managing a second infrastructure. Of all the different data archiving tools available, Veeam Cloud Connect makes it easy to archive data, get your customers' data archives offsite into a cloud storage provider.

Veeam guarantees the same safe and confidential archive points you'd have in an off-site repository dedicated to storing your archives. This means that all types of archive data are completely protected and easy to recover when they're needed.