What is the difference between legal and operational archiving?

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Legal archiving vs operational archiving

In the context of archiving for financial services, there are two main categories to consider: legal archiving and operational archiving. While they share similarities, there are distinct differences between the two. Let’s explore these differences in the context of financial services:

Legal Archiving:

Legal archiving refers to the secure storage and preservation of documents, including contracts and related records, in accordance with legal and regulatory requirements. The primary purpose of legal archiving is particularly to ensure compliance, meet legal obligations, and support potential legal proceedings. Here are some key aspects of legal archiving:

Retention Periods:
Legal archiving adheres to specific retention periods mandated by laws and regulations. These periods vary based on the type of document and the jurisdiction in which the financial services provider operates. The purpose is significantly to preserve documents for the required duration, enabling their availability for legal or regulatory purposes.

Compliance and Audit:
Legal archiving facilitates compliance with legal and regulatory requirements. Furthermore, it ensures that financial services providers can provide the necessary documentation during audits, regulatory inspections, or legal inquiries. The archived records serve as evidence to demonstrate adherence to applicable laws and regulations.

Security and Integrity:
Legal archiving places great emphasis on maintaining the security and integrity of the archived documents. The storage facilities or digital repositories have robust security measures in place, including access controls, encryption, and backup systems.  Moreover, these measures protect against unauthorized access, tampering, or data loss, ensuring the reliability and authenticity of the archived records.

Operational Archiving:

Operational archiving, on the other hand, focuses on the storage and retention of documents and data for operational purposes within the financial services organization. While legal archiving primarily serves legal and regulatory requirements, operational archiving serves broader operational needs. Here are some distinguishing factors of operational archiving:

Operational Efficiency:
Operational archiving aims to facilitate efficient access and retrieval of documents to support ongoing business operations. In other words, it focuses on organizing and categorizing documents in a manner that enables quick and easy retrieval by authorized personnel. Certainly this helps in day-to-day activities, such as customer inquiries, internal processes, and decision-making.

Reference and Historical Data:
Operational archiving includes a wide range of documents beyond legal and contractual records. It may encompass customer communications, transaction records, internal memos, reports, and other data relevant to operational activities. In this case, these archives serve as a reference for historical analysis, business intelligence, and decision support.

Integration with Systems:
Operational archiving often involves integration with various systems and applications within the financial services organization. In effect, it enables seamless access to archived information directly from operational systems, improving efficiency and streamlining processes.

Business Continuity:
Operational archiving plays a role in business continuity planning. By preserving and archiving critical operational documents, financial services providers can ensure continuity of operations in the event of disasters, system failures, or data loss. Likewise, these archives serve as backups and help restore operations with minimal disruption.

While legal archiving focuses on meeting legal and regulatory obligations, operational archiving is geared towards supporting ongoing operational needs within the financial services organization. Both forms of archiving are essential, but they have distinct objectives and considerations in terms of compliance, access, integration, and business continuity.

In summary, legal archiving centers around compliance and adherence to legal and regulatory requirements, ensuring the secure storage and preservation of documents for specific retention periods. Operational archiving, on the other hand, supports ongoing operational needs, providing efficient access to documents and data for day-to-day activities. Together, these archiving practices enable financial services providers to maintain a comprehensive and well-organized repository of information, fulfilling both legal obligations and operational requirements.

During the project phase, QuickSign works hand in hand with the financial service to ensure that both operational and legal archives are set up for assured longterm success in production.

Written by Pierre L.

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