Archiving better in U.S. than U.K, but still not good

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They won’t win a gold medal, but U.S. companies are beating their counterparts across the pond in one important IT security race.

U.S. companies are more proficient at archiving data than firms in the U.K., a study by BridgeHead Software revealed this week.

The study also found that, despite concerns about regulatory compliance in the U.S., American firms do not feel the heat from legislators as much as U.K. IT security pros.

Jon William Toigo, chief executive officer of Toigo Partners International, said companies are often confused as how to archive different applications, such as email, databases and content management.

"The difference between U.S. and U.K. companies with respect to archiving practices may well reflect the dilemma confronting U.S. IT organizations: that of having to select and manage separate archive tools for databases, email, content management solutions and unsorted user files," he said. "Thus far, the U.S. vendor community has shown little interest in cooperating in any sort of overarching scheme or archive management, which in turn imposes a huge burden on IT administrators."

Twenty-three percent of U.S. companies do not archive data, a slight improvement over the 28 percent of British firms that do not do so, the survey said. One-quarter of U.K. respondents who said they do archive use an automated tool, while 32 percent of U.S. companies said they do the same.

Twenty-two percent of British companies said compliance or corporate governance was a factor driving them towards archiving, a sentiment shared by 15 percent of U.S. companies. However, when asked if compliance was a factor at all in their businesses, nearly half (48 percent) of U.K. companies said no, as did 42 percent in the U.S.

Tony Cotterill, CEO of BridgeHead software, said the figures show too few companies are archiving the right way.

"Too many respondents in both countries are using backup software to create archives, which just isn't appropriate. An archive involves indexing content so it can be retrieved later using a keyword search, anything else is just back-up," he said. "The fact that business continuity and disaster recovery heads the list of drivers for archiving in both countries reinforces the conclusion that many people are confused."

The survey, part of a larger study called "The ILM Audit," polled 165 respondents in North America, mostly comprised of senior IT directors and managers from a range of business sectors. It also polled more than 300 IT managers and directors from medium to large organizations in the U.K.

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