A business needs to conform to many rules and regulations. Those requirements are only going to increase over time. Failing to be compliant can prove to very expensive and time consuming. It is therefore far cheaper to consider your compliance requirements in advance.

Because so much of the information that companies work with these days is digital it is important ensure that all your digital data is complaint. The first step in any process is to understand what compliance is required of your business. For most this means keeping good records and being able to retrieve that information quickly and easily. For example, how long would it take you to extract information sent my a single employee to an external party including all files and emails?

For most businesses, extracting this type of information would prove to be very time consuming and challenging. The secret is that it doesn’t need to be, all it requires is a little thought and planning upfront. The very first thing you need to do is assess the tools that you currently have at your disposal. This typically means conducting an audit of your information systems to see exactly where the information is stored and then what tools are available to extract it.

You can of course use desktop software like Outlook to extract individual emails from individual mailboxes which is fine until you need to search across multiple mailboxes within an organization. The next option you have available is to use some of the server management tool, however these also have limited individual searching capabilities.

Next of course you have third party eDiscovery tools that will plug into your data and index it. All of this becomes very expensive very quickly.

Compliance is however something that Office 365 was built for out of the box. If you opt for an advanced Exchange or SharePoint plan you will have compliance built in. This means you can easily run a search for the information you require across your whole organization. There is no additional cost for these tools in Office 365 they come with all of the advanced plans.

So the next time you are reviewing your compliance requirements ask yourself how easily you can extract any digital information. If you have a need for built in enterprise compliance tools then it maybe worthwhile considering the advanced Office 365 plans.