Proper archiving in PDF/A format

Permanent and Compliant Data Preservation in IBM Notes

For most businesses, the job of securely storing data over time is an ongoing challenge, particularly in view of the veritable flood of e-mails pouring into their employees’ mailboxes every day. This situation raises more questions than just which format assures long-term data readability and what archiving system best fits into your existing IT landscape. In light of the fact that much of the information contained in e-mails has legal significance and how lawmakers have set forth policies for archiving electronic mail, one of the most critical questions about storing data is what archiving system fulfills all the many statutory requirements. A midmarket IT company was confronted with this very issue and now employs a tool for storing documents that – with no additional expense or effort – automatically converts mails and files from within IBM Notes to the legally compliant PDF/A archiving format.

The VRG Group with headquarters in the Lower Saxony city of Oldenburg is one of the leading providers of information technology services and standard software in northwestern Germany. More than 350 employees are hard at work supporting customers representing small to midsize industrial and commercial businesses, the public sector and social-services organizations. This service company’s motto is “Your IT in good hands” and operates as “the IT department for small and midsized enterprises.” Fundamental to what has been more than 45 years of success is not only its consistently high level of quality, but the way the company stays on the cutting edge of technological expertise and innovation. When you set this kind of standard for your own products and services, you naturally expect the same from what your business partners make and sell. “We were looking for a tool we could use for compliant data archiving that would be able to convert our IBM Notes documents into the PDF/A format,” recalled Jens Eisenblätter, the developer at the VRG Group. “We quickly came across SoftVision’s n2pdf software and discovered how perfectly it met our requirements and offered many more features than comparable rival products.”

Following successful testing in March of 2010, the VRG Group started its expansive archiving project in October of that same year.

Safe and reliable long-term archiving

n2pdf software from SoftVision Development GmbH is a complete solution package for converting documents and file attachments to PDF/A and was specially designed for integration in IBM Notes applications. Normally, users have to run an external application whenever they want to generate PDF files from within IBM Notes. Besides interrupting their workflows, this process can also lead to potential sources of error. With n2pdf – and just one click of the mouse – users can now generate complex PDFs without destroying any of the file’s original structures, links and cross references. Common  IBM Notes navigation elements, such as references to documents, views and databases, are adopted and supplemented by new and convenient features, such as a table of contents. “The solution’s flexibility was the thing that made the product so compelling,” said Jens Eisenblätter, who, as a developer, was particularly excited about being able to create PDFs any way he wants. What’s more, the tool also lets you merge or combine multiple documents and select the settings for the PDFs, including those for securing and encrypting data. Because the conversion process runs automatically, no additional work is required on the part of users to archive documents in PDF/A format at a recognized level of legal an auditing compliance.

Easy to implement and simple to use

The software rollout went very smoothly. Because this solution is server based at the VRG Group, the employees only see the final product within the archive system itself. Even the administrator had no problem finding his way and working with the tool. “Getting ourselves oriented was a snap thanks to first-rate tutorials and the manufacturer’s easy-to-understand documentation. Not one formal training session was needed,” explained Jens Eisenblätter. And he has nothing but great things to say about working with SoftVision. “We can always rely on being helped quickly and competently whenever support is needed.”

Although it’s just a thought at the moment, one thing is for sure: The IT professionals in Oldenburg can well image switching from the n2pdf Client to the software’s more powerful n2pdf Server Task so that they will be able to convert even more documents to PDF/A in less time.

Thanks to this sophisticated software solution for archiving in PDF/A format, these information technology specialists can rest assured in the knowledge that their data is on the safe side, which gives a twofold meaning to the Oldenburg-based company’s motto of putting one’s IT “in good hands.”