Long term electronic archiving involves the preservation of documents in digital format, safeguarding their integrity. This type of document custody is a need arising from the global digital transformation in which e-transactions are a common and growing practice in both the private and public sector.
But it is necessary to emphasise that a long-term archiving system should not be confused with a file hosting service. The most important difference lies in the assurance of integrity and authenticity, showing that these data have not been subject to alterations through time, and which grant the documents probative value before third parties. A long-term archiving service is configured according to technical criteria regulated by laws currently in force in European member states.
When it comes to choosing a provider, it is important to take into account several service specifications and the solution being offered, in terms of the different technical and legal aspects that may affect the documents we want to archive.
Key features of an electronic long-term archiving solution
- A secure long-term e-archiving service is guaranteed by a technology provider accredited as Qualified Trust Service Provider. The Qualified Trust Service Provider accreditation means having complied with a series of requirements stipulated in the eIDAS regulation and submitting to audits by a higher accredited body at national and European level to carry out this activity. It therefore provides greater legal guarantees in electronic transactions than non-qualified ones. Access the European listing of approved CEF Digital Trust Service Providers.
- 2. eIDAS accreditation of qualified archiving service for qualified electronic seals. Electronic activities in the European Union scope are regulated by EU Regulation 910/2014, known as eIDAS, which ensures safe interaction in any digital environment. It is essential to have a secure e-archiving service which, protected under the eIDAS Regulation, is able to keep the electronic signatures, stamps and certificates linked to the data or documents that are archived recurrently in time to preserve the legal proof value of the files.
- Probative value: One of the main features of an electronic archiving system is its ability to provide probative value to the documents. A Qualified Trust Services Provider can offer additional guarantees to the archived files, granting them the reversion of burden of proof to third parties within the framework of the European Union.
- 4. Security and integrity: It is recommendable to have an archiving system certified by international and local data security and processing standards that ensure the validity of your data in the event of any legal requirement or from third parties. The main regulatory framework at European level is governed by Regulation Nº 910/2014, known as eIDAS, which regulates the figure of qualified trust service provider as an operator certified for the provision of electronic data archiving services with probative value. Likewise, it is handy to know if the solution has accreditations such as ISO 27001 and if it applies e-signature and qualified time stamping mechanisms.
- Document classification and accessibility: The technology solution must be able to archive and correctly classify documents by means of metadata to ensure their swift availability at any time. The long-term e-archiving service must guarantee the preservation, safekeeping and non-corruption of documents and accessibility of data over time.
- Traceability: In long-term archiving, keeping evidence or logs that identify the actions taken on the documents is vitally important. In other words, having proof confirming the stages which each document has gone through.
- Preservation of information: Maintaining the integrity of the document is necessary for it to have legal value over time. For this, it is necessary to archive together with the document the electronic seals and the digital signatures that are used frequently, adding security layers to them in order to extend their reliability throughout the archiving period and beyond their technological validity.
- Know exactly where documents and files are kept: Archived documents and data often contain sensitive details about companies, customers and employees. These documents with sensitive information may be affected by local or European legislation on issues such as data protection, requiring the servers to be physically located within EU territory. This is why it is important to know the physical infrastructure of the long-term e-archiving solution.
- Audit: An e-audit is the record of each operation related with the system or the document life-cycle, necessary in the event of litigation requiring documents to be provided to third parties affected.
The EDICOMLta solution complies with the requirements set by eIDAS
EDICOM is a technology solutions supplier accredited as a Qualified Trust Services Provider according to the eIDAS Regulation. This European level certification acknowledges EDICOM as a Trusted Third Party and thanks to the certification of our Qualified Electronic Seal Preservation service, EDICOM is able to preserve the legal status of documents and files archived with guarantees of authenticity and integrity through time.
EDICOMLta is a platform certified for the safekeeping of e-documents for the period of time required by companies or set by the legislation in each case. The solution ensures permanent access and retrieval of 100% of documents uploaded to the platform, as well as managing proofs evidencing the integrity of archived documents.
For a better understanding of how the EDICOMLta solution works, we have drafted a guide including an annex with practical case studies on electronic archiving of VAT books, Human Resources department documents and e-invoices addressed to the Administration.