Text Archiving: A Complete Guide

What is text archiving? Do I need it? How to set it up? Let's walk through these questions and more on this comprehensive guide to text archiving.
May 29, 2024
Thomas Stewart, Founder & CEO
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Text and SMS archiving is increasingly critical for regulated firms as regulatory bodies like the SEC and FINRA pay more scrutiny towards them.

It's not just about saving messages; it's about ensuring they're organized, accessible, and secure. This practice is required to stay compliant with laws and regulations, and important for efficient record-keeping while protecting sensitive information from cyber threats.

For investment advisors following SEC rules to healthcare providers adhering to HIPAA, archiving helps in managing digital chatter effectively, safeguarding data, and ensuring easy retrieval when needed.

This guide simplifies text archiving, covering its benefits, choosing the right solution, and answering FAQs. Whether you're looking to meet legal requirements or streamline data management, understanding text archiving is your first step toward better digital communication control. Let's dive into how text archiving can enhance your operational efficiency and ensure you meet compliance requirements.

Understanding Text Archiving

Text message archiving receives just as much regulatory scrutiny as email or other communication channels

What is Text Archiving?

Text message archiving is the practice of saving, organizing, and storing text messages and SMS for future access and use. Unlike simple backups, which are often temporary and unstructured, text archiving involves a deliberate process of categorization and long-term retention, making sure messages are easily retrievable and kept in a way that meets both company needs and compliance requirements.

The Need for Text Archiving

In a world where digital communication is constantly in your pocket, text message archiving addresses several key needs:

Text and SMS archiving is critical for security and compliance

Regulatory Compliance:

If you're reading this article, it's probably because your firm faces strict regulatory rules around retaining communications and must archive text messages. For instance, RIAs and broker-dealers must comply with SEC and FINRA regulations, requiring them to preserve electronic communications and archive SMS for a set period. Note that SMS archiving is just one requirement: archiving email and social media are both necessary as well.

Litigation Readiness:

Archived texts can serve as evidence in legal disputes, making it essential for businesses to have a reliable archive system.

Information Management:

With the volume of digital communications ever-increasing, text archiving helps organizations manage their data effectively, ensuring important information is not lost in the shuffle.

Compliance and Business Operations:

Text archiving is necessary to meet legal requirements across various sectors, safeguarding against fines and legal troubles. It also supports business by:

  • Improving data security.
  • Streamlining information retrieval, aiding quick access.
  • Enabling better decision-making through historical data analysis.

In short, text archiving is important for managing digital communications effectively, ensuring compliance, operational efficiency, and data security. Selecting an appropriate archiving solution is vital for organizations to navigate the digital communication landscape .

Important Factors in Choosing a Solution

Key Features to Look For:

eDiscovery and Search:

Solutions should offer intuitive search capabilities to access text message archives easily. SEC and FINRA examiners will ask for archived messages to ensure firm compliance.

Secure Storage:

Look for encryption for data at rest and in transit, ensuring top-notch security to make sure there are no gaps in your electronic records.


The message archive should integrate seamlessly with your existing email and messaging platforms and avoid disruptions or gaps.


Ensure the solution can grow with your business, accommodating more data and users over time. A good archiving solution adapts to your business's growth, handling increasing volumes of data without performance loss. Check if the provider your considering can handle other aspects of your compliance program, like marketing and advertising compliance.

The Role of AI in Archiving

AI technology significantly reduces the time and effort needed for manual sorting and classification, lowering false positives in compliance checks. It also enhances search functionality, making data retrieval swift and accurate. Make sure you're using AI in compliance with SEC rules though.

Selecting the right text archiving solution involves considering features that enhance efficiency, compliance, and data security. AI plays a crucial role in modern archiving solutions, offering superior classification, search capabilities, and scalability. Automated archiving stands out as the most effective method, providing a comprehensive approach that supports business growth and seamless integration with existing platforms.

Comparing Text Archiving Solutions

Implementing a text archiving solution involves choosing the right software or service that fits your organization's needs. Below, we list some popular text archiving solutions along with their advantages and disadvantages to help guide your decision-making process.

A selection of the top communications (text) archiving solutions

1. ArcTitan

  • Pros: Offers powerful search capabilities and seamless integration with email services like Office 365. Known for its scalability and security features.
  • Cons: Might be complex for smaller businesses with limited IT resources.
  • Compared to Hadrius: Hadrius can be set up in a single call and managed by a single person.

2. Mimecast Cloud Archive

  • Pros: Provides robust security measures and easy integration with existing email systems. Excellent support for e-discovery and compliance.
  • Cons: The user interface can be challenging for new users, and the cost might be higher compared to other solutions.
  • Compared to Hadrius: Hadrius has an intuitive and modern UI and backed by third-party security audits.

3. Smarsh

  • Pros: Specializes in archiving for compliance, supporting a wide range of digital communication platforms beyond email and SMS. Strong e-discovery tools.
  • Cons: Pricing can be on the higher end, making it less accessible for small businesses.
  • Compared to Hadrius: Hadrius is affordable while having the same comprehensive coverage over dozens of communications channels.

4. Proofpoint Enterprise Archive

  • Pros: Offers advanced data protection and threat intelligence features. Good scalability and support for legal hold and compliance management.
  • Cons: Can be complex to set up and may require more investment in terms of time and resources to fully leverage its capabilities.
  • Compared to Hadrius: Hadrius is made for firms of all sizes and integrates with your existing systems with a fully-managed white-glove onboarding process.

Choosing the right text archiving solution depends on several factors, including the size of your business, specific compliance needs, and budget. While the above solutions offer a range of features and benefits, weigh the pros and cons carefully to select a system that aligns with your organizational goals and simplifies the archiving process, ensuring compliance and efficient data management.

Hadrius for Text Archiving

Hadrius shines in the text archiving space with its AI-driven approach, offering unmatched efficiency and precision for compliance management. Tailored for the financial sector, it excels where generic solutions falter, ensuring seamless adherence to SEC and FINRA mandates.

Unlike others, Hadrius minimizes false positives, streamlining the review process and cutting down manual oversight. Its intuitive design and competitive pricing edge out complex and costly alternatives like Mimecast and Smarsh, making it the go-to for firms prioritizing ease of use, efficiency, and value. With Hadrius, users gain not just an archiving solution but a strategic partner in compliance and data security.

Beyond archiving, Hadrius is an all-in-one platform for your entire SEC and FINRA compliance program from AI communications review of dozens of channels, to AI marketing review and firm oversight.

The Hadrius user interface for communications archiving
Hadrius covers text/SMS, email, social media, instant messaging like Slack, and more


What is text archiving?

Text archiving involves systematically saving, organizing, and securing text messages and SMS for easy retrieval and compliance purposes. It's essential for businesses to manage data, adhere to legal requirements, and ensure information is accessible when needed.

Why is text archiving important?

For regulated firms, text archiving is the difference between remaining compliant or being fined for violations. Many benefits come with text archiving as well, like improved firm efficiency, compliance peace of mind, and legal protection.

Do I need text archiving?

If you are regulated by the SEC and/or FINRA, you have to archive SMS. Other regulatory bodies may require text and mobile archiving as well. This is part of a broader requirement known as Rules 17a-3 and 17a-4 requiring communications archiving.

What are some text archiving firms?

Some of the top text archiving firms include Hadrius, Mimecast, ArcTitan, Smarsh, and GlobalRelay.

How much does text archiving cost?

It can vary depending on the size of the firm, type of channels, volume of messages, number of accounts to be archived, and more. Overall price can range from a few hundred to several thousand each month.

How long does it take to implement text archiving?

It depends on the provider to the firm seeking text archiving. Firms like Hadrius can set up text archiving for most firms in a single call.

Thomas Stewart

Founder & CEO, Hadrius

Thomas Stewart is the founder and CEO of Hadrius, the most modern SEC and FINRA compliance software around. Thomas previously founded the SEC-registered RIA Quantbase where he learned first hand how to build an efficient compliance program that scales with high-growth firms.

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