What are the Key Features of an Effective 17a-4 Data Backup and Archiving Solution?

A proper data backup and archiving solution to meet SEC rule 17a-4 needs the following features:


Rule 17a-4 stipulates that a firms must protect and keep available the books and records relating to its business. This must include data such as email residing on internal servers or PCs and other records such as word documents, PDFs, scanned files and key user’s databases on users’ hard drives or in the cloud.

Completely Self-Managed:

The backup and archiving process should be fully managed by the provider who will completely administer the process to ensure no gaps appear in a firm’s data compliance strategy.


The third party provider’s backup and archiving software should have the ability to automatic send email reports to compliance officers for review. This will be part of the firms’ supervisory duties and a key component of their regular compliance reporting and auditing procedures.

Indexing of Data:

A compliant supervisory tool automatically indexes data added to the archive. Indexing means data can be retrieved properly so searches are faster and any new information is quickly searchable in the archive.

Secure Access:

Ideally, the archive will be accessed from a secure web interface. This allows compliance officers and other key staff to easily share the electronic records supervisory duties.

Downloading Data:

Compliance officers need to make copies of electronic records for auditors. And a proper supervisory solution will centralize the downloading of all data such as emails, word documents, scanned records and key client databases. In addition, any data that is needed by regulators during the electronic records request must be downloaded in an encrypted zip file format.

Allan Lonz
Allan Lonz
Allan Lonz, President and CEO of AdvisorVault is a veteran in the field with over 15 years experience providing data compliant solutions to the financial industry, especially for small firms. Recognizing that very few backup vendors understood the data compliance challenges of small broker-dealer firms, Allan created AdvisorVault - a remote backup company designed to provide his customers with a solution to ensure they meet all current rules from FINRA and the SEC. It includes all the hardware and software to remotely backup, archive and ensure disaster recovery of critical electronic records such as email, books and records and all other data at head office, branch offices and remote locations in accordance with rules 17a-3 and 17a-4. With Allan’s deep understanding of technology, compliance and finance he brings a unique mix of expertise that allows him to design a complete turn-key product. Priced at one small monthly fee, this "out-of-the-box " approach takes the burden off his customers shoulders and allows them to experience complete data compliance peace of mind simply and inexpensively.