Voicemail storage can be done in one of several different ways, or possibly even multiple ways if backup systems are used. The most common way in which to store voicemails is in the digital realm, usually on a local or network hard drive. This allows easy access to the voicemail, and a chance for the individual accessing the message to quickly find the correct one. Some voicemail programs may also be linked to e-mail systems, which also has a few advantages. Almost gone are the days when voicemails were stored on a physical medium, such as a tape.
Computer hard drives offer a great deal of advantages when it comes to voicemail storage. First, they tend to keep the information stable for a long period of time. Second, companies can set rules for voicemails, so that they are eventually deleted after a certain period of time, if not accessed and saved. This keeps messages in the system current, but also typically allows employees to preserve those messages that need to be saved for a longer period of time. This type of voicemail storage may offer access over a phone or through a computer.
For the home environment, even the simple answering machine typically uses a hard drive to store voice messages. Many answering machines are even able to partition different areas in memory, so that any caller can determine in which file a voicemail is stored. For example, each individual family members may have his/her own separate file, typically referred to as a mailbox.
Some telecommunications providers and Internet service providers are also offering the opportunity to have voicemail storage and e-mail storage in the same location. This is a concept referred to as unified messaging. The advantages to the client is the convenience of having everything in one inbox. In some cases, the system will also keep track of the status of those who sent the messages, allowing the recipient to determine the best way in which to respond to the person. Typically, those response choices include a telephone call, voice message, or e-mail.
The disadvantages to digital voicemail storage include reliability and accessibility. Some individuals may not be as comfortable as others in accessing voicemails from a computer platform. Also, servers and hard drives sometimes fail, leaving the user without access to that information. Having backups or redundancies built in can help remedy that situation.
Another way to avoid the failure of hard drives is to use an older technology, such as a tape. While this type of voicemail storage is getting harder to find, it is still available. The data can stay secure for long periods of time, but eventually the quality of the tape degrades. That requires it to be replaced periodically to ensure the best quality. Other options involve backing up messages online, or using removable media such as flash memory cards.