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The Difference Between Email Archiving and Email Backups

A common source of confusion about email storage is the difference between an email backup and email archiving. Often they are incorrectly assumed to be synonymous. Many of the differences between the two can have a significant impact on your business.

What is an Email Backup?

A backup is a snapshot of everything in your email database at a given point in time. Only one snapshot can exist in your backup at any time which means a new backup replaces the old one. A more precise way of saying this is that the old backup is destroyed and then the new one takes its place.

If emails are accidentally deleted or corrupted and a new email backup is made before they are recovered, then they are lost forever when the new backup replaces the old. This scenario isn’t that hypothetical especially in the case of corrupted emails where no one is aware of this condition when the backup is made.

Some email backups require a full restoration of the database. So in order to recover 20 corrupted emails, the entire database must be replaced with the backup. If any new emails were created since the last backup was made, they will be lost. Another way of saying this is that your email database gets replaced with an out-of-date backup. Over the course of years, a lot of emails can get destroyed by this process. This loss can happen by accident or by design. This places your business in violation of federal, state, and local email records regulations. If you aren’t aware of your lost emails, then you aren’t aware of your violation until it’s too late to avoid fines or worse should litigation demand access to the lost emails.

Two additional points are that backups are not designed for efficient searches of individual emails and the content of backups can be changed or deleted.

What is Email Archiving?

A public library is an archive of knowledge in the form of printed books. The knowledge is permanently stored there. New knowledge is added to the store of old knowledge. It has a system in place that allows efficient access to any of the books. These books are only meant to be read, you cannot destroy them or attempt to change the content within them.

An email archive can be thought of in the same way. They too are meant to be long-term places of storage that allow efficient access. New emails add to the storage of old emails. They don’t replace them. Emails can be read but not edited or deleted.

Incoming and outgoing email are saved to the archive. Regardless of the reason, if a business loses email, they can be recovered from the archive without the necessity of recovering the entire email database. Email within the archive is indexed which makes search with keywords possible. Because of this easy access and nothing is ever lost, email archiving keeps you compliant with record regulations.

An additional benefit with email archiving is that it’s no longer necessary to keep old emails on your email server. This reduction in workload increases the server’s performance.

If you have questions about how your firm can benefit from using an archiving system, please don’t hesitate to contact us¬†at Intradyn.

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