Inter-company email is alive and well today. Unfortunately, that same email is also the bane of the existence of many IT professionals. Why is that? Well, for starters, email never stops. A company with 1000 employees will send out about 40,000 business emails every day. Those emails contain sales data, financial data, marketing strategies, proposals, follow ups, and sometimes, unfortunately, some sensitive information. How does an IT pro manage the non-stop flow of data, information, files, storage space, and sensitive data? One high level tactic is to backup and archive the company’s email intentionally, regularly, and securely.

What’s the difference between an email archive and an email backup?

The two are not the same. A backup is not an archive, and an archive is not a backup. The two terms and systems should not be confused. Here is a simple definition of each.

  •     An email backup is a short-term storage in the event of a data loss.
  •     An email archive is storing emails for the long term for legal and other policy-based requirements.

We back up email in case there is an outage of some sort. That “outage” could mean an email server dies without replication, the user uses a local email client software and their computer is damaged or lost, or a hacker has compromised the email data and made it unavailable. Whatever the “outage”, having a short-term backup system for your email allows you to get back up to speed quickly and with the confidence that you still have all your data. The key here is “short-term.” If you lost access to your email, you want access to today’s email, not email from a year ago. Backing up email from recent history in near real time makes it easy for employees to have as little down time as possible.

We archive email that we might need in the future. We may need email data for legal, accounting, audit, or change management purposes in the future. However, this information is not needed on a daily basis. Hence the term “archive”, as in the email has been archived, and it is there if you need it, but not at the top of your inbox.

Backup the archive!

Is your cloud-based email service backed up and archived? Ask your cloud email provider. If you are not paying for that service specifically, you are probably not getting that service. Cloud based backup services are simple for the administrator to implement, but are not always on by default.

Despite the fact that email in its current form is a quarter century old, it is still a big part of our mainstream work days. For that reason, email data must be kept up to date, backed up, archived, and secure.