One of the most common misconceptions about email archiving is that an email archive is the same as a backup, but there are some important differences. In this post we explain those differences and why your business needs to be archiving emails as well as creating email backups.

In the event of disaster, you need to be able to recover your data and the same is true of emails. A huge quantity of important information is saved in email accounts and businesses cannot afford to lose all that data. In the event of disaster, a ransomware attack for instance, without some form of backup, all of your email data will be permanently lost. In the case of a ransomware attack, you can pay the ransom and the attackers may supply viable keys to decrypt your data but there is no guarantee that they will make good on their promise. You must have a backup plan, and that is an email backup.

Email accounts can be restored to a particular moment in time from a backup file, and emails can be recovered with little to no data loss. From a business perspective, your backups may not need to be retained for very long. Their primary purpose is to allow data recovery in the event of disaster, and they will be replaced with a new backup.

Backups are designed to restore entire mailboxes. Problems arise if you need to recover a single email that has been accidentally deleted, if you need to respond to a request to have a person’s data deleted in its entirety to comply with GDPR, or if you get an eDiscovery request or have to produce emails to settle disputes. You may also need to review emails to determine if there has been a data breach or to investigate potential malicious insiders. In all of these cases, backups fall short as they are not designed to be searched.

Email archives are different. An email archive can be viewed as an extension of an inbox, where searches for individual emails can be performed and messages can be quickly recovered when needed. Every sent and received email is sent to the archive and is stored along with metadata, which allows searches to be performed. In fact, searching an email archive is almost as easy as searching for a message in an inbox.

If you wanted to restore emails from a particular moment in time, say last year, restoring data from your backup could easily result in loss of current email data. With the restoration of data from an email archive that would not occur. Many businesses only discover the difference between an email archive and a backup when they need to deal with one of the above situations. By then it is too late.

You should also bear in mind that businesses have a legal responsibility to preserve their emails, even in industries that are not highly regulated. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in the United States were updated in 2006 to include electronic communications, which require email data to be produced in the event of legal action. Further, an audit trail must be maintained, email data must be protected against accidental loss or deliberate tampering, and data must be immediately available. An archive allows this, a backup does not.

The failure to produce information can result in a heavy fine and could well be the difference between winning and losing a case.

To find out how easy and cost-effective it is to implement an email archiving solution, call TitanHQ today to find out about ArcTitan.