Email Backup or Archival? What’s the Difference?
Most companies will backup your email in one way or another; only some offer “email archival” and that is usually a separate service. On the surface, these seem to be the same thing — providing copies of your data for “just in case”. So, what’s the difference?
A backup refers to a copy of data that may be used to restore the original in the event the latter is lost or damaged beyond repair. It is a safeguard for data that is being used.
Backups are typically:
- Snapshots of what your data looked like at a particular point in time (e.g. when you save a “backup” copy of an important document you are writing once in a while, just in case.)
- Associated with a location. I.e. “on site” backups are located in essentially the same location as the original data. “Off site” backups are located far away from the originals. It is fast and easy to recover using an “on site” backup; but if the location itself is having issues, both the original and the on site backups could be compromised or destroyed. The off site backups are the fail safe in this case — it is typically slower to recover using them and they are often costlier to maintain; however, if your on site backups are lost, off site is important to have!
“An archive refers to a single or a collection of historical records specifically selected for long-term retention and future reference. It is often data that is no longer actively used.”
Unlike backups, archived email:
- Includes a copy of every message sent or received
- Is not a point in time “snapshot” but a continuously updating history of inbound and outbound messaging
- Cannot be edited or deleted (at least until a certain pre-defined expiration period is met). I.e. archived email must be “tamper proof”
- Cannot be used to restore lost or deleted email folders
- Can be easily searched
- Can be compliant to meet HIPAA, GLBA, and other requirements.
Compare Email Backups and Archival
Here is a more detailed comparison of Backups vs Archival, as they apply at LuxSci.
|Snapshots of email data?||Yes||–|
|Stored “On Site” with your email data?||Yes||–|
|Stored “Off Site” from your email data?||Depends||Yes|
|Copies of ALL sent and received email||Not usually||Yes|
|Can be used to restore deleted email folders||Yes||–|
|Can be used to restore deleted email messages||Yes||Yes|
|Email accessible by end users/administrators||Not usually||Yes|
|Email accessible by support staff||Yes||–|
|Saved in different geographic locations||Depends||Yes|
- Can you access copies of all email messages sent and received by your employees?
- Email Archival = Inexpensive Reliable Backup
- Best Practices: Removing all copies of an email from an email server
- Advantages of Third-Party Email Archival over “Do It In-House”
- Email Archival is Better than Ever: Migration Plan for Old Customers