Email Backup or Archival? What’s the Difference?
Most companies will backup your email in one way or another; only some offer “email archival,” which is usually a separate service. On the surface, these seem to be the same — 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 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. 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 on-site backups are lost, off-site is important!
“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 email backups and 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|
|Restore deleted email folders||Yes||–|
|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|