Email archiving for small businesses is now more important than ever. Not only do state and federal laws require data to be retained for long periods, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has introduced new requirements for businesses covering email retention. These requirements for email are best met by using an email archive, although many small businesses are still relying on email backups.

Are Email Backups and Email Archives the Same?

In basic terms, an email backup and an email archive serve the same purpose. They allow emails to be stored so they can be recovered if needed. However, there are important differences between an email backup and an email archive, which have become even more important since the introduction of the GDPR.

Emails may need to be recovered for a variety of reasons. If an important email is lost, if emails have been corrupted, in the event of an audit, for legal discovery, in order to resolve customer disputes, or to find and delete emails when a customer exercises their right to be forgotten under GDPR rules.

Backups are useful, but they are far from ideal for most of the above reasons. Backups allow email data to be restored in the event of loss or if email has been corrupted – Due to a ransomware attack or a hardware failure for instance. In such cases, email backups allow the email system to be quickly restored to the point when the backup was made.

A backup is simply a copy of email data and is a snapshot of data in the email system at any given time. It is ideal as a short-term solution to protect against data loss. However, each time a backup is made, it typically replaces a previous copy. This means that it is possible for emails to be lost. If an email is deleted or corrupted, and a new backup is made that overwrites the last copy, deleted and corrupted emails may be lost forever. Restoring backups may require the entire database to be restored, even when only a few emails need to be recovered. That is hardly an ideal situation.

How Does an Email Archive Differ from an Email Backup?

An email archive is not a copy of email data. With an email archive, emails are moved from the mail system into the archive for long term storage. In addition to emails, tasks, email attachments, and calendars can be archived. Many companies choose to implement an archive not for disaster recovery as backups are still used for that purpose, but to decreases the workload of an email server, improve performance, and eliminate the need for mailbox limits.

One of the most important differences between a backup and an email archive is an archive is searchable, which makes it a quick and easy process to find a specific email or set of email messages that need to be recovered. They could be emails sent to or from a specific person or those that contain an individual’s personal data.

Backup allows emails to be retained and restored, but backups are not searchable. If an email is lost or needs to be recovered, finding messages can be a very time-consuming process.

In the event of legal action against a company, as part of the discovery process an organization will have to produce emails related to the case. A limited amount of time is provided to respond, so it is essential that information can be found quickly and efficiently. The same is true for compliance audits, GDPR requests, and to settle customer disputes.

In contrast to a backup, emails that are archived cannot be lost as no data is overwritten. Archives are also tamperproof and an audit trail is maintained.

Failure to retain data, missing deadlines for producing data, and accidental deletion of email data can attract major financial penalties. Those fines can prove catastrophic for small businesses. Email archiving for small businesses ensures that these issues never arise.

With an email archive, emails are instantly encrypted to prevent data from being intercepted or accessed by unauthorized individuals and with cloud-based archives there is no limit on storage space. Users can continue to use their mail clients or browsers and can easily access archived emails. Email archives are easy to use, manage, maintain, and it is quick and easy to recover emails on demand.

In short, email archiving for small businesses:

  • Adds legal safeguards
  • Ensures protection against data loss
  • Maintains an audit trail
  • Ensures emails can be quickly found and recovered
  • Eliminates the need for mailbox quotas
  • Increases efficiency and productivity
  • Allows long term storage of emails to meet compliance requirements

TitanHQ has developed ArcTitan to meet the needs of small to medium sized businesses and managed service providers. ArcTitan is email archiving solution for small businesses that is cost effective, secure, easy to use, effortless to maintain, and ensures businesses meet their legal responsibilities with respect to email retention. The solution works with all major email clients and Office 365.

If you have any questions about email archiving for small businesses, if you want to set up an email archive, or would like information on the best solution to meet the needs for your business, contact the TitanHQ team today.