Backing up email is a crucial task, and is necessary to safeguard the valuable information stored in email. Yet how many organisations take a critical look at how and why they backup email? For organisations that want to run an Exchange email backup, this task can be challenging, but also vital for disaster recovery and to cut IT admin costs when done right.

When talking about Exchange email backup, it’s natural to assume that a backup application would solve the problem. You want backup right? So a backup application seems like the obvious answer. However, there is more than one way to skin a cat, and this applies to email backup. Exchange email backup applications tend to take two routes: either backing up the information store, or else doing a more granular brick-level backup. The key point to note about these two types of methods is that they implicitly approach Exchange backup as if backing up a file – just one that happens to contain email. This approach is fine when you’re looking for a disaster recovery solution or if your Exchange, or a significant part of it,gets corrupted and you want to restore Exchange from scratch. One obvious downside with these approaches is that you may not have all the latest email backed up – new email may have been stored in Exchange after the backup was taken.

Another approach to Exchange email backup is to look at the problem from a different angle. The key value of backing up is not exchange per se but the email inside it. Ideally you want to always have the latest emails backed up automatically and immediately to avoid any lost data. Using an email archiving solution as an alternative to email backup gives you a number of advantages right out of the box. With an email archiving solution based on journaling technology you know that email will be backed up. Archiving solutions are designed and deployed differently to email backup applications. Good email archiving solutions come with native Outlook integration as well as a web interface allowing users to access their own email. This is invaluable in that it allows users to restore their own email – without having to call up the IT helpdesk! With Outlook integration, users can simply drag and drop the emails they would like to restore back into their Outlook folders.

Another aspect of email backup is PST files. Users resort to PST files when they reach their mailbox quotas and are uncomfortable with deleting email. PST files tend to grow rapidly and are an IT admin’s nightmare when it comes to backing them up; PST files are spread across the network! For an effective and efficient Exchange email backup, PST files should be removed from the network. There are much better ways to extend mailbox storage without loading Exchange: an email archiving solution would be excellent for this.

Exchange email backup remains a challenge but can save an organisation costs and make the task of email management a more efficient one that can meet the needs of backing up email, removing PST files and also meeting compliance and legal standards.