Businesses are usually aware of the importance of making data backups, including backups of emails. In the event of a disaster, it must be possible to recover lost data. If regular backups are made, it is easy to restore data to a certain point in time – the last known date before the loss occurred. It is important to store daily backups separately and not overwrite them too soon as it is not always clear when data corruption occurred.

The best practice for backing up data is to use the 3-2-1 approach. That involves creating at least three copies of data – one primary, and two copies – and storing those backups on at least 2 different media, with one copy stored securely off-site. In the event of a ransomware attack backups may be deleted by the threat actor or they may be encrypted; however, the attackers will not be able to access the off-site copy, so data will be recoverable without paying the ransom. It is important to also test backups to make sure data can be recovered and not to leave this to chance. Many organizations only discover their backups have been corrupted when they try to use them to recover data.

Email Archives Versus Email Backups

Backups are copies of data, so the original data remains in place. A backup is a snapshot of data at a specific point in time and they are a short-term storage solution. Email backups are created solely for disaster recovery and they will be used by IT teams during the incident response to restore the entire email system or individual mailboxes to the last known good state before the attack.

Business owners are usually much less familiar with email archives, yet these are just as important, especially following a cyberattack. An email archive is different from a backup and serves a different purpose, although there is some overlap. Email archives are used for the long-term storage of email data. Businesses often store essential data in emails, and that data is often found nowhere else. Backups of emails are made, but backups are typically overwritten every week, month, or year. With email archiving, instead of creating a copy of email data, emails and their attachments are moved into the archive and removed from the mail server for long-term storage. The archive can be housed on separate hardware on-premises, although it is now far more common for email archives to be located in the cloud.  Most importantly, when emails are archived, they are also archived with their metadata and are indexed, which means the archive can be searched. That is not possible with a data backup without third-party software and even then, it can be an incredibly time-consuming process to find and recover individual emails.

Why is Email Archiving Necessary?

Moving emails to an archive makes a great deal of sense, as it will free up space on the mail server, which will improve performance. If emails need to be accessed after they have been archived, they can be accessed directly by users. That means employees will not need to log a support call with the IT department when an email is misplaced or accidentally deleted, as the email will be present in the archive. Email archives not only improve mail server performance, but they also help to improve productivity.

The ability to search archives is vital. Email data needs to be retained for long periods for compliance with many different federal and state regulations. There will be times when email data needs to be found, such as in the event of an audit, legal discovery request, or customer/client dispute. Email archives are also invaluable in incident response and can be used by internal security teams and law enforcement to access past email communications to investigate phishing and business email compromise attacks and insider data breaches.

A cloud email archive is also a failsafe in the event of backup corruption and will help to ensure business continuity in the event of a cyberattack, as the email archive can be accessed in the cloud from any device at any time, which will reduce the downtime following a cyberattack. Cloud storage is preferable as it is cheaper than storing data on-premises, especially as email archives are large – they can contain many millions of messages.

ArcTitan Cloud Email Archiving

ArcTitan is a cloud-based email archiving solution for businesses that is easily integrated with Microsoft 365 and automates the archiving of emails. Rules are set for the emails that need to be archived, messages are deduplicated and compressed, and they are indexed and tagged. The solution allows lightning-fast searches and retrieval whenever messages need to be recovered, with the archive serving as a tamper-proof repository for email data for compliance with regulations. ArcTitan is also one of the most cost-effective email archiving solutions for businesses. For more information speak with TitanHQ today.