Email Archiving or Email Backup?

Exploring the Differences Between Email Backup & Email Archiving

Many organizations are now required by business best practices, industry standards, and regulatory compliance requirements to maintain email data for extensive periods of time. This presents the added challenge of chasing ever-growing email storage capacity and, if running email on-premises, incurring additional capital expenses to maintain and upgrade storage infrastructure.

One of the first steps in planning your email data management strategy is to understand the difference between email backup and email archiving.

What is an Email Backup?

A backup simply creates a copy or image of the current state of the email system, which can be used to restore a system, or a previously saved copy of the system. Companies managing their own email and backups often struggle to keep efficiencies high and costs low. Requirements for high media capacity, low storage cost per GB and high performance read/write streaming capabilities often mean maintaining in-house backups on magnetic tapes.

What is Email Archiving?

On the other hand, an email archive is generally considered a historical reference that can be accessed less frequently and is placed outside of the backup cycle. Archival storage requirements differ from those of backup operations and are characterized by data authenticity, media longevity, high performance random read access, and low total cost of ownership. The storage media used for archival processes must be stable with a long life as, in some cases, email data must be stored over multiple years.

The Difference

In most self-managed (or on premise) email environments, storage and backup administrators are responsible for the recovery and security of the data, while data archiving is left to information architects and application administrators to help meet the legal and regulatory compliance.

Email archiving allows you to search, report and export massive volumes of archived email data, with no retention limitations, versus backups that simply store email system and/or file information according to a set retention period (normally shorter).

Market Trends

With changing dynamics in the marketplace, businesses feel the pressure to modernize traditional email backup and restore solutions to make them more efficient and cost effective. The historical model of full backups with incremental data capture is increasingly being viewed as antiquated and ineffective at keeping up with decreasing backup windows and increasing service-level expectations. All at a time when businesses are trying to reduce the cost and time involved in maintaining IT infrastructures. This creates a scenario where businesses need the right balance between email data management functionality and cost.

A recent survey by Gartner in 2011 shows that 57% of SMBs retain archived data for at least one year.1 However, this is down from 65%2 from 2010, indicating that as organizations mature, unneeded data is better recognized and retained for shorter periods of time. Organizations prefer their email archival processes to provide advanced search capabilities and total data access across defined archive retention policies. This makes email archiving an attractive tool for organizations looking for help in meeting long-term information retention management and compliance goals.

The same Gartner survey also indicates that 39% of SMBs are either currently using or interested in archiving data to the cloud. The attractiveness of not having to manage the archive infrastructure in-house combined with the maturity of cloud email archiving solutions; drive organizations to view the cloud as a viable archiving alternative. Companies have quickly begun to realize that cloud storage environments provide more IT agility in managing the constant growth of data and changing workload demands.

Leveraging the Cloud for Email Data Management

Many organizations have backup strategies in place and treat backup and archiving processes the same way. In this case, old, redundant and infrequently accessed data is being backed up over and over leading to increased storage costs. Some firms that do employ both backup and archiving often do not align policies for retention and deletion, resulting in data continuously being backed up, again leading to increased storage costs.

One obvious solution to improve efficiency, cost and effectiveness is to turn to the cloud for a complete email solution. Hosted email, coupled with archiving can dramatically reduce an organization’s email IT spend, negating the need for costly capital outlays, growing physical and human resources and the ongoing day-to-day burden of email management and growing data volumes.

Cloud-based email archiving helps companies reduce costs of storing and managing massive amounts of static data, often offering capabilities such as full-text indexing, real-time search, and long-term storage for seldom-accessed, inactive data.

Three Reasons Businesses Prefer Hosted Email Archiving

  1. Reduced storage costs – Organizations are often challenged by the rapid growth in data that needs to be maintained, resulting in increased email costs. By archiving files with a cloud-powered email service provider, you eliminate the need for costly and difficult-to-maintain email and storage infrastructure.
  2. Increased capability – Most organizations are facing an unexpected growth in data across the organization. Hosted email archiving lets the IT team offload the email storage and retention burden to the cloud. This serves as a one-stop shop for all your email data and can streamline the search and retrieval process to help meet compliance requests in a timely manner.
  3. Reduced complexity – Without an effective archiving process, demands for email search and retrieval can be overwhelming. Shifting email archiving to the cloud puts complex management tasks behind a simple web-interface that easily integrates with your email client.

Benefits of Email Hosting & Archiving at Rackspace Archiving

Over 3 million business email users rely on Rackspace email hosting. Unlike free, consumer-level email, Rackspace business email services don’t harvest your data for profit and projects professionalism with a personalized @yourbusiness email address. Users enjoy the ease and convenience of reliable, feature-rich, anywhere email access. IT admins welcome the opportunity to offload the hardware and licensing costs of this resource intensive, yet business critical app, to the trusted and experienced hands of Rackspace email specialists. Our email portfolio includes:

  • Rackspace Email: Web-based, business email hosting with email, calendars, contacts, and more on your desktop or mobile
  • Hosted Microsoft Exchange: Advanced Outlook® collaboration and optional push email for your mobile devices
  • Exchange Hybrid: Compared to using Hosted Exchange alone, a 50-user company can save 40% by moving half of their users from Exchange to Rackspace Email.

All solutions include 25GB of inbox storage, dual spam/virus protection, access to an intuitive, web-based control panel to manage user and account information, and free setup, all backed by award-winning Fanatical Support®.

Why Rackspace Email Archiving?

Our mailboxes provide ample local mailbox storage, even for email power users. Nightly email backups at top-tier data centers in multiple geographic locations, make it easy to retrieve email from the Control Panel for up to 14 days. For easy and affordable long-term retention with search and reporting for email data stores, we offer Rackspace Email Archiving. Benefits of Rackspace Email Archiving:

Powerful search – The Rackspace Email Archiving solution delivers powerful search capabilities by leveraging the on-demand CPU and geographically dispersed storage space of the cloud to scale horizontally and power the search engine. Rackspace also uses map-reduce style, parallel processing to search large data sets, all within seconds of response time. Every search is done in real time so there is minimal delay; one file or even a large file set can be searched and retrieved quickly.

Security – When it comes to archiving your files, data security is a priority as many of the files archived may be confidential. Our archiving platform uses SSL and 256-bit AES encryption to encrypt archived data. We store data on WORM-compliant storage and provide eight-way data replication for data resiliency.

Ease of use – Email archiving at Rackspace requires no hardware or software, which means no maintenance. Rackspace Email Archiving ingests, stores and indexes most email data to the archive. Users can quickly access and retrieve data using an intuitive, web-based interface. Add archiving to your hosted email accounts for a flat, per-user, monthly fee.

Compatibility – Store over 400 different file types and make them searchable in a single repository for archived email data. The data can be dragged and dropped in the archive directly from the customer’s file system or ingested through physical data import.

Email Search and Retrieval – Rackspace offers a full feature set allowing privileged users to search, filter, tag, flag, (bulk) export, and place on legal hold the desired result sets. Permissioned users can also perform on-demand purges on archived file data.

Support – Our award-winning Fanatical Support® team is available to 24x7x365 to address any questions or issues around your archiving solution.

Learn how to enable Rackspace Email Archiving now.


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About Rackspace

Rackspace® Hosting (NYSE: RAX) is the open cloud company, delivering open technologies and powering hundreds of thousands of customers worldwide. Rackspace provides its renowned Fanatical Support® across a broad portfolio of IT products, including Public Cloud, Private Cloud, Hybrid Hosting and Dedicated Hosting. The company offers choice, flexibility and freedom from vendor lock in.

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