The Importance of Email and Exchange Backup

Most businesses with a backup solution in place will tell you that at the very least they backup business critical data needed on a daily basis. For most this includes customer and program data but if the IT budget allows, some will choose to backup payroll data or other media that would cause an unwanted diversion from important tasks if lost. Data loss can affect the company in several major ways. For example, the time and human resources spent to get back to normal following the data loss, and the potential income lost during this period of reduced output.

Whilst many larger businesses with the spending power do backup their mailboxes or exchange databases, many smaller businesses don’t consider it to fall under the title of “business critical”. This is a risky strategy, as not many businesses, regardless of size could function fully without the ability to send and receive new emails or access old emails. If a business’s exchange server were to break or the database became corrupt, how big a hit would productivity take? The time it would take to setup the new exchange and all of the mailboxes would be a real brick wall for the company until the new exchange was up and running. Once the mailboxes had been setup, users would then have to deal with having no email history or the contacts they did have before the database became corrupt. If the server itself breaks, the time it takes to acquire a new server adds further delay to the recovery time. Whatever the cause of the problem, losing key contacts and emails can cause disruption to everything from the internal workings of a company to the service it provides for its customers.

If an exchange is backed up properly, the downtime caused by an exchange server failure or database corruption is kept to a minimum. In the event of a failure, once a new server has been setup (if required), the exchange database can be restored and the business’s users can have access to emails within hours rather than days. Importantly, the users will have access to all of the same contacts, as well as their email history from before the crash meaning they can pick up from where they left off.

Having emails and exchange databases backed up can also be very useful if a business becomes embroiled in a legal dispute. In some cases, both parties have the right to ask for relevant documents in what is called e-discovery. If a business does not have these emails already backed up, significant costs can be drawn up either retrieving them or in penalties for not complying with legal obligations. Therefore, retaining backups of emails for several years is potentially a money saving effort should a business enter a legal dispute.

The likelihood of a company entering a dispute is however relatively unlikely compared to the chance of an exchange server failing or a database becoming corrupt. Most businesses should therefore look to backup their exchange database and emails from a business continuity perspective, rather than in preparation for any legal proceedings.

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