Your business relies heavily on email for crucial transactions and day-to-day communications that, without it, your business could not operate properly.
In the past, when small and medium-sized companies had on-site e-mail servers, there was the stark realization that you also needed to back up your email as well as have an offsite redundancy in case the system went down.
Now that businesses have mostly moved to Cloud-hosted email—such as Gmail and Office 365 Hosted Exchange — they seem to simply trust that their Cloud provider will also backup and provide them redundancy.
But Cloud-hosted email providers have very limited backup and redundancy systems in place, putting your business in danger of downtime and lost information. To safeguard your profits, ensure your business email systems have four capabilities: archiving, backup, journaling, and redundancy.
Archiving and backup are not the same. Backup is a copy of your data (in this case, a copy of your emails).
Archiving is a method to manage and store old emails in a separate location so that your mailbox stays at a manageable size, thereby keeping it working quickly.
The best type of archive is an online archive (an archive that is always available to each user.) This means that when a user needs to find an old email from years ago, they can do it themselves without getting your IT team involved.
Without good archiving, your email software (typically Outlook) will slow down and you will see the effects in emails that take long to open or send.
Different Cloud email services have different types of archiving capabilities – so it pays to ask and understand what you are getting.
The key to good archiving is the ability to locate and access emails quickly and easily. In theory, the Cloud is the perfect tool for this. When done correctly, the cloud offers great archiving solutions that will improve efficiency and productivity. Just make sure they are in place and meet your users’ needs.
Most off-the-shelf cloud email solutions provide only a short two to four weeks’ worth of daily backup retention, if they even backup your email at all. What does this mean exactly to you and is it important?
Well, let’s say your email backups are being retained for one month. This means that if you delete an email today, then after a month goes by, that email is gone forever.
The same principle applies to your data backup – so you want to retain your daily backups for as long as you want look back into the past to restore a file. We recommend retaining a year of daily backups, but the key is for you to understand how long you need to retain your daily email backups so that you can choose the right solution for your needs.
Again, the Cloud can provide convenient and efficient backup, but it needs to be implemented.
With journaling, all incoming and outgoing emails are copied to and stored in a separate location outside of your employee’s mailboxes. This is typically done by a third party—for years if necessary.
If you don’t journal emails, then each of your employees can permanently delete emails and you will never know that they were ever sent or received.
Access to the journal is restricted to specified users who can quickly and easily retrieve emails when necessary, depending on the business’s needs and regulatory compliance requirements.
Journaling is almost never included in the base package of a Cloud-hosted email service, and it is required for a firm who is under regulatory compliance like FINRA.
Journaling can also have a downside to some firms – they don’t necessarily want to keep a copy of all emails. But it’s important for you to at least have the option to do keep a journal of all emails, so be sure to talk to your email host or your IT service partner about options.
Cloud-hosted email providers typically have some type of redundancy in place so if one of their servers goes down, your email stays up and running. However, this doesn’t protect you if they have a system-wide outage.
Also, your individual Cloud email accounts may not all be on the same server in the same data center; Google and Microsoft, the main cloud email hosts, have multiple data centers worldwide and your mailboxes are slotted on whatever pods and servers have space. Subscribers have little-to-no control over this.
This means that your employees email accounts may go down at different times. This is a productivity killer and makes redundancy with a separate third party a must. Ask your IT services partner about “store and forward” (S&F) service, in which all emails that get sent to you go through another service first … then the S&F service forwards messages to your primary Cloud email service.
And if you primary Cloud email service is down, then the S&F stores it for you. In this case, you can access your emails on the S&F service and even use it as emergency redundancy email service. It’s a low cost business continuity solution with tremendous ROI that can be set up by your managed IT service provider. Your workers keep working and when your email client comes back online, the S&F service transfers the emails to them and business continues as normal.
When correctly set up, archiving, backup, journaling and redundancy of Cloud-based email solutions should work automatically and seamlessly to efficiently manage and protect your email. The consequences of not having these protocols in place can set your company back significantly.
Why risk it? If you own a company in New Jersey, give IND Corporation a call. Our IT specialists will help you make the right choice for your needs, and our comprehensive TotalCare managed services plans will give you peace of mind at an affordable flat rate. We’re based in northern NJ and manage computing networks throughout the state for business of all sizes in all industries.