PST backup is a time-consuming task (and a headache) that admins would love to avoid; yet if users need to move the email in their inbox to a PST file – PST backup is needed. Emails with important company information can end up buried within these files – records that can be critically important for compliance and business purposes. This article addresses some of the complications resulting from PST backups and proposes a better alternative.
PST backup is not a big deal for a single user on a personal computer. When the time comes to back up a PST file, the user simply closes Outlook, and backs up the file to another folder or a separate drive. Unfortunately, in the case of a business network, with multiple users and multiple PSTs, the process soon becomes far more complicated.
Let’s consider all of the prerequisites required for just one PST to file on a networked laptop to back up successfully. For this example, the PST file in question is stored on a local laptop hard drive. Although some companies move PST files to a share on the network, Microsoft does not recommend this.
Assuming the IT team is using a remote computer agent to back up the PST file using standard backup software, the first important point is that the laptop must actually be on site and connected to the network – if the user has taken it home, the PST backup will not complete.
Next, the laptop must be on during the backup window. This means that IT must rely on the user to not shut the computer down at the end of the working day. They must also configure the power management settings so that the laptop doesn’t shut down by itself after a period of inactivity.
The user must also have remembered to close the Outlook program before leaving the office; otherwise Outlook will hold the file open in a “locked” state, causing most backup software to skip the open file.
If all of these conditions are met, the PST file should back up. However, by the end of the following day, the backup will be out of date. Can the user really be expected to leave the laptop on site every night?
It soon becomes clear that if it is this difficult to get a successful backup of just one PST file, it is nearly impossible to have an up-to-date collection of PST backups for the whole organization.
Central email archiving is the answer. Implementing a solution to manage email archiving across the business brings many benefits. Email is automatically extracted from each user’s inbox, indexed and stored in a central archive for both user and administrator to find within a few clicks. This means the need to use PST files is eliminated and that a copy of all email sent/received is stored to be found in case of business needs and to meet compliance.
Email archiving is inexpensive, and eliminates the risk of permanent loss of important email data and the whole PST backup headache for administrators.
This guest post was provided by Ben Taylor on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. Read more on PST backup.
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