What is Email Archiving?

Email is one of the most important means of global communication. But while we face a constantly growing volume of emails, information sent by email is generally not stored anywhere else, but simply remains in the mailboxes of the users. In addition, companies around the world are facing a growing number of compliance requirements (e.g. HIPAA and FERPA in the United States or GoBD in Germany). Many managing directors of small and medium-sized companies ask themselves how they can meet these challenges with the help of email archiving and what exactly needs to be archived. But what does the term ‘email archiving’ actually mean and what advantages does it offer for you?

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The challenge of email management

What is email archiving?
What is email archiving?

269 billion emails were sent and received each day worldwide in 2017. The figure is expected to increase. It’s no surprise then that communication via email is now preferred over other means of communication such as mail or fax. The smooth functioning of email data exchange has become indispensable to many companies. A wealth of information is sent across the globe every day. This includes invoices, contracts, and other business-related information. Every email user, such as an employee at a company, is responsible for the content and processing of data. Accordingly, email archiving can help to process and file emails systematically. Emails can be stored on a long-term basis using email archiving. Email archiving primarily serves the purposes of documentation and preventing data loss. In doing so, emails are stored securely, and their contents remain unchanged. Emails can also be restored if necessary, so that important content is not lost. An important principle to make a note of is that the primary purpose of archiving is for data to be retrieved and made available over a longer period of time. Email archiving should also be a significant component of an IT security strategy.

A brief look back at the evolution of email archiving

While you are reading this article, both of our email inboxes are continuously filling up. This was not always the case. As time goes by, email volumes grow and email archiving evolves. In the early days of email, email archiving was all about trusting the users. Companies relied on their employees to manage their own individual email archives in their email clients. Later on, when IT departments started to introduce the concept of backup, they started backing up emails or even whole email servers, but searching for emails was not common – especially not for end users. In case you needed to restore a particular email, for example as evidence in court proceedings, it often took weeks to find it. IT staff needed to restore whole backups and search for this one particular email, a tedious process.
Nowadays, end users are able to search for a single email within seconds and restore it by themselves.

Different types of email archiving

Client-side or server-side email archiving?
Client-side or server-side email archiving?

Have you decided to archive your email? Then you should take the next step and learn about the right strategy. In this regard, the company’s IT administrators should focus on the in-house email infrastructure. This means that they have to choose between server-side or client-side archiving.

Server-side email archiving

Server-side archiving is centralized, automated archiving that functions independently of an end user. This type of email archiving is the most popular, and archives mailboxes such as Exchange, Office 365, IMAP, and Gmail.

Client-side email archiving

Client-side archiving must be set up by the user himself. Accordingly, the user is in charge of the process of email archiving. Client-side archiving is often used in connection with a POP3 mailbox. Here, the local email client (for example, Microsoft Outlook or Mozilla Thunderbird) is used and the corresponding folder structure is adopted. Usually server-side archiving is the best strategy for a business in order to keep control over all relevant email communication, minimize the work for the IT-department and adhere to industry regulations and/or law.

Email archiving on-premises or archiving into the cloud

After you have chosen the correct type of email archiving based on your email infrastructure and your needs, you can choose between an on-premises or a cloud solution. For an on-premises solution the software is purchased and run autonomously in the business’ own server environment. This is an option if the company has its own IT department with its own on-premises mail servers as well as if the company has its email server in the cloud (e.g. Microsoft Office 365) and wants to keep the archive locally. If cloud services are used, the responsibility for maintenance and operation lies with the provider. All data is located on the provider’s system. If you choose email archiving in the cloud only, you should opt for the maximum level of availability and security. Furthermore, we recommend keeping the email archive physically available on your own servers.

Due to the volume of emails sent and received every day, categorization of both emails that require and do not require archiving is almost impossible. For that reason, all incoming and outgoing emails are often archived immediately (called “journaling”). This is also helpful to protect against potential tampering and ensure archive integrity. However, data protection guidelines should be taken into consideration here. For example, in some countries the private use of business email services can be problematic. In this case, a proposed solution would be to prohibit private email use (such as in an employment agreement) or the exclusive use of external email services for private email correspondence. That is why you should always keep an eye on data protection guidelines.

Six advantages of email archiving from which you can benefit

1) Regulatory compliance

Emails can be stored in their entirety in an authentic, tamper-proof, accessible manner for many years with the help of email archiving. Furthermore, email archiving can also assist with certain eDiscovery scenarios and makes it easier to use emails as evidence in court proceedings.
Especially businesses in heavily regulated industries, e.g. healthcare, financial services, legal or government, have a growing list of regulations and eDiscovery requirements they have to take into account when managing their emails.

2) Protection against data loss

Data that is critical to the company is lost when users delete important emails by accident, at will, or even resign from the company and their entire mailbox is deleted. With email archiving, every email, together with its attachments, remains available and searchable within an archive.
Beyond that, what about cases when disaster strikes? Imagine your email server being defunct or your email service provider having a longer downtime. With a properly working email archive, you have all of your business emails at hand and available, even without hassle for your IT-staff.

3) Elimination of mailbox quotas

We’ve all been there: Microsoft Outlook announces that your mailbox is full, and you can’t receive any new emails. One of your business partners alerts you to the fact that every time they try to send you an email, it’s rejected by your mail server because of your mailbox quota. This isn’t just unpleasant: having to delete emails and attachments one at a time is also time-consuming. Mailbox quotas and these kinds of situations are a thing of the past with email archiving.

4) Independence

When a mail server is out of service or data is lost, every user at the company can still access all emails via the email archive. Companies remain independent from the mail server or their email service provider in this way which makes it easier to carry out their business activities without interruption.

5) Increased efficiency and productivity

The volume of data on the mail server is always kept low with email archiving. This means that backup and recovery times are also quicker. The result is improved performance and leaner backups. Every user can independently restore emails at just the click of a mouse. This way, IT no longer has to go through the time-consuming process of manually restoring lost emails. Even better, a proper email archiving solution enables the users to quickly search through all archived emails and the attachments, which will make them more productive.

6) Long-term solution for PST files

Corrupt PST-files are just as dreaded in day-to-day work as full mailboxes. In this situation, an IT employee can only help restore the files if the PST-files have been backed up. As a result, these file formats put a strain on the IT department because of their susceptibility to error. With the help of email archiving, PST-files can be archived centrally within the company without going to the trouble of changing access permissions.

Backing up is not the same as archiving

Yes! Email Backup cannot prevent data loss.
Yes! Email Backup cannot prevent data loss.

The terms archiving and backing up are commonly mistaken as synonyms. For that reason, it is assumed in most cases that backing up alone is sufficient. However, backing up your email server does not replace a proper email archive in any way. A backup can only back up data over a limited period of time and restore it if necessary. However, compliance requirements are not factored in, nor is the constant availability and restorability of highly important emails ensured. Within the scope of a backup, emails can be deleted immediately upon receipt and therefore bypass security. Accordingly, a backup does not help to meet compliance requirements and cannot prevent data loss. Backing up is very important and the right thing to do, but a backup cannot replace the functions of archiving. And don’t forget: the email archive should also be a part of your backup plan!

The Standard in Email Archiving: MailStore Server

MailStore Server 10 was granted the ms.exchange.org Gold Award
One of the world’s leading solutions for email archiving.

Small and medium-sized businesses can benefit from all advantage of modern and secure email archiving with MailStore Server. As well as this, MailStore Server offers a particularly rapid full-text search via email, and many types of file attachments, which allows the user to retrieve their emails from the archive via the Outlook add-in or the Web Access. Users can also retain their usual folder structure and operate their archive as intuitively as possible.

Simply test out MailStore Server for 30 days free of charge or experience our solution in a webinar for free and without obligation.

Have fun archiving!


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44 Responses

  1. does mailstore work with mac ?
    best regards

    • Wilm Tennagel
      01/02/2018, 10:05

      Hi Estelle, thanks for your interest in our software. Although we often get requests for Macintosh versions of our MailStore software, we unfortunately cannot fulfil your wish yet. The reason is as follows: Nearly all parts of our MailStore products are written in C# and therefore requires Microsoft’s .NET Framework to be executed. Due to the .NET Framework being exclusively available for Microsoft Windows operating systems, this limits the availability of MailStore to the same operating systems. Thanks for your understanding! Best regards from our HQ in Viersen, Germany.

  2. Does MailStore also support the Windows 10 Mail-app…?
    I wondered because the app itself is not able to export or archive any mails to an ext. storage, whatever you choose to use ( usbstick, cloud etc ).

  3. Hello,

    Is it possible to read the messages from the archive without first restoring it ?

    Paul Louis.

    • Roland Latzel
      26/02/2018, 15:11

      Hi Paul,
      yes of course – you can access the emails in the archive directly, this is one of the main reasons for archiving. Users restore emails mainly in cases they want to forward them, reply to them etc.
      Best regards,
      Roland Latzel

  4. Hi
    Please can you confirm if there is a storage limit?

  5. Does it require anything to setup on client site to work with exchange, we have 3 things.

    Office 365
    Our hosted exchange
    And On premise exchange

    In each scenario how does it really work.

    1- Archive for user mailboxes and how they access if it is office 365 , hosted exchange or on premise exchange solution
    2- How the journaling for compliance can work.

  6. Can you advise if your cloud based archiving has any storage limitations and if as a current customer utilizing the software on our server how easy it would be to transfer to the cloud based version, as we are in the process of moving all our software to cloud based platforms.

    • Wilm Tennagel
      28/03/2018, 08:46

      Dear Danielle, thanks for your interest in our product. As your inquery is quite complex, please send your question to our colleagues: partners@mailstore.com.
      They will help you with all your questions regarding our MailStore Service Provider Edition (SPE).
      Best Regards

  7. robyscuba
    06/06/2018, 16:46

    a little question, I already have an archive of a mail address on a pc ( windows8) with a MailStore Ver8. Now i am installing a new version of MailStore(11) on another PC (with Window10). So is it possible to connect the existing archive to the new installation of MaiStore ?? I need this because the “original” e-mail address no longer exists.
    thks and regards.

  8. John Corstens
    21/07/2018, 07:44

    Hi. I have installed your free Mailstore home version.
    Two questions.
    1. Why is this version free?
    2 I have old PST file Folders.(However I no longer use Outlook but instead use Thunderbird) Does your program convert these files into readable format and also maintains integrity of the attachments .
    I have at this stage been reluctant to start using your program.

    Kind regards

  9. once i fetch all mails in archive .if i delete mails from original id . is there always a copy remain saved in archive??

    • Roland Latzel
      30/07/2018, 12:00

      Hello Manish,
      yes, this is correct. It is a core principle of email archiving.
      Best regards,
      Roland Latzel

  10. owen walker
    03/02/2019, 08:46

    I ‘d like to move emails from a WindowsMail client on an old Vista PC to a new Win10 PC. I believe Mailstore won’t run on Vista? Can it archive emails from a file of MS ‘local folders’ copied over, or can it only run on the pc with the original email client?

  11. Lorely Britton
    13/03/2019, 01:05

    I have accidentally archived emails as they so easily slide sideways. I have never set up archiving. I have spent hours trying to get them back . How do I get these emails restored to my inbox?

    • Wilm Tennagel
      13/03/2019, 08:15

      Hi Lorely, thank you for your message. We suppose that you do not use MailStore software for archiving your emails but you have used the Gmail integrated archiving function. If this is correct this article may help you: https://support.google.com/mail/answer/6576?hl=en Good luck! Kind regards from Viersen in Germany. Your MailStore team.

  12. Mary Sanders
    17/06/2019, 07:31

    I was going through my emails and I accidentally swiped to the right and that email disappeared and a prompt came up saying it was archived. I can’t find where to go into for archived emails and I really need to get that email back. Can you help me leader. Cheers, Mary

    • Wilm Tennagel
      17/06/2019, 14:30

      Hi Mary, unfortunately we can not help you – in MailStore software it is not possible to archive emails by “swiping”. Best regards from Viersen in Germany.

  13. I want to delete a email account but I don’t want to lose my emails. Can I download these to my PC?

  14. Can I download my emails to a flash drive?

    • Wilm Tennagel
      22/07/2019, 07:58

      Hi Gloria, thank you for your question. Please understand that we are not able provide technical support in the comment section of our corporate blog. If you use MailStore Home, please join our support community: https://community.mailstore.com/en/. Thank you very much. Kind regards from Viersen in Germany.

  15. We need a mail backup solution for approximately 100 Android devices.

    Will Mailstore work for this?

    • Wilm Tennagel
      28/10/2019, 14:40

      Hi Rupert, thank you for your interest in our software for email archiving. To give you an appropriate answer we need some more information. Do you want to archive emails? Or do you want to backup the data on the devices? I would suggest that you get in touch with our experts: support@mailstore.com. Kind regards from Viersen in Germany

  16. Your System Requirements page for Outlook 2010 says: Microsoft Outlook 2010 (Click-to-Run is not supported)

    What is Click-to-Run?

  17. Антон
    25/05/2020, 20:47

    Hello. Does your archiver work with the bat! mail client?

  18. Hi, can I use MailStore to backup Rackspace Cloud Hosted Exchange emails?

    • Roland Latzel
      08/07/2020, 11:49

      Hi Stephan,
      yes, MailStore Server of course supports Hosted Exchange Server. The details depend a bit on the provider’s set up, but a good starting point is our MailStore Server Help.
      In case you have further questions about your individual scenario, please contact our technical support.

  19. paulbyrne
    07/01/2021, 15:26

    primary emails got delated would like them back

    • Roland Latzel
      07/01/2021, 15:29

      Dear Paul, which of our products do you use and with which email service?

  20. Arnold van Overeem
    05/03/2021, 18:00

    I use a few different PC’s that automatically share and sync my data using Qsync (QNAP). Can I change the location of the mailstore database to be a subfolder of my Qsync folder tree? Alteratively I would like to install the database on my Fritz!NAS such that all my PC’s (just a few) could access the archives. They all share the same mailboxes (all IMAP). In any case, if a mail is archived on one of my PC’s I would want to be able to search and find it from any of the others.
    I use multiple PC’s because being dependent on just one is to much risk.

  21. Susan Barham
    09/06/2021, 21:25

    I have archived an email by mistake How can I get it back into my emails please?

  22. Jack Harper
    23/08/2021, 15:17

    I am with AOL. I have tried every means to back up using POP and IMAP and the correct address and password but no use at all. Until a few months ago all had worked fine. AOL blame Mailstore and vice versa

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