4 min read

5 Common Misconceptions About Email Archiving

Email archiving can often be misunderstood. To some, it may seem like a good idea but they’re unsure if their business needs it. Many organisations are unaware of how important archiving their emails is while others may not have an email retention policy in place. With the lack of understanding behind the process, common misconceptions end up being considered the norm.

1. Backup and email archiving are the same

The most common misconception is the belief that email backups are the same as email archiving. The backing up of data is simply having a copy of the data at a specific time, which can then be recovered in case of a data breach. Email archiving takes this further by storing exact copies for any period of time, but also incorporating a powerful search interface, as well as built-in audit trail functions to enable quick access to any current or historical email data ever sent or received. Archiving enables easy actions for compliant requests such as Freedom of Information or Subject Access Request – especially under GDPR. Backups aren’t safe from human errors or tampering, while email archiving provides advanced privileged user access and anti-tampering measures in place.

2. Not all businesses need to store data and files

It’s true that some industries are more regulated than others and businesses in it are required to have archiving in place. This ensures that files can be accessed quickly if an industry watchdog requests the information. However, even businesses that aren’t dictated by such regulations can still be required to produce old emails and communications. 

Emails are usually a huge part of litigation investigations. eDiscovery is often involved in legal cases where court orders can request for historical emails and other relevant digital information. While keeping emails is important, they must also be searchable in a format that is functional, productive and quick. Your legal team needs support to ensure they can meet the needs of requests and avoid fines being handed to the organisation. With a good email retention strategy, businesses can avoid penalties for non-compliance and all good policies will insist on email archiving.

3. Only on-premise archiving can be trusted

Not everything can be done in-house effectively. While you potentially have the resources to setup your own in-house archive, it does involve the purchase of hardware and software which must be maintained. However, email storage uses a large amount of space meaning you’ll have to keep adding to it to accommodate growing inboxes and remain compliant. On-premise servers require a skilled employee to maintain servers which adds to your running costs. It’s also possible that you need to store data off-site, in the event that you need to deploy disaster recovery.

On-premise email archiving can be cost-effective when partnering with effective software providers such as Cryoserver. With the right combination of software and virtual server, you can remain fully compliant.

Alternatively, cloud email archiving is just as effective. A hosted archive means you don’t have to maintain servers in-house – this can all be done by the service provider. Cloud archiving is also great for scalability, as you can start out with a small archive but can request more space in the future. Your in-house servers will perform more efficiently because old emails can be sent to the hosted server.

The predictable cost-structure makes cloud archiving great for businesses who can then budget accordingly. The cloud is also well protected, ensuring all data is secure and disaster recovery comes as standard, in case it’s ever needed. 

4. Office 365 already archives emails

Office 365 is the most popular email service amongst businesses, and contains various features which store emails for a specified period of time. 

Data Authenticity/Guarantee

Office 365 does have a native archiving function, however the potential exists for anyone (not just admins to make changes to an email in their inbox. For example, changing a figure on a quotation, changing a salary number etc. Whether done maliciously or unintentionally, will create multiple copies of the same email record and create confusion, leading to legal repercussions etc, Simply stemming from the question of which is the ‘original’?

Data Quality/Long Term Storage

O365’s default data processing is to export email records in to PST files (Personal Storage Table). PST files are essentially just copies of backups that are not functional in a way that’s easily searchable and they also become easily corrupted particularly if data is large and lengthy.


There is an option that can satisfy all the compliance aspect of email data in O365 which is E5 – which is £35 per person per month, which adds up. In many cases, companies can save money by moving to a lower plan such as E1 or E3 and complement with a specialised email archiving solution.

Email compliance not only means having exact copies of e-communications, but also being able to respond to requests promptly. A search of 100,000 emails in Office 365 takes 25 minutes while in O365 enhanced by Cryoserver it takes just mere seconds. Office 365’s eDiscovery search also isn’t designed to find the right emails and attachments embedded in emails that could be requested. By enhancing Office 365 with email archiving software you can actually have a fully functional and searchable archive, adding value to the data you are legally required to keep and protect.

5. Archiving emails puts your business at risk

There’s a belief that archiving emails can be a risk to businesses. The old adage of “what isn’t saved won’t hurt you” has been eliminated because of the fines you could face from GDPR and other legislation. While you may delete emails in-house, the receivers or senders of the emails will retain a copy. Short retention isn’t sustainable, so investing in a full archive acts as a ‘comfort blanket’ or insurance policy to help organisations avoid costly data penalties.

Now we’ve cleared up the common email archiving misconceptions, it’s time for your organisation to invest in a compliant and secure email archiving solution. Find out how cost-effective this service can be by getting a quote from Cryoserver.


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