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Should you have to back up your email? After all, your email is stored on Google, Apple, ATT, Charter, Amazon, or some other server. (See “My Inbox Was Just Deleted” article.)

Did you know, if you read the fine print, that none of them take responsibility for your email? You are responsible. So it’s up to you to make sure you have the appropriate backups for all your emails.

A few months ago, I had a client have his personal email get hacked through Apple. He lost much of it, never to be recovered. Not only was the email deleted from the Apple inbox, it was also deleted from the trash and the online Apple server.

Less than a week ago, another client was hacked and lost a few recent years of their business email. This was on an ATT/Yahoo server.

The problem in this case, was it was a business. They were in a meeting and they saw their ATT/Yahoo email just disappearing in front of their eyes. By the time they could change their password several recent years were gone, unable to be recovered. There is also liability with losing business email.

In almost every email there is an option to enable two factor authentication (2FA). 2FA is an identity and access management security method that requires two forms of identification to access resources and data. 2FA gives businesses the ability to monitor and help safeguard their most vulnerable information and networks including email. This can help prevent a hacker from getting in. Unfortunately, ATT/Yahoo does not have 2FA.

Be aware, though, if someone is persistent enough, they will probably find a way in even with 2FA installed. The idea is to make it more difficult so the hacker tires of trying to hack your email and moves on to someone less protected.

If you use a third party option such as Microsoft Outlook Desktop , Mozilla Thunderbird Desktop, both Yahoo and ATT require the third party application to use a secret phrase instead of the normal login password or 2FA if logging straight into the provider’s webmail.

There are a couple of issues with the secret phrase option:

1. It’s difficult to find where to go to change the secret phrase if you ever need to change it.

2. If you can’t view it, another secret phrase has to be created and then all of your third party applications that access that phrase need to be changed.

The 2FA and secret phrase options offer some level of protection from hackers, but they are not totally foolproof. And that is why it’s so important for you to take responsibility for backing up all your emails.

There are several options for backing up your email.

If you have a personal email account, you could set up another email account and forward a copy of all your email from your personal email account to the other email account. Keep in mind, this does not back up your contacts or calendar.

You can also use the third party option – such as Microsoft Outlook Desktop, Mozilla Thunderbird, Yahoo and ATT – to download a copy. The issue with this though, is that if you use IMAP (a newer version of email which syncs all email between both applications) versus the POP3 method (which takes the email actually off the mail server). If you are using IMAP, the third party option can lose it too if it is connected to the internet.

If Business grade Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) is purchased there are some backend options for backing up your Outlook contacts, calendar and email. The catch here is that is the job of an administrator. If your business is small, you may not have the personnel to handle it.

There are also multiple inexpensive third party applications that can back up your email offsite and protect your information from ransomware and hacking. Their only job is to protect and recover your email and other data. The cost is relatively small, usually $5-$10 a month per email address.

A few third party applications to consider are:

  • DropSuite –  backup Office 365, Workspace Gmail, Hosted Exchange, Open-Xchange, IMAP/POP, and websites.
  • HYCU – Backup and protect your data.
  • BackupIFY – Secure Office 365 backup and recovery of Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint Online, Calendar, Contacts, and Microsoft Teams Data.

Depending on the size of your company and budget, other more robust options can be used to back up and recover all data, not just your email.

So the answer to the question – Should you have to back up your email? – is yes. You should set up and back up your email automatically. I hope this email has given you more insight into why it’s so important to back up your email and a few options to help you get started.

Give us a call at 615-443-4842 so we can do a free analysis of your systems to make sure everything is running smooth and secure.

All the best and stay well,
Jim Nay

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