Best Practices for Backup and Archival

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The following are best practices as they pertain to backup and archival standards in an Exchange environment:

For organizations facing regulatory compliance requirements, be sure to have a well-thought-out data management plan. Your plan should include how you use, retain, and retrieve your e-mail messages. Doing so enables you to easily discover and recover pertinent data during litigation, should that occur.

Maintain business-critical data in a logical, retrievable manner. The challenge of message archiving is determining what data you need to keep, how long you need to keep it, who should have access to the data (or a subset of the data), and where you should store the data.

Archive data that pertains to legal, financial, and business decisions according to your organization’s data retention policy.

Remember that the regulations and related requirements relevant to your organization determine how long you must retain data.

Consider assigning trusted individuals access to stored data, so that they can ensure that end users comply with regulations. Audit access to the data to ensure that this power is not abused.

Use a centralized data repository, which makes any discovery process more efficient and reliable than it is with widely disparate storage systems. Keep all business-related data on servers, and retain messaging data either within the Microsoft Exchange Server Information Store service or within an archiving system. Your end users should not store business-related messaging data in personal folders (.pst). These folders are not centrally controlled and present an unreliable long-term archival system.

Back up Exchange Server data. Backing up to tape is a very common and rudimentary archival system. There are numerous third-party companies that offer services and applications to back up, restore, archive, and manage Exchange Server data. You can find additional information at http://www.microsoft.com/exchange/partners/backup.asp.



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