ComTech: IT Support Stirling

Do you know which email account you have?

ComTech: IT Support Stirling

Emails.  We all use them and many businesses would be completely stuck if they lost them and that is exactly what happened to a client I dealt with recently.

I had a call from a client who sounded very frantic on the phone. Their main PC for the business had just died and they were worried about recovering their data so I went across to take a look.  On arrival on site it became apparent that indeed they had backups for their data on an external drive and the most they would lose was two days.  The emails though were a different matter.

The client didn’t know the difference between POP, Imap or Exchange accounts and thought the email hosting company would be doing backups of his entire account so he didn’t have to.  The main email account was a POP3 account which had quite happily pulled all his emails off the server for the last 3 years until the hard drive died.  Since there was no backup the emails have gone.

The are some main differences between the account types which would could have helpt the client had he known.  POP3 by default will pull all the emails off the server onto the local machine.  You can configure the account to leave the emails on the server for a set period if needs be but you are better using Imap for this.  If your email account is POP3 YOU MUST BACK UP THE EMAILS ON THE SYSTEM and I generally recommend backing your emails to something like Dropbox so they are stored off site.

Imap keeps the emails on the server to which you have access. This makes Imap a good choice when you have multiple devices which need access to the full set of emails in the account.  You can also configure Imap to store a copy of all emails on the local device which means your emails are then in two places (system and hosting server) taking care of backups.

Exchange basically takes Imap a step further with all your emails, contacts and calender backed up on the server. You can also cache a local copy of all your emails too.  Exchange also allows shared calenders between workers which is a very handy feature.

Personally I would go with either Imap or Exchange everytime for your emails as the backup features are a no brainer when running a business.

As for the client they have sent their hard drive off to a data recovery firm but the prognosis is not good.

About the Author


Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Cisco, Windows, OS X and Linux based IT Support to small businesses throughout Scotland.

Follow @Comtech247 on Twitter


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