TechTutorials - Free Computer Tutorials  

PST Backup - A Constant Worry for Network Administrators 

Added: 10/20/2011, Hits: 4,767, Rating: 0, Comments: 1, Votes: 0
Add To Favorites | Comment on this article
Every company running Microsoft’s Outlook software needs to ensure the IT team has a strategy in place for PST backup. Outlook’s powerful auto-archive features can be dangerous in the hands of system users who may not understand the implications of moving company data within email to a PST file. This makes the implementation of a PST backup plan essential, to avoid the risk of losing important information.

The basic mechanics of Outlook’s archive feature are not ideal in a business environment. The Auto Archive feature, by default, moves older email messages to a PST file located within a user’s profile folder on their local hard drive.

Backing up local hard drives is rarely a priority when a company devises a backup strategy, therefore certain information becomes at risk of not being backed up at all. Once data is archived into the PST file, it is moved away from the user’s Exchange mailbox – and the PST file becomes the only place the information is stored.

Some network administrators choose to mitigate this risk by ensuring that user’s PST files are stored on network shares, and control this behavior via manual Outlook client configuration or use of Windows Server’s group policy features. While this can help to ensure that PST files are stored on network shares that are included in server backups, this PST backup method in itself has significant shortcomings.

The first is that user archives become unavailable to laptop users when their machines are taken offsite, instead confronting users with an error message they may not understand. More important is the second factor that may come as a surprise to many IT professionals: using PST files located on network shares is not actually a configuration that Microsoft recommends or supports.

With all of these factors taken into account, it is clear that creating an effective PST backup strategy is problematic. IT staff have to choose between an unsupported configuration which could impact network performance, in order to simplify backup; or implement a backup strategy with the capability to back up information stored on local hard drives. At the same time, they need to somehow lock down or monitor user configuration of Auto Archive, in order to maintain control of any new PST files appearing on the network.

It is clear that managing PST backup can be a thankless task. Fortunately, there is always the alternative of reducing the dependency on PST files altogether by using an Exchange archiving solution.

Products exist which allow network admins to centrally manage the email archiving process and store all the information within a database structure. Items are still moved from the core Exchange information store, but end up in another database that is just as easy to access from a web interface or from within Outlook itself as it was prior to archival. As the information is all stored in a central database, it also can be backed up.

The right archival solution can even assist the IT team in implementing the archival strategy retrospectively, hunting down all the individual PST files across the LAN, so the data within them can be pulled into the archive solution.

Once the PST files have been eliminated, all that remains is for the IT department to centrally disable Outlook’s auto archive features, and PST backup can then become a distant memory!

This guest post was provided by Ben Taylor on behalf of GFI Software Ltd. GFI is a leading software developer that provides a single source for network administrators to address their network security, content security and messaging needs. Read more on PST backup.

All product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Comments (1)

Review By: JohnBrooks [01/02/2017]
Review Text: Outlook PST Recovery Tool is an excellent tool that can repair even the most severely broken PST file.It can easily repair damaged PST files and fix Outlook mailbox quickly, this tool can recover all inaccessible PST file data including all items from deleted emails and folders. To know more visit this link.It also works in all versions of Outlook and enables to view data in PST, EML, MSG and HTML file format. See more-

Items Per Page:

Related Items

7 Seconds Resources, Inc.