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Reasonable PST-size and backup to NAS!

Discussion in 'Business Applications' started by casefolder, Jan 12, 2018.

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  1. casefolder

    casefolder Thread Starter

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    I wanted to hear some opinions about the situation in the office I work in.

    Recently we changed accounting software and my advice to change to Office 365 was rejected. Still all 15 employees want their emails to be safe and backed up.
    Some employees don't delete their emails, so I end up with approximately 10 GB PST-file size per year per user. Of course I split them year by year. The problem is that they want to keep even pst files from 5 or more years ago. Always available. My idea is now, that I make a one time backup copy of recent years and a daily backup of the actual year.
    I made some tries already with EaseUS. But I'm not satisfied.
    I'd prefer not to schedule it and leave it up to the employee to decide when to make the backup. So, let's say the employee leaves earlier for some reason why leaving the PC on until 7 pm or so? Also a power cut could prevent that scheduled backup entirely from happening.
    Here's a list of what I need the backup software to be able to do:

    - Start the whole backup process with a double-click on an icon (on the desktop). EaseUS needs more steps incl. always having to set the Shutdown option manually.
    - On the destination file storage or NAS I want to overwrite the previous file, not to create version after version. Or even better: Create a new version but delete the old version afterwards. PSTs are really a hard case since you can't really make incremental backups. I also doubt that some employees will understand that they are not allowed to alter their old PSTs since they won't be backed up daily.
    Sorry for the long post, but I really want to manage this situation as best as possible. We will have a cloud solution for accounting, client related stuff and documents. But the email situation is really something that started freaking me out. Opinions, Ideas, Software recommendations, everything welcome, THX
     
  2. draceplace

    draceplace

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    Do you have your own mail server?
     
  3. casefolder

    casefolder Thread Starter

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    No, we get them from a provider who also hosts our webpage. And they have a very tiny mailbox size per email account. I have to set Outlook to delete emails within 2-10 days (depending on user) from there in order not to risk an overflow.
     
  4. draceplace

    draceplace

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    You are in quite a predicament. To start with email is a communication medium, not a storage solution.

    In my large organization we have groups of users who try to run their business from Outlook. Sounds you may be in a similar situation. We have a mail server but these people still have problems (often) but we usually resolve them.

    PSTs (by definition) are personal storage, unreliable, prone to breaking and invariably stored where they're not backed up. Since you don't have a company wide solution the users need to understand the tracking of their emails is on them. You can provide some 'best practices' and help when you can.

    Ideally your stance should be if your not going to invest in a professional solution then email storage is not a priority and the responsibility has to be pushed back to the user. If it is a priority buy a solution at a reasonable cost that is useable and dependable. Else you will do your best but (management) expect occasional problems that IT will not be able to resolve.
     
  5. casefolder

    casefolder Thread Starter

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    Is this mail server a multiple disk array solution (NAS with Email server capabilities?) where you don't really need to backup? And what is the typical mailbox size you give the users?

    The things you mentioned exactly resemble the situation I'm in right now. I'm employed only one day in a week. Have to go from PC to PC to organize PST files and so often some of them are corrupt and I'm losing 45min or so repairing them before I can extract emails out of them. It is some kind of a devils circle because (although I told them emails might get lost) everyone thinks that somehow I will always get them back. I had a situation with one of my bosses. His SSD broke down and only small files could be recovered. The big PST files wouldn't transfer anymore. He was very lucky that I had 90% of his emails saved on a different computer some months before the incident, because I split them in yearly archives there and left them there when I copied them back to his local computer.

    We are also completely naked against encryption malware. Even if I somehow manage to get the backups done daily, it will take only one Locky or whatever and also the backups might get encrypted. We got attacked already but the encryption came to a halt luckily when the AV on the affected computer started realizing that s.th. was going on. PSTs were OK and on our PC with the accounting and client software only the 000000 (fake folder but was used by some employees to store stuff) was encrypted. I could bring this back from a daily backup I do there to a usb disk. This was pretty on the edge but quickly forgotten!)

    We got an offer from a bigger IT company to slowly, step by step make everything safer and organized in case of desaster recovery (Sophos Hardware Firewall, better storage solutions, Email to cloud) but it somehow again fell under the table.
    So here we are. In the future docs and cases will be safe in the cloud with that new software but the emails of one user could be gone instantly if the hdd/ssd crashes significantly.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2018
  6. draceplace

    draceplace

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    You did ask for opinion in first sentence.

    Nicely worded almost rant, unfortunately this is IT support most\part of the time.

    I respect the fact that you are concerned and have possible solutions to offer! Wish you were work for/with me:) The "one day a week" throws me? Are you a contractor? Work remotely? Then you mention 'We got an offer from larger company". These answers could change approach. Results would end up similar.

    This will likely take some time, be patient and double your estimated times always.
    Take paragraphs above make a list by your priorities and present them to someone who makes the decisions and discuss rearranging/modifying/etc,. . The list can be informal or detailed and the decision doesn't have to be make right then. Do not work (on list items) until 1st decision is made. Then wash, rinse, repeat for the rest of your life:)

    1. Get Emails on cloud.
    a. Specs - email addr., storage limits, send size limits, etc
    ii. Legalities - how long are we legally requited to keep emails (in writing for reliable source\attny)
    b. Time line - Cost - Future Impact
    c. Alternatives - On site server,Build clunky, one off storage solution with no guaranteed.
    d. Immediate action: Users are responsible for own PSTs, Training
    2. Security enhancement
    a. blah
    b. blah
    3. Blah Blah Blah

    Its important the company paying you take responsibility for the lack of resources. That includes taking some blame when data is lost.

    Path of least resistance and most gain on the emails is to train the users to keep up with their own storage. Seems there may be a good start on the 'one off ' storage solution. You could take the 'problem children' who can't figure it out or are too important and see how well it works before deciding next step. A (prolonged) beta test you might call it.

    This is all opinion, with good intentions. Remember when negotiating: don't use I/me, talk about task and not people.
     
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