Why is keeping a backup important?

Keeping copies of your important files and messages (a backup) is extremely important because the devices your store your files on (hard drive, USB stick, phone/tablet etc.) can and do fail and this could prevent you from accessing your data.

Whatever you use for your computing needs, we strongly recommend you use any backup facility that is available to you. If your data is especially important to you then you might want to consider specialist software and services that copy your data to servers on the Internet.

Many people do not protect their data at all, and often find they wish they had when faced with the loss of important business or personal files.

How can I make backups?

It is very easy to make backups of files, and a wide variety of software is available to help you do this.

Apple’s OS X and Microsoft’s Windows operating systems include the needed software to create backups and also restore files from them when needed. Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets also have backup facilities that can copy important data to servers on the Internet or to your desktop or laptop computer.

If you have specialist needs where backups are concerned, you probably already have the necessary systems in place to do this. For example, you may require off-site backups via the Internet for added data security. A number of commercial services are available for this kind of backup, and their software will encrypt the data before it is sent to their servers.

Does Runbox keep a backup copy of my data?

Runbox keeps backup copies of customer data so that in the event of data loss in the main account storage, it can be restored. Since we began offering email services in 2000 we have not needed backups to replace data lost due to technical failures with our system.

Runbox keeps a series of backup “snapshots” of your account data. These record the data in your account at the time the backup is made. If you imagine a timeline starting today and going back in time, we create a backup of your data every day for the last 7 days, every week for the last 4 weeks and every month for the last 6 months. This means that as time moves forward the older backups have more time between them than the recent ones.backup_graphic

The oldest backup is never more than 6 months old, and data lost before then cannot be retrieved. All backups are stored securely, and are not accessible from the Internet or from our email system.

Note: These backups are not available to customers to restore data that is deleted by them by accident or through any technical failure of their email programs.

Are any messages not backed up?

We do not place every message that arrives in your account in a backup; a backup only contains data that was in your account at the time the backup was made. This means there are certain circumstances in which messages will not be present in any of the backups we have for your account. For example:

  • If you download your email using POP3 and do not leave a copy on the server, there may be little or no data in your account at the time a backup is made. With most email programs you can leave a copy on the server for a specific number of days and this would allow you to keep email on the server that would be backed up within approximately 24 hours.
  • If an email arrives after a backup is made and is deleted from your account (and from Trash) before the next backup is made, it will not be present in any backup. You might want to consider keeping deleted messages in your Trash for a number of days before deleting them, or let Runbox automatically delete emails in Trash that are older than a month. There is a setting for this on your Account page under “Optional Settings”. Because we also make a backup of your Trash folder, deleted email that appears here will be included in the backup data.

Backups and Privacy Concerns

Despite the importance of backup copies, some customers prefer that we don’t keep copies of their email. Usually this is for privacy reasons as they want email deleted from the server to be deleted without the chance of it existing as a copy elsewhere.

Due to the increased demand for a service where Runbox makes no back up copies of email, we have set up a storage system that is separate from that used by other customers. Data stored there is not part of the backup schedule.

If you decide to ask us to move your account to the storage where no back up is made, please be aware that we are unable to help you recover any data that you accidentally delete from your account. For this reason we strongly recommend you make your own local backup files unless you really do want the only copy of your email to be the one on our servers.

Note: We also store basic information about your messages such as To, From, Subject and Date/Time in a database separately from the full message content, and this is used to speed up access to messages. There is no option for us to stop backing up this data. Therefore, if we move your account to the storage where the content of your messages is not backed up there will still be backups of the basic message data.

You can see where your data is stored on our system and whether this is backed up on your Account page under “Storage Details”.

How can I find out more?

If you would like more information about the backups please contact Runbox support at https://support.runbox.com

Note: The data in the backup system is not accessible to customers through our web interface to restore data that is deleted from their account(s).