After the serious incident that affected some Gmail accounts a couple of days ago, once again doubts came to the fore about how safe it is to save all the information in Cloud, without any backup (despite the fact that in practice no data was lost). The lesson that remains in my opinion is that it is always convenient to take refuge in the data redundancy, that is, back up and duplicate our information to store it in various places, and thus if one of them fails we can resort to backups and we are not left without access to our valuable information.
Therefore, in this post we want to summarize the different options that exist to achieve that: backup emails saved in Gmail or Hotmail, which are one of the most popular webmails that exist. So you can choose the one that is most comfortable, or combine two or more to have more security.
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<h2>Reenviando el correo a otra cuenta</h2>
Most of us have several email accounts, and we usually use one of them as “main” and others to register in forums, make transactions, or we simply do not use them. Why not configure the main account to send a copy of all our emails to one of the secondary accounts?
If we use Gmail, it is advisable to configure a Hotmail account to “download” all emails from Gmail using POP3. You have to do it this way because if you only configure Gmail to send Hotmail a copy of the emails that arrive (“forwarding”), that will not have retroactive effect, so emails we have received in the past will not be sent to Hotmail and will not be backed up.
To do that we simply have to go to Hotmail, click on the options button that appears when you put the mouse on “Inbox” (upper left corner of the screen), and select “Receive mail from another account”. Then you have to enter the Gmail username and password, and Hotmail will automatically detect the POP3 settings of Google mail. Once that is done, just confirm that we are the owners of the Gmail account by clicking on the confirmation link that will arrive in the mail. And ready!
Of course, since the POP3 protocol is used, the transfer of old emails can be a bit slow, but we do not have to worry since the transfer occurs between the Google and Microsoft servers, so it is not necessary that we leave tabs open waiting for it to end.
If we use Hotmail as the main email we can do exactly the same but conversely, configuring a Gmail account to transfer / copy emails through POP3. We must go to the Gmail options, select the “Accounts and import” tab and then click on the “Add account through POP3” button. Once there, the procedure is almost the same as with Hotmail, only we have to make sure to check the option “Leave a copy of the recovered message on the server” in order to prevent the original emails from being deleted from Hotmail.
For me this is the simplest way to backup emails, since it does not require us to change the way we use the mail. We can continue using Gmail / Hotmail from the web as usual (if that is our case) and at the same time be calm, since the probabilities that both services fail at the same time they are very, very close to zero.
The cons? Well, only received emails are backed up, not sent ones. We can solve this by blind copying (CCO) to the secondary address in all the emails we send, but doing that is a somewhat annoying procedure. However, if we are not interested in backing up the information of the emails sent, this is an excellent option, if not, there are still more alternatives.
<h2>Usando un cliente de escritorio</h2>
This is a pretty obvious way to back up email. By configuring a desktop client through POP3, all our emails will be downloaded to the safety of our local disk, and we will be able to access them even if atomic bombs fall on all the data centers in the world. With Hotmail it is also possible to go over the POP3 protocol, and use Outlook or Windows Live Mail with DeltaSync, which has the advantage that it also downloads the calendar and the contacts hosted on Windows Live.
It is not necessary that we use the client, in case we prefer to access the mail via the web. We just have to open it every so often (a week or 2 weeks I think it’s prudent) and wait for the mail to download. To avoid forgetting we can even configure a scheduled task in Windows or Mac so that the client opens automatically on defined dates, and thus we save ourselves that hassle.
To do this in Windows we just have to type “Task Scheduler” in the Start Menu search box, press Enter and then click on “create basic task” (top right). There a wizard will start that will ask us how often the task will be executed, and for the application we want it to run.
<h2>Sólo para Gmail: BackupGoo y Gmail Backup</h2>
If we use Gmail and none of the above options convince us, we can still resort to a couple of applications specially designed to back up emails. The first one is Gmail Backup (which we already talked about in this post). It is an application that asks us to have the IMAP Gmail activated, and that saves emails in format EML, storing both the emails themselves and the attachments.
We also have BackupGoo, another tool that they already talked about in Applesfera and that seems to be a little more powerful since it not only supports Gmail emails, but also contacts, calendar, and even Google Docs. That is, with this we are downloading almost all the information from our Google account. In addition, BackupGoo downloads the data in more friendly formats, so that we can view the emails with software such as Office. Unfortunately, it is not a free app, it costs $ 12.
Both tools are cross-platform, they work on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
<h2>¿Y qué ocurre con Yahoo Mail? </h2>
Since it does not support POP3 in its free version, none of the options mentioned in this post are used to back up those emails if we do not have a paid account. However, we still have Zimbra Desktop, a desktop client specially designed for Yahoo Mail, which also helps us to download emails to the premises.
But of course, if we have Yahoo Mail Plus, there is no problem in transferring emails to Gmail or Hotmail using POP3, or using the desktop client that we like the most (Apple Mail, Outlook, etc).
In short, the alternatives are on the table and it is up to each user what to do with their data. But it must be borne in mind that, despite the fact that the servers of large companies are not 100% secure, many times the local disk of our PC is an even less secure place, since very few of us make backup copies at the same time we are susceptible to disasters such as fire, earthquake, or simple hardware failure. That is why you do not have to rely entirely on any form of storage By itself, and less if we handle very sensitive information.
Image of the safe | Bertop flickr