The Cybersecurity Threats That Can Damage the PST Files

pst files

When you focus on the MS Office 365 migrations, it might lead to unpredictable cybersecurity issues. One of the most common aspects that Microsoft Outlook users overlook is the security concerns of the PST files that are left behind during the migration process.

In this article, we will discuss the risks associated with the PST files and the importance of migrating and managing the data

What is PST File?

The PST file is also known as Outlook personal folder files. Microsoft first introduced the these files with Outlook 1996. The PST files helped the MS users to offload their email data from different Exchange Server storage to more affordable local storage options. Microsoft implemented this practice for decades; even the mailbox space has become abundant and inexpensive. As a result, the email data becomes uncontrollable. Not to mention, the data is also exposed to the outside world instead of staying safe and secured in the users’ mailbox. 

PST files store all the local and relevant copies of calendar items, contacts, email messages, etc. Additionally, each file is made of a specific folder structure. Sometimes, the size of the these files can become huge. This will put the data at risk and make the primary data file corrupted and unstable. In cases of PST file corruption, you need to take appropriate steps for the PST fix

From Administrative Blessing to Security Issues 

PST files were undoubtedly the greatest blessing to email administrators, where the demand for email was so extensive that it was outperforming their shortage budgets. This was a severe problem where the Microsoft Exchange needed costly flat disks. The PST-enabled administrators can decrease the data on the email servers without contacting the end-users who had exceeded their email inbox quota but still looking for an additional storage system for their essential email and other essential outlook data. 

However, if you look closely, you will realize that PST files have outlived their effectiveness. Nowadays, they pose great threats regarding data loss, productivity standpoint, and compliance. Additionally, the advanced data protection laws worldwide are making the compliance of the PST files a time-consuming and challenging process. Violation of these data protection laws can pose a significant threat to organizations. 

The Risks of PST Files

Even though you can protect the PST files through passwords, this is just the password users put into gaining access to their PST files. The files themselves can be easily removed or cracked as they are not encrypted. Due to the portability of these files, if you notice that a file is missing or damaged, you need to assume that your data has been breached and exposed. The data breaching of your organization is an overwhelming situation. As per IBM, data encryption is important.

As these files work as the container of email data, you will face extreme difficulties analyzing them. Therefore, you need to import the file manually to run the analysis. In other words, you need to migrate the files regularly to analyze them. 

If your organization wants to migrate the PST files, you also need to consider the “Orphan” files. Orphan files are known as files that have no owner. You can find these disconnected files to the network share. Remember that orphan files are incredibly complicated to address. Most of the orphan files can be backup copies or duplicates. 

Can You Transfer PST Files to Online Archive during the Migration Process?

If you’re focusing on MS Office 365 migration, you don’t need to transfer all the essential data right away necessarily. However, sooner or later, many businesses would prefer to address this situation. For users who want to leverage the proper benefits of MS Office 365, all PST files and the other user data need to be migrated. Migrating the PST files and the data will help the organizations to leverage all the features of MS Office 365. However, one important thing you need to remember. If you have old and unwanted data stored, make sure you delete those data to maintain the proper functionality of the PST system.   

Moving the PST Files to Office 365 Online Archive 

Microsoft offers a great tool for its users, known as Office 365 Import Service. This takes care of the import process of the PST files into the Office 365 mailboxes. However, there are a couple of disadvantages of using this too. 

The Import Service offers no assistance that will help the users identify owners of the PST files. This means that users need to complete these tasks manually. Other manual tasks include content duplication, password removal from the PST files, network disconnects, corruption fixing, and cleaning the MS Outlook profile. However, various additional automated resources are available that can help you migrate, identify, and eliminate the PST files easily. 


Managing and migrating the data of your organization is extremely important. This is why many organizations pay close attention to their PST files. If you have any other questions, make sure you comment below. 

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