Lifehacker reader Shannon wrote in with this "obvious once you've thought of it but always worth remembering" tip for backing up your email service:
Instead of using other software to back up your emails, why not let your existing email provider and Gmail do it for you? Just set up a Gmail account and call it something useful (maybe [your family name] [email protected]). Then configure your existing email provider to automatically forward a copy of every email you receive to this address. Most ISPs allow this functionality now — it is usually in the account control panel somewhere under the 'email setup' section. Send a couple of tests to make sure it is working and you are on your way! No software to worry about or schedules to follow. Gmail's storage is always on the increase, so you should never run out of room.
An added advantage of this approach is that you can use Gmail's excellent search facilities to locate older mails, and apply filters if there's routine mails from mailing lists you don't want to back up. Got any other preferred backup strategies, or tips for getting this working with particular ISPs? Let us know in the comments. [Thanks Shannon!]