Cloud-based enterprise software brings many benefits for organizations large and small. Microsoft Office 365 is one of many such services, and we have had clients migrating to it left and right over the past few years. Services like Office 365 offer many advantages, particularly for small and medium businesses: cost savings, productivity gains, flexibility, and integrated IT support, to name a few.
one key benefit of Office 365 that is often misunderstood is the role Microsoft plays when it comes to data backup. As an Office 365 subscriber, you and your employees will always have access to the latest version of Office products without the time and financial expense previously required. By virtue of the service being cloud-based, your data will also be replicated: Microsoft office 365 offers geo-redundancy, meaning that copies of data are made and then stored in another location. this protects against site or hardware failure, so if there is an infrastructure outage, your employees can keep working seamlessly and will essentially be oblivious to any underlying issues.
However, this kind of redundancy is different from a backup, which allows you direct access to and complete control over the location of data. Any many people fail to realize the importance of independently backing up their work in Office 365.
Still not sure why you should take this extra security step? Here are six reasons why backing up Office 365 is absolutely critical:
1) Accidental deletion
If you delete an Office 365 user, that deletion is replicated across the network whether you mean for that or not. This includes the deletion of their personal SharePoint site and OneDrive data. We’ve seen more than a few clients accidentally tag an item to be purged from the mailbox database. Once this happens that item is unrecoverable, period, if you don’t have any other backup in place.
2) Retention policy gaps
Technology is evolving at an astonishingly fast pace, as are the policies used to manage it. Because of that, Microsoft’s retention policy only provides limited coverage for situational data loss. Important types of recovery, including short-term backups, long-term archives, and point-in-time restorations are only possible if you are using an additional Office 365 backup solution.
3) Internal security threats
Most people think of hackers and viruses when the term “cybersecurity” comes up. However, businesses often fall pretty to threats posted by employees, both intentionally and unintentionally. Microsoft has no way of knowing the difference between a regular user and a terminated employee attempting to delete critical company data before s/he departs. Alternatively, some users accidentally invite serious threats by downloading infected files. Independent backup solutions can help manage user access and detect unusual activity to protect some of these threats.
4) External security threats
We have all seen countless examples of damage done by malware and viruses. External threats can sneak in through emails and attachments, even when employees are educated about them. Exchange Online is unable to handle serious system-wide attacks, so it is important to conduct your own regular backups to ensure a separate copy of your data is uninfected. This will enable your organization to recover quickly if disaster does strike.
5) Legal & compliance requirements
Sometimes you need to retrieve old files or other types of data amid legal action that you never expected. Microsoft has built in a couple safety nets for this type of situation, such as “Litigation Hold,” but these are often not robust enough. For example, if you accidentally delete a user, their on-hold mailbox and other data (see point #1 above) will all be permanently deleted. Having an independent backup strategy can therefore save you the headaches and stress associated with fines and penalties.
6) Managing migrations to Office 365
When transitioning from on-premises Exchange to Office 365 Exchange Online, organizations need a window of time when their data exists on both servers. Many even leave a small portion of their legacy system in place for control and added flexibility. However, having data in hybrid setups like this can pose management and security challenges, which only an independent backup service can address.
If you haven’t given thought to or been aware of these gaps in Office 365 backup services, it is critical to address them now! To learn more about recovery services for Microsoft Office 365, register now for our joint webinar with MicroIntegration on how to take control of and protect your organization’s Office 365 data.