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6 Critical Reasons for Microsoft Office 365 Backup

Article by Diogo Correa
August 29, 2019

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There is a large miss consumption that Microsoft backs up all your data and that you have infinite retention – are you one of these? do you feel like; “Microsoft takes care of it all.” 

Microsoft takes care of quite a bit, and provides a great service for their customers. However, Microsoft’s primary focus is on managing the Office 365 infrastructure and maintaining uptime to your users. They are empowering you with the responsibility of your data. The misconception that Microsoft fully backs up your data on your behalf is quite common, and without a shift in mindset, could have damaging repercussions when this responsibility is left unattended.

Ultimately, you need to ensure you have access to, and control over, your Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business data.

 This report explores the hazards of not having an Office365 backup in your arsenal, and why backup solutions for Microsoft Office 365 fill the gap of long-term retention and data protection.

The misunderstanding falls between Microsoft’sperceived responsibility and the user’s actual responsibility of protection and long-term retention of their Office 365 data. The backup and recoverability that Microsoft provides and what users assume they are getting are often different. Meaning, aside from the standard precautions Office 365 has in place, you may need to re-assess the level of control you have of your data and how much access you truly have to it. Microsoft Office 365 offers geo-redundancy, which is often mistaken for backup. Backup takes place when a historical copy of data is made and then stored in another location. However, it is even more important that you have direct access to and control over that backup. So if data is lost, accidentally deleted or maliciously attacked, for example — you can quickly recover. Geo redundancy, on the other hand, protects against site or hardware failure, so if there is an infrastructure crash or outage, your users will remain productive and often oblivious to these underlying issues.

As a robust and highly capable Software as a Service(SaaS) platform, Microsoft Office 365 fits the needs of many organizations perfectly. Office 365 provides application Availability and uptime to ensure your users never skip a beat, but an Office 365 backup can protect you against many other security threats.

You or your boss might be thinking, “The recycle bin is probably good enough.” This is where many people get it wrong. The average length of time from data compromise to discovery is over 140 days 1.A shockingly large gap. The likelihood is high that you won’t notice something is missing or gone until it’s too late for the recycle bin.

Six Reasons: By talking with hundreds of IT professionals across the globe who have migrated to Office 365, six vulnerabilities in data protection rise to the top:

  • Accidental Deletion
  • Retention Policy Gaps and Consufion 
  • Internal Security Threats
  • External Security Threats
  • Legal and Compliance Requirements
  • Managing Hybrid eMail Deployments and Migrations to Office 365

#1 Accidental Deletion

If you delete a user, whether you meant to or not, that deletion is replicated across the network, along with the deletion of their personal SharePoint site and theirOneDrive data.

Native recycle bins and version histories included in Office 365 can only protect you from data loss in a limited way, which can turn a simple recovery from a proper backup into a big problem after Office 365 has geo-redundantly deleted the data forever, or it has fallen out of the retention period.

There are two types of deletions in the Office 365platform, soft delete, and hard delete. An example of soft delete is emptying the Deleted Items folder. It is also referred to as “Permanently Deleted.” In this case, permanent is not completely permanent, as the item can still be found in the Recoverable Items mailbox.

A hard delete is when an item is tagged to be purged from the mailbox database completely. Once this happens, it is unrecoverable, period.

#2 Retention Policy

The fast pace of business in the digital age lends itself to continuously evolving policies, including retention policies that are difficult to keep up with, let alone manage. Just like hard and soft delete, Office 365 has limited backup and retention policies that can only fend off situational data loss and is not intended to be an all-encompassing backup solution.

Another type of recovery, a point-in-time restoration of mailbox items, is not in scope with Microsoft. In the case of a catastrophic issue, a backup solution can provide the ability to roll back to a previous point-in-time prior to this issue and saving the day.

With an Office 365 backup solution, there are no retention policy gaps or restore inflexibility. Short term backups or long-term archives, granular or point-in-time restores, everything is at your fingertips making data recovery fast, easy and reliable.

#3 Internal Security Threats

The idea of a security threat brings to mind hackers and viruses. However, businesses experience threats from the inside, and they are happening more often than you think. Organisations fall victim to threats posed by their very own employees, both intentionally and unintentionally.

Access to files and contacts changes so quickly, it can be hard to keep an eye on those in which you’ve installed the most trust. Microsoft has no way of knowing the difference between a regular user and a terminated employee attempting to delete critical company data before they depart. In addition, some users unknowingly create serious threats by downloading infected files or accidentally leaking usernames and passwords to sites they thought they could trust.

Another example is evidence tampering. Imagine an employee strategically deleting incriminating emails or files — keeping these objects out of the reach of the legal, compliance or HR departments.

#4 External Security Threats

Malware and viruses, like ransomware, have done serious damage to organizations across the globe. Not only is company reputation at risk, but the privacy and security of internal and customer data as well.

External threats can sneak in through emails and attachments, and it isn’t always enough to educate users on what to look out for — especially when the infected messages seem so compelling. Exchange Online’s limited backup/recovery functions are inadequate to handle serious attacks. Regular backups will help ensure a separate copy of your data is uninfected and that you can recover quickly.

#5 Legal and Compliance Requirements

Sometimes you need to unexpectedly retrieve emails, files or other types of data amid legal action. Something you never think it is going to happen to you until it does. Microsoft has built-in a couple of safety nets, (LitigationHold) but again, these are not a robust backup solution capable of keeping your company out of legal trouble. For example, if you accidentally delete a user, their on-hold mailbox, personal SharePoint site, and OneDriveaccount are also deleted.

Legal requirements, compliance requirements and access regulations vary between industries and countries, but fines, penalties, and legal disputes are three things you don’t have room for on your to-do list.

#6 Managing Hybrid eMail Deployment and Migrations to Office 365

Organisations that adopt Office 365 typically need a window of time to serve as a transition window between on-premises Exchange and Office 365Exchange Online. Some even leave a small portion of their legacy system in place to have added flexibility and additional control. These hybrid email deployments are common, yet pose additional management challenges.

The right Office 365 backup solution should be able to handle hybrid email deployments, and treat exchange data the same, making the source location irrelevant.

Conclusion

Go ahead and take a closer look. There are security gaps you may not have been aware of before. 

You already made a smart decision by deploying Microsoft Office 365, now understand that you need a backup solution that offers you both complete data security and data retention for life. Ensuring you that you will never lose another company file again. 

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TECHNOLOGY Expert

Diogo Correa

Head of Sales

Diogo has a Bcom in International Business and has forged Technology deals for multiple Enterprise-Grade businesses along with government organisations, across Australia. He is passionate about technology and leading our clients into digital alignment through our innovative Technology Success Program that he has helped build from the ground up.

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