Do you have control of your Office 365 data? Do you have access to all the items you need?
The typical reaction is, “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 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.
The misunderstanding falls between Microsoft’s perceived 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.
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 users never skip a beat, but an Office 365 backup can protect you against many other security threats.
6 reasons why backing up
Office 365 is critical
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 their OneDrive 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 365 platform, 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 Gaps and Confusion
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 suggests hackers and viruses. However, businesses experience threats from the inside, and they are happening more often than you think. Organizations 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. Microsoft has built in a couple safety nets, (Litigation Hold) 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 OneDrive account is also deleted.
Legal requirements, compliance requirements and access regulations vary between industries and countries, but fines, penalties and legal disputes are three things you want to avoid.
6. Managing Hybrid Email Deployments and Migrations to Office 365
Organizations that adopt Office 365 typically need a window of time to serve as a transition window between on-premises Exchange and Office 365 Exchange 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.
Whether you are considering moving your organization to Microsoft Office 365 or have already embraced the benefits of Office 365 within your organization, find a backup solution that offers you both complete access and complete control of your Office 365 data and avoid the unnecessary risks of data loss.