In this article, we will be covering
- Microsoft Office 365 – the basics
- How secure your Office 365 data is against threats
- Why you should consider third-party backup
Today’s Office 365 Landscape
The suite of apps and services that comprise Office 365 today includes popular tools like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as the messaging app Exchange Online, the cloud-based file storage app OneDrive for Business, and the cloud-based collaboration tool SharePoint Online, and beyond.
With such widespread use of these solutions, it’s important to know whether or not Microsoft’s native tools support backup and recovery at all, and if so, to what extent.
Let’s take a closer look at what Microsoft offers and explore why third-party backup tools are being considered by small-to-medium sized businesses and enterprises alike.
Data is Everywhere … Is Yours Secure?
For many who leverage the power of cloud solutions, having access to your data anytime, anywhere is part of the appeal. If you load a document to Microsoft SharePoint for example, your colleagues can provide feedback or edit it remotely.
Of course, while ease-of-access is a benefit to teams, the security of this data is something that can keep IT pros and business managers up at night. Although Microsoft has a strong reputation for high availability of Office 365 infrastructure and applications, it rejects responsibility for protecting customer data (e.g. hard-deletion, subscription deprovisioning, and site-level recovery errors) or compliance requirements.
This means that data loss is likely — whether that is one email deleted by human error, a folder emptied by the malicious actions of a rogue employee (e.g. during a merger or acquisition), or a system-wide ransomware attack that stops your day-to-day operations.
Without a third-party backup solution in place, systems are left unprotected and are begging for trouble. It’s only a matter of time before disaster strikes and critical documents or emails are gone for good.
Data is Essential for Doing Business … Is Yours Backed Up?
To keep data safe and be able to recover important files and documents quickly, backup is the key to avert disaster.
One might think a vendor is the first line of defense for protecting data on their own system or app. But when it comes to Microsoft O365 specifically, there is no actual backup in place for users and no self-service option for recovery. This means there is a concerning lack of IT control available to reliably back up Office 365 data completely.
Consider these drawbacks
- Saved files are only linked to version histories, so if one file is deleted there is no way to go back and retrieve an earlier version – everything is gone. (This approach is different than backup, which offers multiple recovery points.) This limitation is particularly challenging for OneDrive and SharePoint users who generate multiple drafts or iterations. It’s also impossible to recover a file to a different user.
- The recycle bin is controlled by the user, leaving the door open for users to delete what they wish. This means that sacred files may be permanently purged before an employee leaves an organization.
- Data retention policies are limited and limiting. For example, particular settings must be in place to retrieve files beyond a certain number of days; this number varies and is not well documented. Retaining data for too long also can be a compliance risk, as well as costly. (Long-term retention via Microsoft’s “In Place Archives” serve as a second storage bin that increases storage usage.) Meanwhile, being able to retrieve older data is often necessary.
- Deprovisioning, or deleting accounts after they are closed, is controlled by Microsoft so data access is only permitted for a limited time. This puts you at risk of violating regulatory retention policies due to the potential of data loss via deactivated subscriptions.
Make Sure All Systems are Go
As the number of third-party backup adopters grows, it’s clear that Microsoft’s business and consumer customers increasingly understand the dangers of incomplete backup and the value of near- and long-term recovery. What Microsoft Office 365 delivers by way of stopgaps simply isn’t enough to maintain business continuity, let alone avert compliance issues or the expensive PR nightmare that would follow.
Get Third-Party Office 365 Backup
You can regain control of your Office 365 data, manage unnecessary expenses, and keep your business running with a secure, third-party cloud-to-cloud backup solution in place. With the right solution, you can stay complaint while gaining fast access to your data that avoids any hiccups caused by a rogue employee, a malicious attack, or everyday human error.