How a SharePoint Online Backup Is an Important Part of Backing Up Microsoft 365

June 9th, 2022

If you’ve ever experienced losing a document that wasn’t backed up, imagine how much worse it can be when it’s your company’s whole system at risk! While many people believe one of the benefits of using M365 is that Microsoft backs up all your data, the truth is that Microsoft considers this a “shared responsibility.”  

Because of that shared responsibility, something as simple as deleting a user can delete company data forever if you don’t have your own IT solution for backing up M365 data. 

Microsoft does provide some protection against data loss, but with security threats and data retention obligations, the responsibility ultimately lies with your own company to ensure that data is backed up per your organization’s requirements. This makes a SharePoint Online backup an important safeguard against Microsoft 365 data loss. 

How Microsoft Manages Your Data 

Microsoft’s business continuity management and disaster recovery protect against hardware failure and data corruption. They provide service on multiple sets of hardware to ensure constant availability, with near-zero downtime. And their native versioning parameters save a copy of the document you’re editing at intervals of around 30 minutes.  

This is all great news for your day-to-day productivity. But what about those documents that are rarely accessed? And what happens to deleted data? 

Compliance Retention 

For premium subscribers, Microsoft 365 has a Compliance Center that can be configured for document archiving and retention. However, it’s hard to set a one-size-fits-all compliance configuration, given the huge variety of businesses supported by M365. Microsoft does not offer an automatic restore of this data, either. It must be done manually. As a backup solution, this may save you in a pinch, but it is marginal at best. 

Deleted Data 

Deleted SharePoint data is stored in the recycle bin for 93 days. After that, it can still be recovered by an admin for an additional 14 days. Any user or admin can delete it from the recycle bin earlier, and if that happens there is a very short window for recovery. Again, this may save you in an emergency, but it is not a holistic solution for backup and recovery. 

Why You Should Back Up Office 365 

A backup creates a historical copy of the data, which can be stored in multiple locations. If the production copy is lost or stolen from an attack, there is another copy of the same data protected in another location. Relying on Microsoft for your data backup leaves you vulnerable to numerous risks. 

  • Internal Security Threats: Your employees or vendors can pose the largest threat to your business. Disgruntled employees may delete critical data before leaving, and even the most experienced and cautious users can accidentally leak usernames and passwords. 
  • External Security Threats: External threats, like malware and viruses, can be hiding in emails and attachments. As malicious parties are always changing tactics, it can be almost impossible to detect what is safe and what isn’t. Many companies don’t know they’ve been breached until almost a month after the original attack, so regular backups are critical to securing sensitive data. 
  • Legal and Compliance Requirements: Most businesses have internal retention policies for keeping archival data or are required to retain data in compliance with standards in order to keep certification. Plus, any business can become part of a legal situation, which requires retrieving older data. Microsoft does have a few tools in place to assist with this, such as Place Hold and Litigation Hold settings, but these do not retain data in the event of a user deletion. 
  • Retention Policy Gaps: When implementing your primary data retention policy, it’s possible to omit data that doesn’t fall under your standard infrastructure, like M365 data. The window for retrieving deleted data is short, and Microsoft only retains data as stated in their service agreement. Anything longer would be a breach of contract. 
  • Cloud Deployment Transition Risks: When transitioning from an on-premise Exchange to Microsoft 365 Exchange Online, you may create an opportunity for data loss. With a robust backup solution, all data is handled the same, regardless of source location. 

RELATED: 6 Critical Reasons for Office 365 Backup

The Advantages of An Office 365 Backup Mailbox 

Microsoft’s limitations for data backup and recovery are even narrower when it comes to Outlook items. There is no real backup method for an Exchange mailbox, and while the recycle bin and recoverable items folder may save your bacon for lost emails, some Outlook data is not recoverable at all. 

In the event of a ransomware attack, if you lose access to your Exchange mailbox, you may have no options for recovering your contact or calendar items. Is client contact information critical to your business? Then you need to implement a strong backup system to ensure this data is protected. 

With a third-party backup for M365, you can get the full protection you need. This is a flexible strategy, with affordable options based on per-user pricing, and encrypted data backups available for full restoration or partial restitution of missing/changed items. 

RELATED:Microsoft 365 Secure Cloud Backup FAQs

Getting Started With M365 Data Backup 

In absence of a native backup option for M365 data, a separate solution is an important step in any company’s disaster recovery strategy. With a third-party tool like a Veeam-powered backup from Virtual Systems, you can be confident that M365 files are protected against accidental or malicious data loss. This comprehensive solution includes Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive, and Microsoft Teams data and files. 

Fast restoration is one of the most important aspects of disaster recovery planning, and with a Veeam-powered backup, files are easy to find and restore. A side-by-side folder comparison makes it easy to spot missing or changed items. 

While M365’s native versioning can eat away at your storage limits, with Virtual Systems you’ll enjoy unlimited capacity. In the event of a malicious attack, you can choose your point in time to restore, confident that your data will be there. 

Our M365 data backup solution is flexible, scalable with your business, and fully compliant as part of your data retention policy. 

RELATED: Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365: 25 Ways to Restore Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Teams Data

Contact Virtual Systems to Learn More 

If you’ve been relying on Microsoft to back up your SharePoint files, it’s time to step up your game. Keep your data safe with Veeam backup solutions and take a proactive approach to your data security.  

For more information, we chat about the difference between backups and replicas in Episode 2 in our Talk Nerdy to Me series. We’re passionate about taking data backup seriously! 

We are also happy to answer any questions you have about M365 backup protection, so just drop us a note via our online contact form and ask away! 

Leave a Reply

Let's Talk

for Veeam Cloud and Service Providers