There’s no doubt that Microsoft Office 365 is a hugely popular productivity suite. Many businesses, schools, colleges and universities have adopted Office 365 as a simple, subscription-based way of providing applications, email and services to their end-users.
The second annual Bitglass EMEA Cloud Adoption Report, published in August 2018, found that 65% of 20,000 respondents were using Office 365. The rise has reportedly been driven by the tightly regulated finance and healthcare sectors. “Office 365 adoption in EMEA has grown by over 50 percent in the last two years.”
Do I Need to Backup My Office 365 Data?
Yes. Microsoft do not backup your data. Whereas Microsoft do have backup and retention policies, these are limited and should not be a substitute for a complete solution.
Microsoft manage the infrastructure and invest in security. They guarantee exceptionally high uptime for their users, it is the customer’s responsibility to protect their own data.
Why Do I Need to Backup My Office 365 Data?
If your organisation is running Office 365, we could make a fairly accurate assumption that you’ll be holding some valuable, irreplaceable company information within one of these services: Word, Excel, Outlook, SharePoint, etc.
This should be answer-enough to the above question! If you don’t deem any of the data your company shares or holds to be of operational importance, then you certainly don’t need to back it up, but we’ve yet to come across an organisation in this situation!
If you’re in certain industries, you have an added reason to back up your Office 365 data: compliance and regulation. In legal, for example, you may need to store certain data safely and be prepared to present it in case of litigation. By not having a backup, you’re wholly in breach of your duty and liable for sanctions.
How Could My Data be Compromised?
There will always be the hope that you will never need to recover any of your data. This does account for a variety of eventualities and accidents never occurring.
An employee could accidentally delete a file or an email, it’s an easy thing to do. If they don’t notice for a while and then try to reverse their mistake, they can’t, it’s gone.
Internal Security Threat
Deletion or corruption can happen in a malicious way. A disgruntled employee could delete all their email records on departure from a company, losing relationship history, records of confirmation and more.
External Security Threat
Although you can do everything possible to protect from a cyber attack, it is still a risk. You could suffer from an infiltrating virus which damages your files, or be subject to a ransomware attack which denies you access to your files without a payoff.
Sometimes systems and programs crash for no apparent reason. Occasionally, this can corrupt documents and emails beyond recovery.
How Often Should I Back Up My Data?
Backing up your Office 365 data, both application and email, should be a critical part of your disaster recovery plan.
There are no hard and fast rules to how often to backup. Consider how quickly your data changes and what impact losing even some of it might have on business continuity.
You’ll ideally want your backup to be as up-to-date as possible, with as little additional time and effort needed to both take the back up and find and restore data.
There are considerations to account for when choosing your backup solution. The storage required for backups can grow rapidly, certain backup tools can cause a delay to working operations so must be run out of hours, and if a backup isn’t instant there is still the risk of data loss. While it is possible to take manual backups, this isn’t overly realistic for many companies; it’s time intensive, there’s a time lag, it’s easy to forget and too easy for the skills and knowledge to leave the organisation.
What Should I Look For in a Backup Solution?
There are a few backup solutions for Office 365 out there. You’ll need to look at what features they offer and which are the most important for your establishment.
- Automation: Set the program to back up at an interval of your choice and forget about it. Let it tick away in the background, taking care of your data.
- Backup Type: You could pick Full, Differential or Incremental. You’ll of course want to take a full backup at the start of this process, but taking a full backup at every interval will quickly ramp up your storage costs, it’s also the most time intensive. Differential backup copies data differences from the last full backup. Incremental backup saves the changes which were applied since the last backup cycle.
- Granular Recovery: This is the option to search for certain files or emails and restore them singularly. It saves having to restore the entire file structure or mailbox.
- Brick-Level Options: It is expected that some users will access business-critical data, yet others won’t. You may want to control which mailboxes and folders are seen as most valuable and so backed up most often.
- Security: It’s all very well backing up your data, but how secure is your backup? Look for measures such as encryption, storage protection and secure data restoration. There’s no point in backing up your data if this in turn makes it less secure.
- Location: Is your backup being stored in the cloud or locally in a data centre? Both have their pros and cons around availability, independence and security.
Talk to M-Tech for Advice on Backing Up Your Office 365
We can advise on the right Office 365 backup solution for your business, school, college or university. Talk to us about how often you’d like to backup, which data is most important and how your business could continue to operate in the event of a loss.