According to Microsoft, office 365 has over 135 million monthly paid commercial users. Is your business one of them? If you answered "yes", have you ever wondered about the safety of your data with Office 365 - including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business and Microsoft Teams? Is there any need to back it up?
It is typical of most users to assume that Microsoft is solely responsible for managing and safeguarding their data stored in the cloud with Office 365. But this assumption is not entirely accurate.
No doubt, Microsoft shares in the responsibility of ensuring the availability and safety of your data on Office 365. However, more is required of you to guarantee long-term access and optimum protection of your data; and the only guaranteed way that this is possible is to back up your Office 365 independently of Microsoft.
Though business continuity and data protection may be central to backing up Office 365, the following points are worth considering:
- Own Your Data: Microsoft does its bit in providing and managing the Office 365 infrastructure, as well as seeing to the maintenance of uptime of the back end. But the obligation to own your data remains yours, according to Microsoft. Owning your data entails everything from setting up, accessing, managing, recovering, and moving your data. Therefore, to ensure continuity in business and a minimal to zero data loss, you must own, have direct access, and total control of your data.
- Human Error: While Office 365 offers users data storage replication and redundancy, neither of these is the same thing as back up. Back up happens when an independent copy of data is made and stored in a different location enabling complete recovery if/when the source or service is unavailable. Replication and redundancy involve having data available at two or more locations as standby, in case the primary system fails. Hence, without backup, if a user either maliciously or mistakenly deletes an important file, it is removed across the network. But with a backup service in place, you can quickly restore the deleted item.
- Retention Policy Gaps: The native recycle bin and versioning featured in Office 365 offers limited protection from data loss. Data that no longer falls within the retention period (which is typically between 14-30 days) is lost forever. The mere fact that Office 365 has limited backup and retention policies is enough to highlight that it was never intended to serve as an all-round or efficient backup solution. And though business administrators are allowed to extend the retention periods, this extra feature takes up a lot of disk space, and this comes at an additional expense. A backup solution will ensure that you have no retention policy gaps or short term back up situations to grapple.
- Security Threat: Data could be under threat, both from within and outside. From the inside, data could be at risk through the unintentional deletion of crucial files, and intentionally by tampering with data to destroy evidence. External threats in the form of viruses and malware, like the Ransomware, have done considerable damage to the reputation of many organisations. Thus, having a regular backup of data is necessary for facing security threats. You will always have an independent and uncompromised copy of data you can recover quickly.
- Legal Issues and Compliance Requirements: This holds especially true for businesses or establishments that are regulated, like healthcare, legal, and finance organisations. These settings often have specific regulatory requirements that may involve access to data that dates back beyond the backup capabilities of Office 365. In such situations, compliance with those regulations cannot be guaranteed to by relying on the limited backup offerings of Office 365.
Undoubtedly, there are other reasons to backup Office 365, but these points are enough to seriously consider if you need an Office 365 backup solution in place to fill the gaps and limitations of office 365.
As always, please talk to your Client Services Manager to discuss our recommended back up solution for your Office 365.