Many organizations have partially or fully transitioned their email and files into Office 365, and in many cases have left their traditional backup infrastructure behind in the server room.

Office 365 does provide several compliance features to preserve and retain your email and files, such as recoverable items, archive mailboxes, retention policies, and litigation hold. However, many of these features were available in on-premise versions of Exchange and that did not remove the need for backup and recovery systems.

So the question is, ‘Should today’s administrators still have a backup and recovery capability in place for Office 365, or has the cloud made this unnecessary?” Let’s find out.

Microsoft itself says that Office 365 provides no backup and restore of mailboxes

While Microsoft does provide extensive protection against data loss due to physical or logical storage loss, there is no provision in Exchange Online for point in time restore of data:

Exchange Online does not provide a way to perform a traditional backup of mailboxes. That is, there is no way to restore a mailbox to the state the mailbox was in when the backup was taken. Point in time restoration of mailbox items is out of scope for the Exchange Online service, though there might be third-party solutions available that provide this functionality. Exchange Online offers great retention and recovery support for your organization’s email infrastructure, and your mailbox data is available when you need it, no matter what happens.1

In other words, Microsoft will make sure your mail, archives, and retained items are always accessible, but it is still your responsibility to provide historical backup and restore capability.

Malicious action

The threat of data loss due to malicious attacks, both internal and external to an organization is very real. Office 365 is the most-used email and productivity platform in the world, and consequently also the most attacked. Microsoft stated in 2019 that it was the target of more external cyberattacks than any other non-government entity on Earth.

Attacks like phishing, impersonation, wire fraud, and account compromises are a major threat to your users, but even more so to your administrators and privileged accounts. Today’s attackers are ever more sophisticated, and in many cases will disable built-in protections like retention policies and archival rules before encrypting or wiping data, leaving you with no recourse but to pay a ransom. Because the data protections in Office 365 exist on the same platform and in many cases under the same login as your data, there is a single point of failure if a breach occurs. Having an outside source to recover and restore from, especially with point-in-time restore capability, can be the difference between an inconvenient outage and a devastating loss.

Teams and Backup

2020 has seen an unprecedented shift to remote work due to the COVID crisis, and usage of Microsoft Teams has grown at a staggering pace. Organizations are moving files, conversations, meetings, notes, and applications into Teams to keep pace with this demand and deliver remote work capability, but in the process have left behind many of the on-premise file server backups as well.

While Teams, OneDrive, and SharePoint have protection similar to Exchange Online in the form of Retention Policies and Recoverable Items, many of the same shortcomings still exist. Users may delete files inadvertently and not realize until long after the 30-day recovery time window has passed. Malware may encrypt or delete user and Team shares entirely, and Team Owners are owners of the SharePoint site where the files are kept. Bad actors can clear out the site’s recycle bin even with user-level permissions, and the loss may not be noticed in time for retention policies to save you.

This is why many companies have a backup solution in place. Skykick Cloud Backup delivers a backup solution for Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint, and Exchange Online so that you can benefit from one data protection solution for your most critical Microsoft 365 services.

Its differentiating features as a Microsoft 365 backup solution are:

  • Comprehensive backup coverage across the Microsoft 365 portfolio – including the latest collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams and Groups
  • Ability to offer unlimited backup storage and retention – including deleted users
  • Powerful search and restore capabilities to quickly recover from data loss
  • Industry-leading security and privacy policy support – HIPAA and GDPR compliance at no extra charge
  • Full cloud-to-cloud solution built exclusively on industry-leading public cloud provider Microsoft

The Bottom Line

Office 365 and Teams provide redundancy and policy, but those can only protect you to the extent that you can plan ahead for a data loss. No retention plan is perfect, and no system is truly safe from malicious attack. For those reasons alone, we strongly recommend that every organization have a plan to back up and restore Office 365, OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams in addition to smart retention and security policies.

For more information about how MessageOps can help you with backing up your Microsoft 365 environment, call 877-788-1617 or email [email protected].

Also, start a 30-day free Trial of Skykick Cloud Backup:

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