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By Barry Kemp Head: Nymbis Cloud Solutions

Microsoft Office 365 users might not be aware but their data, be it deleted documents, emails, chat history and other aspects of the suite or even users, remains accessible for a period of 30 days only on the MS platform. Microsoft’s primary objective is to keep its infrastructure and platform up and running smoothly so that users have continued use, but no real long-term backup is provided as part of the licence.

The full MS 365 stack in use by most users includes Email, SharePoint, OneDrive and MS Teams which has Chat and File Folders within and it is imperative that all of this is backed up to ensure recovery of data, whether accidentally or maliciously deleted, is possible when required. The responsibility of managing and protecting the business’s data does not fall within the scope of the Software as a Service (SaaS) provider, in this case, Microsoft 365, but rather in the domain of the IT lead or department in your organisation.

In the event that an email, for example, needs to be recovered several months later or a user has been deleted and access is again required after a few months, this will not be possible – at least not with any intervention from Microsoft. In these scenarios, which are common to most businesses, a robust third-party backup solution is necessary to facilitate the retrieval of data.

There are several reasons why organisations that use a cloud-based solution especially,  need a third-party solution for backup. Amongst them are the following:

  • Accidental deletion: A common occurrence, whether on purpose or not. A backup could restore your user to on-premises Exchange or Microsoft 365.

  • Retention policy: If your business needs to comply with certain regulations, laws and internal policies that stipulate retention or deletion of information, a reliance on the Retention policies in Microsoft 365 offers limited protection only as they are not proper backups. What you need is a backup that can store your data for longer periods in a secure location for easy access and recovery when required.

  • Internal security threats: Threats from the inside of businesses are more widespread than we may imagine. Malicious behaviour by exiting employees for example can cause the loss of critical data through intentional deletion. A sound recovery solution that can retrieve from a backup can safeguard you from permanent loss of data.

  • External security threats: A backup can easily restore data to an instance before the attack thereby safeguarding your organisation from Ransomware and other external threats posed by cybercriminals.

  • Legal and compliance requirements: A third-party backup solution is purpose-built to easily search within a backup and quickly bring back data to meet any of your regulatory compliance needs.

  • Managing hybrid email deployments and migrations to Microsoft 365: Whether you are migrating to Microsoft 365 or have a blend of on-premises Exchange and Microsoft 365 users, the exchange data should be managed and protected the same way, which makes the source location irrelevant.

  • Teams’ data structure: Microsoft Teams is not an application that stands alone. The data generated in Teams resides in other applications like Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and OneDrive. This adds a layer of complexity and, as such, it is crucial to protect this data.

One of the biggest benefits of using a third-party supplier for your MS 365 backup is that it gives your organisation a level of redundancy – allowing you to access your data even in the unlikely event of Microsoft going down completely. This view is supported, in a sense, by Microsoft itself given that responsibility for customers’ data features prominently – at the forefront – of Microsoft’s Shared Responsibility Model. Microsoft is adamant that safeguarding your data is primarily your responsibility.

Budget-conscious SMEs and other businesses that find themselves without an adequate in-house IT capability could consider Cloud backup solutions. They don’t require you to own hardware because they store your data in their own or partner data centres. All the infrastructure and data are on the Internet, encrypted, and accessible to you on demand.

Although a third-party cloud backup vendor will deploy the same physical tools that your business will have to acquire for an on-premises setup – maintenance, upgrades and replacement hardware and software will be for their account and the advantages to your organisation, should you choose the cloud route  are as follows:

  • No setup and maintenance are required. All infrastructure is already installed and configured for you.

  • High scalability. Cloud backup services can scale up and down on your request. It’s simply a matter of adding or removing licences as required.

  • No overheads are required. Price points are set up front and will include everything required to start backing up immediately.

  • Compliance confidence. The cloud offers all the security and certifications required to meet the unique needs of your organisation.

If Microsoft 365 is the cloud-based choice for your business for easy teamwork and collaboration, adding a cloud-based backup solution can bolster your environment by securing and protecting your business information and activities on the platform.