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Do you need to backup Office 365?

Gartner recently reported that 1 in 5 corporate employees use an Office 365 cloud service, and that Office 365 is now the most widely used cloud service by user count. 

Barracuda Jun 07th 2019 A-A+

Microsoft Office 365 has transformed business use of the cloud. Gartner recently reported that 1 in 5 corporate employees use an Office 365 cloud service, and that Office 365 is now the most widely used cloud service by user count.  

The adoption trends make sense:  the financial services industry leads the way with the highest rate of usage.  These companies are Microsoft Excel power users and are also in need of the FISC and GDPR compliance assurances provided by Microsoft. The manufacturing industry has had the second-highest adoption rate, and these companies have demonstrated significant use of Microsoft OneDrive. 

You can dig into the industries and use cases in this article, but for our purposes, we’ll focus on one of the best reasons to adopt Office 365.  It’s simply easier and more efficient to manage than a back-room Exchange (or Groupwise or …) Server.

The licensing is an easy-to-consume subscription model that can be modified on-the-fly, and the products can be deployed to multiple platforms or simply used in the cloud.  

Per Gartner, Office 365 is now the most widely used cloud service by user count, with the financial services industry leading the way.

Customers can access their Office applications and sync and share documents anywhere, even if they’re offline, and there’s no need for a VPN connection to an on-premises file server.  And heck, the Microsoft service even takes care of your email and data backups.

Or does it?

It’s true that Microsoft has native retention and basic recovery capabilities, and businesses without mission-critical email and documents may find that these suit their needs.  Using these native tools or deploying a more robust solution is a business decision that needs to be made upon migration to Office 365. 

Here are just a few top-of-mind things to consider when evaluating the protection of your Office 365 data:

  • Approximately 70% of data loss in a SaaS application is due to accidental or malicious deletion of data by end-users.  If your discovery of the loss takes longer than the configured retention policy, the data is gone. Microsoft SLAs do not protect customers against this.
  • If your Office 365 administrator account is compromised, your backups could be lost too. Code Spaces is an example of what can happen to your company if you rely on a single provider for data backup.
  • Will your Microsoft data retention capabilities be able to restore files and accounts in the configuration you need?  Even if the data is backed-up as needed, the restore process could be more difficult than you want.
  • Are you legally required to comply with specific retention and potential-litigation policies?  Will the native tools provide this capability for you?
  • Users can accidentally corrupt their data with malware, especially ransomware.  Recovery from this scenario can be difficult and time-consuming using built-in capabilities.  Versioning in OneDrive and SharePoint can help, but this counts against storage allocation and may result in additional storage costs. 
  • Microsoft urges caution and recommends full backups:

“It’s narrow-minded to view this event strictly as a security failure. The Code Spaces folks were also guilty of violating the backup administrator’s rule of 3-2-1, which requires three copies of any piece of data, on two different media with one offsite.”

~Howard Marks

Code Spaces:  A Lesson in Cloud Backup

We strive to keep the Services up and running; however, all online services suffer occasional disruptions and outages, and Microsoft is not liable for any disruption or loss you may suffer as a result. In the event of an outage, you may not be able to retrieve Your Content or Data that you’ve stored. We recommend that you regularly backup Your Content and Data that you store on the Services or store using Third-Party Apps and Services.

Recent Barracuda research reveals that at least 40% of companies surveyed aren’t using any third-party backup tools to protect their mission-critical data in Office 365.  That’s at least 40% of companies that are at a higher risk of data loss.  Third-party solutions like Barracuda Cloud-to-Cloud Backup and Recovery can protect Office 365 data, including email, OneDrive, and SharePoint.

For more information about how businesses are using data protection, download our latest report, “Closing Backup and Recovery Gaps.”  To try out our solutions in your Office 365 environment free for 30 days, visit our website here.