Home » Technical Topics » Data Security

Microsoft Office 365 Backup: What Business Data to Back up?

Cloud technology concept. Computing data storage. Software infrastructure. Hand pressing button.
Cloud technology concept. Computing data storage. Software infrastructure. Hand pressing button.

As of Q3 of 2021, over a million organizations rely on Microsoft 365 subscription plans to conduct their daily business tasks. The popularity of Microsoft’s productivity and collaboration suite has been attracting malicious actors and cybercriminals who try to breach organizations worldwide. Because of this, Microsoft 365 adopters should seek out a comprehensive Microsoft 365 backup solution to keep their data safe and avoid the downtime and financial loss associated with a malicious breach.

Now that we have established why an Office 365 backup solution should accompany a Microsoft 365 subscription plan, let’s look at types of Microsoft 365 data to backup?

Microsoft 365 Backup: OneDrive files

OneDrive is an online storage service that allows you to upload files from your local disk to the cloud and save copies of the files you worked on in your Microsoft 365 environment. Also, on-premises Microsoft 365 productivity applications have OneDrive set as the default save option to save all Office documents directly to the cloud. OneDrive provides cloud storage options ranging in capacity from 5 GB to 6 TB, depending on the Microsoft 365 subscription plan. 

Not only can you upload and save files with OneDrive, but you can also create, view, edit and share documents with co-workers. Since OneDrive is often used to store backups, it includes security features such as: 

  • Ransomware detection
  • Multi-factor authentication
  • Data recovery based on versioning

If your OneDrive files have been damaged, encrypted, or modified due to a cyber-attack, you can revert to previous files versions. There’s a drawback, though; due to the 30-day retention policy set by default in OneDrive, you may not be able to recover your data entirely. So any files dating back to more than 30 days are practically irrecoverable. 

OneDrive serves as the backend and main storage space for your Microsoft 365 environment. Backing up your OneDrive data with a reliable third-party Office 365 backup solution is of the utmost importance, mainly if your organization’s workflow depends on cloud collaboration and storage. 

Microsoft 365 Backup: SharePoint Online

SharePoint Online is Microsoft’s premier web-based collaborative platform. As part of Microsoft 365, It provides tools for sharing and storing documents and information. Using SharePoint Online in a work environment encourages communication, cooperation, and teamwork. With SharePoint Online sites, you can access and view published posts by co-workers and share content and collaborate with internal teams across departments or external guest users and clients. Also, SharePoint Online offers up to 25 TB of cloud storage.

Since SharePoint can hold large quantities of data and sets of information, Microsoft has implemented security features to keep their team-centric collaboration platform safe from most but not all threats. SharePoint Online security features include: 

  • Threat management
  • Mobile device management
  • Information governance

In SharePoint Online, if a file gets deleted, it doesn’t get removed immediately. Like in Windows, deleted files in SharePoint Online are sent to a recycle bin. But SharePoint’s recycling bin can only hold deleted files for up to 93 days before completely removing them. So if you have just found out about a file deletion that happened more than 93 days ago, the chances are that file is already permanently deleted and irrecoverable. By deploying a reliable third-party Microsoft 365 backup solution, you can quickly recover deleted files and folders from specified points in time. 

Versioning is also available in SharePoint Online. But recovering older versions of multiple files can be a tedious and lengthy process.

Microsoft 365 Backup: Exchange Online mailbox

Exchange Online in Microsoft 365 is a platform designed to centralize your emails, calendar, tasks, and contacts into a single database in the cloud. An Exchange Online mailbox can hold up to 50 GB of data. 

To protect your Exchange Online mailbox against malicious threats, Microsoft gives you the option to customize anti-spam and anti-malware filters policies. Also, Exchange Online features Data Loss Prevention (DLP) capability, and data Loss Prevention analyzes email content automatically to prevent users from sending sensitive information to unauthorized recipients. Security policies in Exchange Online can be set both according to industry standards and your business’s own privacy needs. 

Despite including advanced security features, your Exchange Online mailbox is still vulnerable to malicious threats such as ransomware. Cybercriminals predominantly use phishing techniques to infiltrate organizations and spread ransomware. In the absence of proper cyber security training, any user can fall victim to phishing emails. Hackers would instead target ordinary employees’ emails in an organization than try to breach security systems.   

Third-party Microsoft Office 365 Backup Solution

In a digital business world, where petabytes of data are created and circulated online daily, backing up your Microsoft 365 business files provides an extra layer of security to your work environment against hardware failure, accidental deletion of crucial files, and malicious cyber threats.

Despite Microsoft 365 offering security features such as anti-spam and anti-malware email filters, data redundancy and resilience, and essential ransomware detection, your data is still vulnerable to accidental or malicious deletion, encryption, and corruption. Therefore, regularly backing up your Microsoft 365 data, including OneDrive files, SharePoint Online sites, and Exchange Online mailboxes with a reliable third-party Microsoft 365 backup solution, is vital for your organization’s continuity and success. 

Wrapping up

Microsoft 365 is the world’s most popular productivity and collaboration suite of applications and services. Due to its versatility, flexibility, and overall reliability, Microsoft 365 serves as a complete solution for organizations to conduct their daily on-premises and remote business tasks. As crucial business data is being created and shared in Microsoft 365 regularly, adopting a backup solution can help mitigate the effects of any malicious breach. With a reliable third-party Microsoft 365 backup solution that periodically backs up your files, you can recover your OneDrive, SharePoint Online, and Exchange Online business files, folders, and messages easily and quickly at any time.