So you’ve decided to move on-premises Exchange, SharePoint, and other Microsoft applications into the cloud. This gives you fewer things to manage and worry about, right? But how safe is your data? Sure, Microsoft works to prevent hardware and software failure, but what about accidentally deleted files, emails, and things like that? How can you be positive you’re protecting essential data from user error? And what about offline access to files? To be sure you have extra protection from accidental deletion, malicious attacks, or data corruption, you may want to take matters into your own hands by backing up your Office 365 data. Here’s where to start.
Evaluate Your Needs
There are a handful of solutions that allow you to backup Office 365 data, but before you can select one, you need to determine what you want to accomplish. Are you hoping to recover your data after an infection or ransomware attack? Do you need to access Office 365 data even if hosted services are down? Are you concerned about archiving data for regulatory compliance? Maybe you’re an MSP looking for ways to give clients extra protection and you need a simple way to manage backups for many Office 365 accounts. Make a list of things you’re hoping to do so you’re prepared to carefully review solutions.
As with any new solution, there are some things to consider as you evaluate. A quick Google search will reveal a number of options for Office 365 backup, but as you narrow down your list, here are some things you might consider:
- Does the solution have all the features you’re looking for?
- Does it come from a reputable vendor with a solid track-record in backup technology?
- Is the vendor responsive as you’re trying to learn about them? (This might be a good indicator of what level of service you’ll get once you’re a customer)
- Is there an easy way for you to try the solution or see a customized demo?
- How easy is the solution to set up and maintain?
- How helpful is their support team?
- Is the price a good value for the feature set you get?
- How well does it fit with other backup tools and data storage solutions you’re using?
Apply Your Backup Strategy
Last, make sure your approach to Office 365 backups aligns with strategies you’ve established for other kinds of backups. If you have recovery time objectives and recover point objectives, you’ll want to take these into consideration for Office 365 as well. If you were to lose data, how much can you part with? If you’re down for some reason, how quickly do you need to be back up and running? Since you’re relying on a service hosted by a third party, you might be at their mercy if something goes wrong with their hardware. If you absolutely can’t be down, do you have a way to access information even when hosted services are offline? Whatever the case, take some time to think about how new backup methodologies fit with ones you already have in place.
It seems easy enough to toss out your Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint servers, move the data to Office 365, and let Microsoft deal with everything. But as you know, no company – no matter how large – is infallible. Just because your services and data are in a well-respected company’s cloud doesn’t mean it’s safe from everything. Including Office 365 backups in your disaster recovery strategy is a great way to add another layer of data protection.