Why is it worth doing a Microsoft 365 backup?

Backup and recovery is a crucial part of business continuity and protection against risks such as cyber attacks, user mistakes, administrator errors and service interruptions. Its primary purpose is to create a copy of data that can be recovered in the case of a primary data failure. The data can be restored from an earlier point in time, enabling the business to recover quickly and to continue operations as normal. So what is the case with Microsoft 365? Does it offer inbuilt recovery or do you need to perform a manual backup using third-party tools? 

What are some of the most common reasons for data loss in Microsoft 365? 

There’s no doubt that Microsoft 365 is on the whole a very robust, and highly available platform. It also offers some basic protection against risks that could damage your data. But there are some threats that it won’t be able to fully protect you from, which is why additional third-party backup. Here are the most common risks to bear in mind. 

Credential attacks

Microsoft 365 is very widely used, which is why it’s a preferred target for cyber criminals. In fact, data shows that it’s top of the list when it comes to certain phishing attacks. If a hacking attempt is successful, it can result not just in a data breach, but also data being cleared or encrypted from your system. The only safe way to prevent this is a robust third party backup. 

User error

Users will inevitably delete files by mistake, and Microsoft 365 has places in which it stores deleted items, allowing you to retrieve them within 93 days. There are some documents which may not be operationally useful on a regular basis, but are of strategic importance, and this is where the 93 day period is insufficient. In some cases, users might realize that particular files are needed only after a year or more has elapsed. There are also given files (such as client agreements) which companies are required to keep by law for a fixed number of years.

Administrator error

As with most other software, Microsoft365 is susceptible to programming or automation errors, each of which can result in data loss which cannot be easily retrieved. 

Poor integrations

Many companies integrate third party apps with Microsoft365 with the aim of boosting efficiency, but these apps share user data and can cause potential problems further down the line. Bad integrations can cause data to be deleted or overwritten. Sometimes data loss can be the fault of a bug in the app; other times it’s a case of a misconfigured integration that can cause mass deletion. In both of these cases, the inbuilt automatic backup in Microsoft365 is unlikely to fully protect you against data loss. 

Why a third party backup on Microsoft 365 is valuable

It’s important to remember that Microsoft 365 doesn’t create, at any stage of the process, an independent, external copy of your data. For this reason alone, a third party backup is highly valuable. Here’s what you’ll risk if you don’t set it up: 

  1. You might lose your data forever due to a Microsoft outage

Bearing in mind that there is no external copy of your data, when there’s a service disruption on Microsoft’s side, you won’t be able to continue working. You may also lose files and data in the process and you may be unable to access even when the system is up and running again. A study by the Ponemon Institute has highlighted that such downtime can cost an SMB company as much as $8,000 to $74,000 per hour. 

  1. There is no point in time recovery

Many Microsoft 365 products don’t offer version history. For example, if you found that your mailbox was corrupted in Office 365, there’s no way to simply restore it back to a point in time in which it was still safe. 

  1. Data migrations are problematic

If you need to prepare a data migration from one system to another, you’ll need to make this data available in the form of a backup first. You’ll be unable to do this without a reliable backup solution.

  1. There is a risk of non-compliance

As mentioned above, if you find that you’ve deleted files that are legally required to be kept for a number of years, there’s no way of bringing them back – unless you have a third party backup system. 

So what’s the bottom line? 

Should you use a third-party backup service to fully address all of the risks outlined above? The short answer is ‘yes.’ It’s the only way to truly protect your business from data loss and corruption. Take a look to see what options are out there in the market for you today.