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Microsoft Office 365: The importance of Mailbox & SharePoint Data Backup

Published by : Mitol on 24 February 2020

As more and more businesses move to the cloud, Microsoft Office 365 has become increasingly popular. Adoption of Office 365 Exchange Online, Sharepoint Online and OneDrive is surging, coincidentally, so is the ignorance to back up mailbox and Sharepoint data.

Assuming SaaS Applications don't require Backup is dangerous

In Gartner's May 2019 report entitles ASsuming SaaS Applications don't require Backup is dangerous, Analysts Nik Simpson summarises the impacts and recommendations for organisations, to reiterate:

  • Organisations that assume SaasS applications don't require backup, or that the SaaS Vendor's data protection is good enough, may place critical data at risk
  • Organisations may have to continue to run applications on-site or in IaaS clouds due to a lack of Backup options for potential SaaS replacements.
  • Organisations cannot assume that SaaS providers will offer backup as part of the service or provide interfaces that backup vendors can use to access data.

Backing up the Office 365 data on-premises, to datacentre or other non-Microsoft cloud are the best ways to protect and recover data. While Microsoft does not publicize their service availability or service commitment as most data centre or telco will do, we can always check their SLA in terms of when they will compensate with service credit when there is service downtime as a proxy of their target availability.

For most services ordered via Office 365, customers will be eligible for a service credit when the availability falls below 99.9% (which translates to an estimated downtime of 31,536 seconds, or 9 hours a year or less than 1 hour a month). This figure seems to be fine but when you compare a target 99.999% for a typical telco-grade service (target downtime of 315 seconds, or 5 minutes a year), or that of a global data centre at 99.99999% (target downtime of 3 seconds a year), this availability is appalling and your customers will need to have a backup solution to protect the availability of not only their data but also their business.

While Microsoft Office 365 offers a robust platform that customers can access their data anywhere, it is unavoidable that an email gets deleted accidentally or intentionally or maliciously – in everyday business. With the current retention and purge policy, organizations are relying on their employees to control when the data will be purged permanently. With a third-party backup solution (See: Mitol Office365 Backup) your customers’ data will be secured in an on-site location that can only be retrieved by authorized personnel.

It is also worth while knowing that with Office365 instigates document version control which does not prevent data loss. It is therefore imperative that to ensure data integrity within yours or your customers business that a separate mailbox data backup system is in place.

If you’re an IT Managed Services Provider, it is fundamentally important to educate your customers about the importance of backup, recovery software, and the difference between backup and archiving.

Archiving provides long-term data retention period, whereas backup software produces a copy of data and keeps it available so that the Point-in-Time recovery can be returned as quickly and qualitatively as possible when needed.

While Office 365 provides deleted item recovery, its functions are limited. The native item-level recovery only protects businesses against deleting items such as emails and folders, but it does not allow recovery of corrupted data. Point-in-Time restoration is also out of the scope of the Office 365 Exchange service. In case your customers’ mailbox or SharePoint data is damaged because of unexpected breaches, they would not be able to recover the emails or mailbox to an earlier point in time.

When your customers recover from the Office 365 backup using Mitol, they will be presented by a navigable explorer screen so they can quickly retrieve the entire mailbox or specific items such as emails, contacts, calendars and SharePoint items from any point in time they were backed up. This is especially important because the whole value of data restore is to perform this in a timely manner according to their needs.

It is a misconception that once email data resides in the cloud there is no need to back it up. Organizations cannot risk all of their mailbox and SharePoint data being in the hands of one provider. In the event of Office 365 [service outage] delete service outage data loss caused by human errors or malicious activities, your customers are helpless in retrieving any of the business-critical mailbox or SharePoint data by using Office 365’s limited recovery functions.

With the Office 365 Exchange Online and SharePoint backup solution, Mitol gives your customers absolute peace of mind by ensuring the data integrity and security, as well as empowering them to take full control of their own mailbox and SharePoint data. Partnering with Mitol will enable your business to increase your data protection and recovery offerings, win new business and grow your MSP annuity revenues. Explore our Office365 backup to or call us to learn more!