Why You Should Back Up Microsoft 365
Before I was a consultant, I spent 20+ years managing all manner of technology groups and functions. Backup was always core to any system decision or implementation just like networking, security, or storage. Most of the time I made sure there was a backup plan before there was an implementation plan. While the technology and media may have changed (and yes, I’m looking at you, DDS-4…), backup was a common requirement that transitioned to virtual machines hosted on-premises in a colocation facility, and servers hosted on Infrastructure-As-A-Service (IaaS) virtualization services like Azure and AWS.
For whatever reason, though, this mindset didn’t seem to follow the data that moved to Software-As-A-Service (SaaS) platforms like Microsoft 365, Salesforce, or Google Workspace. Many organizations moved their data to these platforms and never gave backup a second thought (including yours truly, up until a few years ago). When you consider that the “crown jewels” of most organizations include their files and email, this is simply astonishing.
The reality is that many SaaS providers have fairly limited backup features embedded in their products, and those features are typically focused on short term retrieval of a small amount of data. You may argue that the extent of their infrastructure and internal redundancies make failures that cause data loss extremely rare, and that is true most of the time. However, to have full control of backups and be able to retain and restore backups in the various ways that organizational or compliance requirements dictate, you really do need a backup solution for your Microsoft 365 data. Microsoft 365 and other SaaS platforms typically offer APIs for data backup systems to connect to and use. Also, have a look at the terms of service you agreed to – they usually recommend that you use a third-party backup method. Listed below are some of the many reasons you need a backup solution.
Long-term Backup Retention
Robust Incident Recovery Capabilities
There are a large number of products on the market that can back up Microsoft 365 data. It is important to consider how the design, features, and cost of the platform you select will fit into your overall backup and recovery strategy.
Consider Your Requirements
In general, third-party backup systems make it easier to find and restore data than the native Microsoft 365 methods. Consider how that can be leveraged on a day-to-day basis. For example, it may allow you to have the service desk fulfill restore requests rather than senior engineers when someone accidentally loses a file.
Personally, I have seen third party cloud SaaS backup platforms save the day more than once. A couple of examples:
Neither of the situations above were overall business-threatening incidents, but they would have been costly. The point is that most of the time you will be using a SaaS backup to resolve common issues and help everyone save some angst, time, and money.
I always recommend to clients now that they include Microsoft 365 backup in their disaster recovery plans. It fills a gap and also provides another tool set for the technology team to be able to leverage for daily tasks at a fairly reasonable cost. (And it is most certainly better than DDS-4.)
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