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Data in the cloud is not enough

In my various and exciting missions at Sparx Solutions, I was recently dealing with a newly acquired client who at first didn’t see the benefits or even the need of a backup for his company, since they have been using office 365 for a while for all their communication and data business activities. During our conversation, I realised that the main reasoning behind this stemmed from the misunderstanding between Microsoft’s perceived responsibility and the user’s actual responsibility for the long-term protection and retention of their Office 365 data.

SaaS productivity apps like Microsoft Office 365, I must admit, make sense in today’s mobile world (well, not so mobile at the moment) as they have the obvious benefits of easy document access & collaboration from anywhere with an internet connection and any device, and to some extent, offers a sense of data security.

If so far, you are in line with this client, I can (yes really I can) hear you ask: “why do I need an Office 365 backup?” Well, keep on reading…

Many organisations believe that switching to Office 365 means that a backup is no longer necessary. According to a 2019 Enterprise Strategy Group report, one in four businesses don’t think they need to back up Office 365.

Figure 1. One in four companies does not protect Office 365 Data (Source: ESG Master Survey Results, 2019 Cloud Data Protection Strategies)

You should be aware that Microsoft does not guarantee complete and/or rapid recovery of deleted or corrupted Office 365 data. In short, Microsoft is careful not to lose your data, but, the company makes no guarantees regarding its recovery as Office 365 really offers Geo-redundancy which is not to be confused with backup (access to historical data).

In short, Microsoft provides:

  • Protection against loss of service due to hardware failure or natural disaster
  • Short-term protection against user and administrator errors (trash, reversible deletion)

You must still protect yourself against data loss due to:

  •   Accidental deletion
  •   Hackers, ransomware and other malware
  •    Insider Malicious Acts

There is the risk of unintentional modification or data corruption. If a file on your device is modified, this modification is immediately transmitted to OneDrive via your network connection, and if your file is accidentally corrupted or maliciously encrypted, OneDrive will still save this change. The synchronized copy of the file in OneDrive will therefore be corrupted or encrypted.

According to its Service Agreement, Microsoft recommends a third-party backup in the Service Availability section. Since Microsoft OneDrive stores a copy of a user’s files in the Microsoft cloud, many people think that this is a replacement for a backup. However, using OneDrive as a backup can and will eventually result in data loss.

Third-party backup in Office 365 is the best way to protect against accidental or malicious file deletion, other user errors, ransomware, and data corruption. These solutions store backups independently of Microsoft servers and allow granular restores of Office 365 files, folders, and applications. They ensure that you can quickly restore and meet data retention requirements for Office 365 data as well as ensuring compliance in many instances.

However, not all Office 365 backup tools are created equally. In fact, many do not offer protection for the full range of Office 365. For example, many lack support for Microsoft Teams. Others do not offer granular restoration or unlimited storage. So when choosing a backup product for Office 365, make sure it meets your data protection requirements.

At Sparx Solutions, we recommend SAAS from DATTO to our managed services’ clients. It offers an efficient and simple solution for those using Office 365 suite of products, including Teams, OneDrive, Exchange, SharePoint, Planner and Skype for Business is, and above all at a very affordable price without hardware investment.

So don’t delay until it is too late and speak to your MSP or contact us at Sparx Solutions to see how we can easily help you secure and manage your data.

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