Backup Office 365? Say What…?

I frequently ask my clients; do you truly have complete access and control of your Microsoft Office 365 data? The standard answer is the typical, “of course I do,” or “Microsoft takes care of that for me.” However, the reality is that Microsoft only protects the underlying infrastructure in Office 365, which means customers are still responsible for protecting their data.

To understand how this affects the organisation and the solutions available, we first need to understand what our responsibilities are. Below is an extract of the Office 365 Shared Responsibility Model.

Microsoft Office 365 eliminates the need to host your email, files and content management infrastructure; however, it doesn’t replace the need to have a backup of your business-critical data.

With Office 365, it’s your data — you control it — and it’s your responsibility to protect it.

Below we illustrate the six most common reasons WHY you should invest in an Office 365 Backup solution.

Most customers we talk to say “we have litigation hold so we will just enable that for our entire organisation, and we don’t need to worry about Backups”.

While in principle, this is correct; litigation is included in six Office 365 SKUs, and Microsoft currently offers unmetered data storage and retention, there are certain things organisations need to consider.

  • Litigation Hold migration involves putting a user’s entire mailbox on hold to retain it for legal review.
  • In-Place Hold migration involves putting a subset of a user’s entire mailbox on hold to retain only certain types of email.

The only difference between these two types of migration is the way you access the data.

Litigation Hold can be enabled to hold all items that are deleted or modified. In-Place Hold is set up like Litigation Hold but adds a filter query to only retain specific kinds of email. So, lets dive deeper on Litigation hold.

A litigation hold requires an organisation to preserve all data related to a legal action it is involved in. Microsoft Office 365 offers robust litigation hold functionality, but it is designed to protect user data for e-discovery purposes, not to restore lost or compromised data. It is a common misinterpretation that Office 365 litigation hold can serve as a replacement for backup. Litigation hold does keep a copy of your data; it should not be seen as an alternative to a backup strategy.

Here’s why: First and foremost, placing all your Office 365 data in litigation hold can create a significant problem if (or when) your organisation is subject to an e-discovery request. All your data would be discoverable rather than just the data related to the legal action; introducing potential liability.

That’s not all though—there are several more reasons Office 365 litigation hold should not be used as a backup.

  • Litigation hold does not store a copy of data in a second target.
  • Litigation hold is not designed to recover email.
  • Litigation Hold cannot be used to restore from ransomware efficiently.
  • It does not allow you to quickly or easily restore emails and documents to a different location, i.e. user when an employee leaves the organisation.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 eliminates the risk of losing access to your Office 365 data including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business and Microsoft Teams.  It ensures that you remain in complete control and that your data is always protected and accessible.

If you would like to know more information, please do not hesitate to drop me a message.

Kind Regards,
Chris Gecks


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