Knowledge base

December 20, 2022

Is it necessary to back up Microsoft 365 data?

The flexible and collaborative nature of SaaS tools such as Microsoft 365 (formerly Microsoft Office 365) benefits businesses of all shapes and sizes.

Recent revenue items from Microsoft show overall revenue growth, due to the relative strength of cloud services revenue driven by Microsoft 365. The number of users rose during the pandemic as employees, suddenly working from home, increasingly turned to online tools to conduct business. Microsoft Teams alone is up to more than 270 million users by 2022 compared to 145 million in 2021.

It should be crystal clear that backing up Microsoft 365 data is a necessity, but many organizations are under the impression that it is not. Why? Some companies may assume that Microsoft already provides backups for you, but that is not the case. The truth is that Microsoft only protects data availability, which means their focus is on preventing service interruption.

The official view is that Microsoft operates under a“shared responsibility model” in which information and data recovery are entirely the responsibility of the customer. In short, they take responsibility for the security and infrastructure of their data centers, but users are required to protect their own data.

Distribution of responsibilities

Perhaps unknown to many – Microsoft goes so far as to recommend that you“regularly back up your content and data” using “third-party apps,” via their Microsoft Services Agreement document.


What incidents can cause data loss?


Failures are certainly not unheard of. There is even a Microsoft Twitter account for checking the status of Microsoft 365 and recent service incidents. If disruptions were to occur that would result in data loss, Microsoft has made it clear that they are not responsible and that you may not be able to recover that data if a backup is not ready.


For example, imagine an employee quits and you don’t want to keep their Microsoft 365 subscription (a recurring expense). Deleting a 365 account results in the deletion of all data on that account. Is there a guarantee that you won’t need that data later? Account deletion can also occur as a result of simple human error. In either case, Microsoft’ s data retention policy (usually 30 days) may not be adequate for your personal or legal, regulatory requirements.


Accidental deletion is a common problem. Good data is sometimes overwritten with bad data and other human errors are seen as intentional actions by the system. In addition to the unintended loss of data, there is also the potential for malicious behavior internally, such as from a departing disgruntled employee. Since employees already have access to data, the best way is to mitigate damage as quickly as possible. Because once data is deleted from a second-stage recycle garbage can, that data is permanently gone. Without a recoverable backup, the organization remains without recourse.


Hackers have developed efficient methods to breach defenses using methods such as phishing and other forms of social engineering, making employee training increasingly important. It also goes without saying that Ransomware and other modern cyber threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated in accessing and separating users from their data. Microsoft offers layered defenses against malware and ransomware encryption, although it is unclear whether future forms of attacks could target Microsoft 365 data or find new ways to access, steal and leak sensitive data.

Ensuring that security measures including Multi-Factor Authentication, the use of strong passwords and well-managed access rights will go a long way in preventing data breaches and losses. Still, data loss must be prepared.

ALTA-ICT offers Backup from A SaaS application to secure Microsoft 365 data, including Mail, Calendars, Contacts, Tasks, Groups, Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint and more. This technology option provides a simple and powerful way to automatically protect and restore your critical data in the cloud on demand. We invite you to learn more on our SaaS Application Backup page and discuss your unique environment with our backup experts. Contact our data protection team today.

Source: novabackup

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