7 Reasons to Ensure Your Office 365 Data Is Backed Up

Jennifer Gibson-Kautz

If there is anything that the year 2020 has taught us, it’s to be prepared. Whether we stocked up on paper towels or built the bunker to hold our gallons of hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes, we have all learned that things happen, and we need to be ready for them.

Recently, I had the privilege of listening to my colleague Penny Conway interview Jason Buffington, the Vice President of Solutions Strategy at Veeam. His focus is on developing and accelerating “better together” customer outcomes through Veeam’s strategic alliance partners, like Connection.

Jason was joined by Franklin Nsude, a Senior Microsoft Cloud Solutions Architect at Connection. Their discussion was candid, as they really spoke to the common denominator of IT security and data archiving in everyday business life. They gave the listener clear answers to why Microsoft Azure and Veeam should be part of a data protection strategy.

One thing I learned that really struck me is that the number of Microsoft 365 / Office 365 users who are not backing up their data is staggering. Surprisingly, 76% don’t even realize they have to—or at least, that they should.1 That means, given the roughly 650,000 U.S.-based companies who are using Office 365, over 400,000 do not realize that backing up their Office 365 data is critical. Not only that, but 44% of companies have already experienced downtime that has damaged their brand—and their integrity!

That’s why I’ve put together seven critical reasons an Office 365 environment needs to be backed up:

  1. Accidental deletion and other user errors
  2. Retention policy gaps and confusion
  3. Internal security threats
  4. External security threats
  5. Legal and compliance requirements
  6. Managing Office 365 migration; hybrid email deployments
  7. Securing your Teams data structure

We have all have been in the position of accidentally deleting files, emails, or presentations and have called IT to negotiate a detailed “data safari mission” to get those lost files back. The need for companies to adhere to legal requirements and compliance laws and retention rules can quickly become overwhelming. How does all of this data get managed, saved, and restored?

Mitigating Internal Threats

Of all of the reasons for backing up your Office 365 environment, there are a couple to point out that should be paramount to this solution. The first is managing internal security threats. Some companies have experienced employees attempting to delete incriminating information or adjusting files, but there are other dangers that come from within. Recently, a former Cisco engineer was sentenced to 24 months in prison for accessing Cisco’s network without authorization and destroying servers that hosted 16,000 Webex accounts. This could have happened to any company who had an employee with authorization to access virtual and on-premises servers. That employee connects to the infrastructure undetected, and it could be days or weeks before the damage is uncovered.

Migrating to Office 365 for Increased Security

With so many requirements for security, compliance, and massive data storage needs, many companies are opting to adopt Office 365. The transition to the new platform does require some time to move from an on-premises Exchange to Office 365 Exchange online. There may be a need to leave a portion of the on-premises system in place, and that would require flexibility and control of both environments. With an Office 365 backup solution, they could handle all email requirements for the on-premises environment as well as for the new cloud instance. The right process would also treat all Exchange data the same, regardless of its source. The Veeam backup solution, as Jason explained, allows you to store in Azure Blob, with a Managed Service Provider, or any other object storage.

Keeping Up with Compliance Regulations

As I was having coffee this morning, I read that multiple companies and offices that have to adhere to compliance, legal regulations, and security were victims of a major hack. It turns out that hackers from a foreign government were able to breach a software provider and deploy malware to infect the networks of some U.S. companies, as well as several U.S. government agencies. At this point, there are upwards of 18,000 customers affected by this. Hopefully those agencies have a backup solution for their Office 365 data!

Every Team Needs a Reliable Backup

The other aspect of the need for a solid backup is Teams. The number of people actively using Teams has now surged to 115M per day. Teams far outpaces other platforms, not only in its communication ability, but also in its collaboration. My coworkers and I use Teams for practically all of our communication needs now that we’re working remote. And just from my own usage, the amount of files, chats, calls, and presentations getting to the company Teams environment has to be pretty big. I’m just a tiny player in the Teams playground—and that data needs to get backed up.

Veeam just launched a new backup and recovery for Teams called Veeam Explorer for Microsoft Teams, V5. It includes restoring Teams channels, settings, permissions apps, and tabs. There are advanced search abilities that are baked into the new release. One of the new tools is a restoration of data and components that includes 17 parameters for posts, files, and more. Those who utilize eDiscovery will find this to be a gamechanger! It is intensive, in that you can choose restore your entire organization’s channels or pick out just one file. Veeam is all about performance; this new V5 release runs even faster and has better scalability.

Hearing what Franklin faces every day with our customers and what Jason described as a means to solve so many customers’ challenges makes me think that putting Veeam to work to back up Office 365 just makes good sense. I recommend listening to the podcast to learn more!

1Veeam customer survey, 2019.

Jennifer writes about her experience in customer service and software licensing. She is also a Microsoft Certified Professional. In her free time, Jennifer raises chicken and ducks for egg production and enjoys traveling.