The business case for backing up your Office 365 data

Credit: Photo 125339980 © Blackboard373 -

The Cloud. Marketed by public cloud providers as an agile, cure-all for businesses wanting to streamline and secure their corporate data. Despite this, many Australian IT professionals spearheading the move to cloud-based infrastructure are doing so without fully understanding the potential risks.  

It is now more important than ever for business owners and IT decision makers to ensure they know the risks and liabilities associated with the storage and protection of their data. In a world where data is more valuable than oil, your back-up practices should be a priority for your business strategy.   

Take Microsoft for example. Historically businesses had little choice but to run Microsoft Office applications such as Exchange Server and SharePoint Server in their on-premise data centres. This method of data hosting required constant maintenance, costly infrastructure and hardware licenses, not to mention a laser-focused approach to the backup process.

Fast-forward a few years and Microsoft began integrating programs such as SharePoint and Exchange into Office 365, freeing users from patch management and software updates and providing them with a reliable platform that configures all Office 365 applications in one place. 

Companies migrated to this new solution in droves. But one of the unforeseen side-effects of this mass-move was that companies stopped backing up their data entirely. Whether due to the incorrect assumption that Microsoft was automatically backing up their data or back-up applications didn’t exist in Office 365, it is clear a lack of education put businesses at risk. 

Microsoft Office 365 owns the applications, but you own the data 

Some Office 365 users believe they’re not in the cloud. But when you ask where their data resides, they quickly realise their mistake. Microsoft provides the foundation infrastructure, but the protection of Office 365 data is actually left to the consumer. Microsoft owns the Office 365 applications, but legally, the user is the ultimate protector of that data.   

Credit: ID 148850057 © Phuttaphat Tipsana |

With this is mind, it is imperative for data back-up to be front of mind at all times, especially since not all Office 365 protective mechanisms ensure point in time recovery. If data is lost or cannot be found, it can spell disaster for a business, sparking a domino effect financially, as well as in cost to reputation. 

Recover in real-time, come back faster from disaster 

Point in time recovery is a central method where an administrator restores or recovers data or from a specific moment in the past. Backing up as you go means you can access this solution in the case of crisis, ensuring the safety of your intellectual property and digital infrastructure, and your organisation’s reputation.   As a rule, a company or organisation will often follow an in-house set of regulations or policies to maintain data for two years.  

Another way to protect your data is by utilising Office 365’s Soft Delete function, which recovers any file that may have been unintentionally – or event deliberately – deleted.  Office 365’s Soft Delete mechanism is known as File Restore and is a self-service, disaster-recovery solution. 

Although Office 365 offers the infrastructure to keep your data safe, ongoing education is needed maximise its offering whilst simultaneously complying with the law.  All Office 365 solutions generally come with an expiration date that all business owners must be aware of. File Restore expiration occurs 30 days from the date the file was deleted. So, imagine, you delete a critical file by mistake and can’t recover it a month later.  This could spell the end for any business, large or small!

So, if data is the currency you trade in, like most service industries, avoid the avoidable and make sure you back-up as you go.  You won’t regret it.

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