Top-5 Office 365 Backup Mistakes to Watch Out For

Your business has taken the leap! You have migrated your business-critical data to the Office 365 cloud. You are now reaping the benefits of greatly increased productivity and collaboration capabilities that exist in Office 365. Your employees are able to work more efficiently with fewer roadblocks to accessing business resources and collaborating.

Now that your data is in the Office 365 cloud, how do you protect it? Most businesses, no doubt including your own, realize the importance of backing up their data. This is true even when data is migrated to Office 365. However, there are pitfalls to avoid when it comes to backing up your Office 365 data. What are some common Office 365 backup mistakes that are often made? How can you backup your Office 365 environment effectively?

Office 365 Backup Mistakes to Avoid

When it comes to making sure your data is safe, backups are the basic element of effective data protection. This is true whether your data is on-premises or in the cloud. While backups are critically important, there are certainly mistakes that can be made regarding protecting your data effectively. What are those? Let’s consider the following Office 365 backup mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Considering backups unnecessary in Office 365

2. Relying solely on native Office 365 tools

3. Storing backup data with production data

4. Not giving attention to backup security

5. Failing to protect all Office 365 applications

Considering Backups Unnecessary in Office 365

There has long been a misconception that cloud environments are indestructible and immune to data loss. While much education has been done to help circumvent this myth by backup vendors and others, there can still be erroneous ideas that data in the cloud cannot be lost.

This misconception largely stems from confusing the resilience provided by public cloud vendors with the idea that your data is automatically protected or backed up in some way. However, the resilience of the underlying infrastructure does not protect your data. What can cause data loss in Office 365?

Potential data loss in Office 365 can be the result of many different causes. This includes ransomware or even end user actions. Ransomware can infect OneDrive storage by means of file synchronization. Your business may configure file synchronization for OneDrive locations so file changes made on-premises are synchronized to the cloud.

Ransomware that encrypts files on a local workstation on-premises will generally include folders synchronized to OneDrive. Once the local OneDrive files are encrypted, this triggers a synchronization of the now encrypted files to OneDrive cloud storage. Once synchronization completes, any user who has access to the cloud storage location will only see the encrypted version of the file. This helps to illustrate that even though there may be no issues with the cloud infrastructure, your data can be damaged.

Another example of data loss can happen at the hands of end-users. A user may accidentally delete an extremely important folder in the department’s OneDrive account. Again, the infrastructure is fine, but the data is not.

Lastly, it is seemingly rare, but cloud providers do suffer issues that result in the loss of data. Take for instance Amazon’s data loss event over the Labor Day weekend in 2019. Over 1TB of customer data was lost without the ability to be recovered from Amazon.

Relying Solely on Office 365 Tools

Some who have migrated their business data to Office 365 may be relying on native Office 365 tools for backup. However, there are a number of reasons that solely relying on native Office 365 tools for backup can be a mistake. Your business may have started using the File Restores option in Office 365, retention policies, or in-place holds as a means to “backup” your data.

Out of the three listed, only Files Restore capability in Office 365 is truly touted as a data recovery mechanism. Retention policies and legal holds functionality are not intended as a way to create backups but are sometimes used in this way as a pseudo backup mechanism. It is important to note, retention policies and in-place holds are not supported for use as a backup tool and recovery is also very cumbersome.

Files Restore has matured as a built-in feature and Microsoft has added additional services to its protection scope, however, it has a glaring limitation that you want to be aware of. It is only capable of restoring a file with versions that are within 30 days old. If files are not discovered as affected or lost within a 30-day window, they will be lost forever. Currently, there is no way to adjust your retention past the 30-day limitation.

Storing Backup Data with Production Data

Separating your backup data from production data is an essential part of data backup best practices. Why? You do not want to have all your “eggs in one basket”. If your backups are stored in the same location as your production data, there is a good chance if a disaster affects production, it will also affect your backups.

How does this apply to the Office 365 cloud? If you are using a third-party backup solution for Office 365, does it have the option to store your backup data outside of Microsoft’s public cloud infrastructure? It is quite common to see cloud-to-cloud backup vendors backing up Office 365 data to Microsoft’s public cloud without any option to change this.

This is certainly an Office 365 backup mistake to avoid. Look for a backup solution that allows additional storage options for storing your backup data in a completely separate public cloud environment.

Not Giving Attention to Backup Security

Security has become the focus of virtually every area of business operation today. This should include backups. It is important to remember that backup data is production data. When backups of production data are taken, they are essentially copies of your production data at a specific point in time. If backups are not secured properly, sensitive production data may be exposed.

Use an Office 365 backup solution that makes use of both in-flight and at-rest encryption of your data. This makes sure your data is encrypted as it is transmitted across the network and when it is stored on disk. This makes it extremely unlikely your production data stored in backups will be compromised.

Failing to Protect All Office 365 Applications

If your business uses Office 365 Exchange email, OneDrive, and SharePoint, make sure you backup those applications. It is a huge Office 365 backup mistake to leave any business-critical application and data used by your business unprotected. If you choose a cloud-to-cloud Office 365 backup solution, make sure it can backup the applications your business uses in Office 365.

SpinOne – Office 365 Backups and Security You Can Trust

Many common Office 365 backup mistakes relate to the capabilities or lack of capabilities of the backup solution being used. Choosing a capable, fully-featured, and secure backup solution for Office 365 is key to avoiding the pitfalls of data loss in Office 365.

SpinOne provides a unique solution among other backup solutions for your Office 365 environment. It combines enterprise backups with a robust cybersecurity platform that not only backs up your data, but also protects it. Threats such as ransomware commonly target enterprise environments storing data in the cloud.

SpinOne protects your data in the cloud from the plague of ransomware using powerful machine learning that looks for and automatically remediates infections. This combined set of tools provided by SpinOne is a unique approach that helps to ensure your data is safe in the Office 365 cloud.

SpinOne performs backups of Exchange Online, Calendar, Contacts, SharePoint, and Office 365 for OneDrive backup. It also provides the ability to store your backup data in multiple public cloud storage locations including Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. This means you have complete control of your Office 365 backup storage location. This allows you to align with backup best practices and meet the requirements of your cloud business strategy.

SpinOne backup features:

Feature Benefit
Choose multiple cloud vendors Allows storing backup data in a different location than production data
Automatic backups Automatically backup Office 365 using SpinOne’s automated process – 1-3x daily
Incremental backups SpinOne saves on backup time windows using incremental data transfers
File versioning Keeps multiple versions of your files so you can choose which version to recover
Up to unlimited retention You decide on your file retention policy up to unlimited retention
In-flight and at-rest encryption AES 256-bit encryption is used in-flight and at-rest

In addition to the backup functionality provided by SpinOne for your Office 365 environment, look for new SpinOne cybersecurity features on the roadmap soon. These will no doubt include many of the current cybersecurity features contained in SpinOne’s G Suite solution. These include the following:

  • Ransomware Protection
  • Third-party App Protection
  • Insider Threat Protection
  • …and more

Data is at the heart of your business, whether it is on-premises or in the cloud. As you move your business-critical data to the Office 365 cloud, choosing a backup solution like SpinOne allows you to properly protect your data and secure it. It helps to prevent common Office 365 backup mistakes by providing the tools and capabilities needed. Using SpinOne, you can confidently use the cloud without the worry of data loss, data leak, or cybersecurity concerns.

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