Are You at Risk for Data Loss in Office 365?

It’s easy to see why so many business are moving to the cloud – it’s secure, convenient and easy to set up. Moreover, it enables a workforce to move at light speed, collaborating across offices – even oceans – while reducing operational costs.

To support the business community’s growing appetite for the cloud, Microsoft has adopted a mobile-first, cloud-first mission. As Microsoft corporate Vice President Gurdeep Pall explained, “Workplace is a misnomer. Work is what you do; it’s not where you do it.”

Yet as more people access data from outside the office and across multiple devices, it is inevitable that the potential for SaaS data loss will increase dramatically.

Causes and prevalence of data loss in the cloud

Research suggests that 32% of companies have already experienced SaaS data loss in some form. While that may conjure images of hackers lurking in the shadows of the Internet, you may be surprised to learn the identity of the primary offenders when it comes to data loss: it’s actually you and your team.

As a matter of fact, over 70% of SaaS data loss is accidental – whether it’s down to files being mistakenly deleted (47%), accidentally overwritten (17%), or over-written by another application (7%).

While you still must be vigilant to prevent malicious threats, these statistics show us that just as much concern must be given to the eventuality that you’ll lose data because of user or admin error.

Is your data as secure as you think?

Many businesses assume, understandably, that any lost data will have been backed up by the SaaS platforms themselves. You may assume that if you delete a file from Office 365, Microsoft will be able to get it back for you, right? Well, that isn’t strictly true.

While Microsoft backs up Office 365 against any problems related to their own data centers, they don’t safeguard you against accidental data loss due to misconfigured retention tags or policies or due to user error. In simple terms, you probably won’t lose a file due to a Microsoft server crash – but if you delete that file by accident, you may never be able to get it back. Additionally, if the data is still available, putting it back into the Office 365 application, with the original attributes and full data fidelity, will most likely not be a trivial process.

And however careful you are, data loss does happen, as evidenced by this Office 365 Community Forum thread– whether it’s through accidental deletion, misconfgured retention settings, or unexpected issues when syncing between devices.

In Microsoft’s own terms and conditions, they say: “With Office 365, it’s your data. You own it. You control it. And it is yours to take with you if you decide to leave the service.”

The message is clear: it may be in the cloud, but it remains your data, and it’s your responsibility to ensure it’s adequately backed up.

The benefits of backup

SaaS application vendors are increasingly recommending the use of third-party backup solutions so that you never run the risk of losing critical data by accident.

Spanning’s cloud-to-cloud backup and restore solution accesses your data (with your permission, of course) and then copies it into our own secure cloud infrastructure for safekeeping. This happens automatically each day, as well as on-demand, whenever you choose. This means that you can easily find, access, and recover lost data from any point in time. Admins and end users alike can easily restore data and be back to work in a matter of clicks.

Don’t take a chance.

Office 365 is facilitating collaboration like never before, and it’s playing a key role in the growth of businesses all over the world. But it also comes with certain risks that need to be mitigated. Even though someone else is managing the physical infrastructure and the applications on which your production data resides, you still have to have a plan in place to ensure that data can be swiftly recovered in every scenario.

Take the first step toward putting that plan in place by taking a product tour of Spanning Backup, or learn more about the need for backup by downloading our free eBook, “Don’t Play Games with Your Data: Why You Need to Back Up Office 365.”


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