Four Key Facts about Office 365 and Sharepoint Backup

If you’re reading this, you’ve likely adopted or are thinking about migrating to Office 365 and SharePoint Online. As organizations across the globe migrate their Exchange, OneDrive and SharePoint workloads to the cloud, they’re discovering that they need to review and adapt IT processes to better align with changes in functionality, both positive and negative. This is particularly true when it comes to data protection.

We’d like to help ensure that you don’t suffer any data protection ‘gotchas’ once you’re up and running, so we’ve compiled four key facts about data protection for Office 365 and Sharepoint Online for you to consider. If you assume (like many of our customers) that Microsoft’s got your back with regard to data protection, you’re right, but there is only so much that they can or will do. Even Microsoft states: With Office 365, it’s your data. You own it. You control it.”  

So let’s talk about why.

Four Key Facts about Office 365 and Sharepoint Backup

With the move from on premises to the cloud, IT receives many benefits, ranging from reduced capital expenses for infrastructure and data center usage, to simplified deployment and management. With the shift to cloud, however, IT must also consider potential new or changing  responsibilities, such as data residency, data management and data protection.

“With organizations of all sizes moving to Office 365 at a rapid pace, it is critical that the same rigor for data protection that IT places on data center data is also applied to cloud-based data—and folks need to understand that most SaaS solutions don’t do protection, preservation or retention, just availability.” – Jason Buffington, Senior Analyst, ESG

Here are 4 key facts about data protection for Office 365 and SharePoint:

  1. Common causes of data loss are still risks in Office 365 and SharePoint Online
  2. You share responsibility for data protection in Office 365 and SharePoint Online
  3. Traditional methods of data protection don’t work with Office 365 and SharePoint Online
  4. Cloud-to-cloud backup is the best option for you to protect your data and be able to quickly recover

1. Common causes of data loss are still risks in Office 365 and SharePoint Online

If you look at the leading causes of data loss historically, you will find many that occur at the hands of humans, including user mistakes, administrative misconfigurations, malicious insiders and external threats. Currently Ransomware is the #1 cyber threat facing organizations of all sizes, and the threat grows every day. The FBI estimates that organizations are targeted an average of 4,000 times a day by ransomware and malware.  In all instances where data loss is caused by humans, you are responsible for recovering the data.  As described in the figure above, Microsoft’s primary data protection focuses on recovering from hardware or software failure and data center related issues like power outages and natural disasters. These do not fully mitigate the risks of human caused data loss, so you should plan and test how you will recover when a human-caused data loss event occurs.

2. You share responsibility for data protection in Office 365 and SharePoint Online

When you migrate your data to Office 365 and SharePoint Online, Microsoft is responsible for ensuring high availability and disaster recovery, but you are still ultimately responsible for your data. Compliance and legal professionals will also hold you responsible for managing your data, regardless of whether it’s on premises or in the cloud. Research firm Gartner agrees. In a recent report, they state: “Microsoft O365 offers robust disaster recovery, but limited native backup and recovery. I&O leaders using or evaluating O365 should consider investing in third-party backup and recovery tools for faster, more-flexible recovery options, as well as reputation damage control after a malicious attack.”

3. Traditional methods of data protection don’t work with Office 365 and SharePoint Online

When you move to Office 365 and SharePoint Online, data protection is an entirely different animal. You no longer have access to back up the server and its files or the databases directly – access to the data is only available through Microsoft’s APIs, or Application Programming Interface. The methods of extracting, moving, storing and restoring the data in a cloud environment is completely different from those used by legacy backup vendors – which is why it’s essential that your backup vendor has expertise in SaaS backup.  We also often find that the people in an organization who are traditionally responsible for data protection changes when workloads move to the cloud.  Who is responsible for Office 365 and SharePoint backup and restore?  The “backup admin” or the application owners?

4. Cloud-to-cloud backup is the best option for you to protect your data and be able to quickly recover

A multi-layered data protection strategy that keeps your data safe and helps meet compliance regulations must be put in place once you migrate to Office 365 and SharePoint Online. As stated in a Forrester Research report, “Cloud-To-cloud backup is the only practical option for SaaS data protection.”

Your organization made a specific decision to leverage the benefits of the cloud by moving to Office 365 and SharePoint Online, why would you make a different decision for SaaS backup and recovery, when leading solutions, like Spanning, offer a cloud-to-cloud service that installs in minutes, automatically scales and up scales down, and requires no hardware, software or ongoing maintenance?

Start with cloud-to-cloud data backup and data restore functionality. Here’s some criteria on which to base your search:

  • Secure:  At a minimum, the vendor should have a SSAE SOC 2 Type II certification. You should also ask about relevant industry or region specific compliance like HIPAA, FERPA or APP (Australian Privacy Principles).
  • Comprehensive: The vendor should provide automatic, daily, as well as manual backup of critical Office 365 and SharePoint Online data. It should allow for point-in-time, granular data recovery.
  • Easy:  Your backup solution should be intuitive, easy to use and integrate easily with Office 365 and SharePoint Online. Look for a cloud-to-cloud solution that requires  little to no training, empowers end users to correct their own mistakes and requires very little effort to install, manage and maintain.

Next Steps

Wherever you are in your adoption or migration process, review your data security processes and capabilities and your organization’s regulations to ensure you will be compliant. If you have any questions about Office 365 and SharePoint backup and restore, contact us. One of our technical specialists would be happy to answer any questions you have and set up a live demo.

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