Backup Limitations – and Remediation Measures -- with Microsoft 365 Businesses Must Consider

December 08, 2022

By Saud Hasnain and Kirsten Mooklal

Our current experience with Microsoft 365 has been rocky. While there are times where things run smoothly, there are also unexpected crashes that can cause chaos. One benefit is being able to access it through a desktop application (if the application itself doesn’t work) that is fully managed on Microsoft 365’s own cloud infrastructure. A disadvantage that most businesses don’t consider is that there are multiple limitations around what is backed up with your Microsoft 365 subscription. These are just a couple examples of the benefits and disadvantages of Microsoft 365 that we have experienced with our clientele. As we dive further into backup limitations, you`ll see what components of Microsoft work for your business.

OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams Backup Limitations

OneDrive for Business is the tool primarily used to interact with your files; for example, opening, editing, and sharing when leveraging Microsoft 365. Inherently, data stored in OneDrive (or SharePoint/Teams) will provide version control, meaning as you go through and make changes, it will retain versions of the files. However, once a file is deleted, retention policies hit, and the data is fully purged and unrecoverable. A retention policy is a set of automated rules that helps administrators comply with the guidelines while managing corporate data – ultimately, with the goal of saving costs on storage. Many businesses need longer retention policies and more options to align with business requirements.

Exchange Online Backup Limitations

From our experience, almost all of our clients are leveraging Microsoft 365 as well as Outlook for their emails. The feedback we`ve gotten from our clients about Microsoft 365 has been that it is a reliable, scalable, and high-uptime solution, but there have been cases where we encountered some limitations with backups. The thing to consider is: What happens when a user deletes an email mistakenly, then needs to have it restored? Once the default deleted item retention period hits (14 days at a minimum and 30 days at maximum), the data is unrecoverable. There have also been noted incidents in which ransomware connects to a tenant to encrypt emails and send them to others within the company or their personal contacts.

Recommendations for Microsoft 365 Backups

When it comes to Microsoft 365 backup for businesses, there are multiple options to consider beyond what is offered by the manufacturer, most of which you would have at upon implementation Here is an implementation we use for our clients, we source a cloud-to-cloud backup which will protect ALL the data, (e-Mail, OneDrive, SharePoint and Teams). Every business has different goals for their backups and what they want to backup within their company. A cloud-to-cloud backup, also known as a C2C backup, it is simply the process in which data stored on one cloud service is copied over to another cloud service, where the second cloud service serves as a purpose-built off-site backup solution. One thing to also keep in mind is how many times this backup runs per day and the retention period to which backup data is kept. Backup solutions like this can be obtained from a number of vendors, and it is advised you discuss the various options with your IT professional.

EisnerAmper does not endorse any product or service or warrant that any products or services are appropriate for any particular business.

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