Microsoft Office 365 backup best practices

Microsoft is a global software giant. It provides the software many companies use daily. Their main priority is to keep the continuity of the provided services. But despite that, there is still a possibility of data loss, due to countless reasons. That’s one of the causes you might consider protecting your data in Office 365, and one of the best ways to make sure your data is secure is to perform an Office 365 backup. In this article, we will talk about a few of the best practices when it comes to it.

Why Microsoft protection is insufficient

Let’s talk about what measures Microsoft provides to ensure your data safety, and how it works. Office 365 backup policies define where Microsoft’s responsibilities regarding data protection and backup ends, and where yours begins.

Microsoft is responsible for protecting your data in case of:

  • hardware failure
  • server-side software failure
  • datacenter power outage 
  • natural disasters

Microsoft 365 backup best practices

The list of things Microsoft is responsible for is pretty short. Thus it doesn’t protect your data well enough to ensure your business continuity in case of disaster. Responsibility for protecting data used in Office 365 in other disastrous cases lies on the user’s side. And the best way to make sure your data is safe is to back it up.

Protect Microsoft 365 apps

But what data do you need to back up if you want to ensure your organization’s work won’t stutter in case of disaster? 

Well, probably the first thing you need to back up is a place where you store all of the Office 365 data – OneDrive. OneDrive for Business is a service providing cloud storage for your company, and as such, backing it up will probably require the most amount of storage. Microsoft provides native features that can increase the safety of your data. You can read more about using Microsoft 365 One Drive here.

Another Microsoft 365 service you need to back up is email services – Outlook Online/Exchange Online. Probably all of your work communication goes through them, and you probably want to ensure the safety of the information stored there. 

If your company uses SharePoint, you might consider backing up that service too. You can read more about SharePoint, and other Microsoft services in our overview of Microsoft Office 365 applications

After you have decided which applications you want to protect, we need to consider a few of the best practices for backing them up.

The 3-2-1 rule

The first one of those is the 3-2-1 rule. The 3-2-1 backup rule says that you should always have three copies of your data, in two different locations, with one of those locations being stored offsite. For example, your first copy would be stored on your company’s work server, the second one you store on the NAS storage located in your office, and the third copy is located outside your office, for example in the cloud storage. 

The main premise of that rule is to ensure the safety of your data in case of any disaster. If somehow one or even two copies get corrupted, you always have the third one to recover your data from. And if something happens to your storage – it breaks or even gets destroyed (for example in a fire that started at your company’s office) you have the other storage offsite, where your data is securely stored.  

You should also avoid storing two copies in the same cloud, as Microsoft 365 offers cloud storage – OneDrive, it would be tempting to store two copies there. Instead, you should consider storing Office 365 backups on other cloud storages (like Azure or AWS) or local storage. 

Know the amount of data to be backed up

To choose the type of storage where you want to keep your backups, you need to determine the amount of data you need to protect. To help you do that, Microsoft provides a few monitoring options like app usage reports, allowing you to identify how active are your Office 365 users, and how much storage space in the cloud they use. To help you estimate the amount of storage required, you can find how much space is occupied by your users, for example, every week. And using that information you can roughly calculate how much space you need for daily, weekly, monthly backups. 

Create backups regularly

We create backups to protect the data from a disaster that can strike. But we don’t know when the disaster could occur. That’s why you need to backup your Office 365 data regularly. You can create plans that differ among the users. For example, if few users in your organization use Office 365 very intensively, creating new documents, working on databases you might consider backing their data every day. But if users don’t make many changes in the files, you would back their data every week, or even every month. A good practice is to create backups of your users’ mailboxes on a daily basis.

Set up retention policies

You might be wondering for how long you need to keep the backup copies. That may vary depending on the legal compliance or your company policies. To determine for how long you want, or need to, keep the files you can set up retention policies. For example, Microsoft retention policies stand that your deleted files are stored for 93 days in the recycle bin, and that is their longest retention period, in many applications this time is shorter. Due to this short retention period, you might want to consider setting longer retention periods for your backups, using the external backup solution. 

Set file versioning

If your users are working on the files, and you want to keep the previous versions of those files, you might want to enable versioning. The native Office 365 features can help you recover corrupted files, but their abilities are limited, and if you want to recover the file after creating unwanted changes, you might encounter some problems. Even though keeping more versions of the files requires you to have additional storage, it’s still a good thing to have previous versions of the files in case something goes wrong.

Xopero ONE for Microsoft 365 backup has it all

Xopero One is a backup solution allowing you to perform the Microsoft 365 backup the way you want. It allows you to set up everything we talked about in this article. Create the backup plan that fits your need perfectly, with ease, start it, and don’t worry about the security of your Office 365 data anymore, we got it. Start your free 30 days trial now!

Xopero offers you:

  • Backup on-premise or in the cloud – You can choose where to store your copies, on your local machine, on your NAS device, or in the cloud AWS or Azure, it’s your choice!
  • Unlimited data retention – Store your data as long as you need, you set up how long you want to keep it.
  • Granular recovery – Take advantage of the fast, point-in-time recovery of only the files you want to recover – any folder, any files, any mailboxes, or even particular emails.
  • Central, user-friendly management #1 – simple, the most intuitive central management web console. Thanks to the most user-friendly interface, setting up efficient backup and recovering data are the simplest ever. 
  • Automatic backup – Define whether the backup should be made once, or automatically at a specified frequency. Set it up once, and forget about it – it will work as you set it.
  • Encrypted backup your data is always encrypted, choose a preferred encryption algorithm and length of the encryption key to make sure nobody, except you, can decrypt your information.
  • and many more…