Why you need to backup your Office 365 data – BIT

The scalability and flexibility of cloud platforms and services has let to them becoming an important part of the IT infrastructure of many Australian organisations.

Used for everything from data storage and analysis to the provision of productivity suites, the cloud is now considered a reliable and secure business resource.

Unfortunately, this reliability can result in some organisations adopting a lax attitude when it comes to secure data backups. They have the mistaken view that data security is something handled by the cloud provider and that just being in the cloud means it is backed-up.

This incorrect view is a particular concern when it comes to cloud-based applications such as those in the Microsoft 365 suite like Excel, Teams, and OneDrive. In many organisations, this application suite has become a critical tool and is used to communicate and store important documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

Relying on Microsoft to ensure that this data is backed up and protected is a risky approach. The company’s backup services have a default retention period of just 30 days.

The rise of Teams

The COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden shift to working from home has shone a spotlight on the Microsoft 365 application Teams. Attention is now being drawn to the data it generates and the service it provides.

This is because organisations also need to protect Microsoft 365 groups and teams from cyber threats, meet strict SLAs for recovery times, and isolate data for legal requirements. But according to industry research, only a small portion of organisations are able to recover all the data they needed using Microsoft 365’s native backup capabilities. Specifically, there are three factors that need to be considered. They are:

  • Responsibilities: Although data is held on Microsoft servers, it is the customer organistions that remain responsible for protecting that data from accidental deletion or threats such as ransomware, phishing and viruses.
  • Retention and recovery periods: Deleted files and folders are recoverable for only 93 days in Microsoft 365, and some items such as groups are recoverable for just 30 days. This is not enough for any business and an alternative is required.
  • Integration with third parties: When multiple cloud platforms and services are used, employees store data not only in Microsoft solutions, but also in AWS and company-owned systems. These also need to be effectively backed up.

Backup as a Service

In an effort to overcome these challenges, increasing numbers of companies are deploying multiple data protection solutions. However, the various tools increase the effort required and backups can end up becoming much more labour-intensive.

For this reason, many organisations are turning to a backup-as-a-service option to improve their overall data protection position. These offerings are managed and maintained by the service provider, and offer a number of benefits including:

  • Reduced complexity: A single backup service for on-premise and cloud data sources and a unified user interface to manage SaaS and customer-owned environments reduces the burden on IT teams.
  • Rapid backups: Workloads are automatically discovered once a secure connection is established. Preset or custom policies are then applied to secure them.
  • Efficient bandwith use: Since only changed data blocks are transferred, this speeds backups to the cloud and data recovery from the cloud.
  • Better data security: This benefit is achieved with a snapshot in a physically separate location with flexible encryption management. All compliance requirements for data protection and security are ensured.

Taking advantage of a backup-on-demand service can deliver significant benefits to organisations of all sizes. They are able to take advantage of the growing number of cloud services while remaining confident that their important data is being constantly backed up and held securely.

It’s time to stop relying on cloud providers to ensure data backups and security. Entrust this vital task to a dedicated data protection company and avoid the costs and delays that data loss would cause.  

Derek Cowan is Director of Systems Engineering APAC at Cohesity.

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