Office 365 Backup Solutions

SaferTech Description: If you're looking for the backup option in Office 365 then good luck, because it doesn't exist. So do you need to bring your own backup then? Well, ask a roomful of supposed experts and some will say "yes" and some will say "no". So what's going on there? Are the pro-backup team living in the past? Are they trying to flog you a service that you don't actually need? Or have the anti-backup team been drinking so much Microsoft Kool-Aid that they've lost the ability to reason? Let's find out.

A compliance admin can go in and retrieve it. This is fairly effective at preventing data loss due to simple end-user mistakes, but it isn't perfect. It's major weakness is that it's not storing a separate copy of the data somewhere else - as you would with a backup. The retention copy is stored right in alongside the live data. Take a mailbox, for example. If you enable retention on a mailbox and the user tries to delete an email, all that really happens is that email gets put into a hidden folder. It's still in the mailbox. So if anything happens to that mailbox you lose the live data, and you lose the retention data too. The classic example, and one I've seen several times; is an administrator deleting and recreating a mailbox to try and fix an issue.
Welcome back to the Pro Tech Show, and Happy New Year! To decide if you need to back up Office 365 you need to consider what you'd use those backups for. I'm going to talk through five scenarios where traditionally you'd rely on a backup, and I'll tell you what Office 365 can and can't do about it. Then I'll tell you what I think the answer is; and finally I'll tell you what Microsoft's say the answer is. With all of that you should have all the information you need to make a good decision. If you already use Office 365, comment below the video and let me know if you back it up or not; and when you get to the end let me know if this video has confirmed or changed your opinion. Thinking about times you might rely on a backup, one of the first things to spring to mind is recovering from a physical failure or disaster. Now the good news is you've outsourced this problem to Microsoft. Worrying about infrastructure and facilities? That's their problem. They have service level agreements, and it's up to them to make sure they meet them. This isn't really something you need to worry too much about.
Another common reason people use backups is to revert the data back to a previous point in time. That could be to undo a mistake or just to see what a document looked like before some changes happened. Now looking at Office 365's options for SharePoint, you have version history. This is a lot more convenient - it's end-user accessible. With that enabled, every time you save a change to a document it records it as a separate version; and end-users can go in and browse through those versions and revert if they need to. There are some limitations. It only works for SharePoint, it only works if it's enabled for a document library, it can only hold so many versions, and it doesn't help at all if the file's been deleted. Remember it's end-user accessible, which means end-users can just go and delete the files or the versions. Now it's a useful feature that lets people roll back documents to previous versions or to see what changes have occurred; but it doesn't prevent data loss, and it's not a compliance solution. Now we're going to come back to that point later, but for now let's move on. By the way, if you're interested in this sort of content then don't forget to subscribe for future videos.

The third scenario is recovering from accidental loss of data. Typically something that's been deleted or overwritten. Now there are a couple of really useful in-built features that can help with this. Exchange's deleted item retention, and SharePoint's recycle bin are both good examples. They allow end- users to go in and undo deletions from the past. Now, I say the past... there is a limit.
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So they have to realise quickly enough. The limit varies between services, but as a guide you can undo a deletion from a couple of weeks ago, but not back several months. And that of course assumes no one's gone in and clicked the purge button. In addition to those user- facing undo features, as an admin you can go in and enable retention policies. These effectively prevent anyone from permanently deleting or overwriting data. Every time a change is made it stores it as a new version. So this fills in some of the gaps we mentioned with the version history in SharePoint. From an end-user's point of view it might look like they've deleted something, but really it's still there.
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