Office 365 Backup and Data Recovery

Microsoft Office 365 is, at present, the most common business productivity suite available, and it’s easy to see why; you can work online, share files, and work from home or mobile devices. But like on-site storage, you still need a solid backup and data recovery plan when using Office 365.

Migrating to the cloud offers many benefits for businesses and home users. Office 365 prides itself on enabling simple, dynamic workplaces for its customers, who receive all the capabilities offered by Microsoft Exchange, like OneDrive and SharePoint. With the benefit of multiple users being able to access data from multiple devices, with real time edits, Office 365 can boost productivity massively. But many businesses lack a backup and data recovery plan when using Office 365, mistakenly thinking they are covered. There is a widespread misconception that all data stored in the cloud is 100% safe, but the truth is, data loss is still possible. There are many reasons you could lose your data – human error, natural disasters and viruses to name a few.

It is important to mention that Office 365 does have built-in data protection capabilities; Microsoft Online Services’ service level agreement (SLA) has a 99.9% guaranteed uptime. However, this doesn’t mean businesses should have a backup and data recovery plan in place for all files stored on Office 365 – the built-in protection, while undeniable valuable, doesn’t stop data loss completely.  

If all of your data has been migrated over to Exchange Online – the hosted version of Microsoft’s Exchange Server – there are a few options for data recovery. In the mailbox, users can check the ‘Deleted Items’ folder for any deleted messages they want restored. This folder gives you the ability to restore messages that have fallen within the retention period, with the default being 14 days, although this can be extended to 30 days. If you’re using OneDrive for Business to store your files in, you’ll find deleted items in the Recycle Bin. Here, data recovery is basically the same as on a PC - you can select single or multiple files to restore to their original location.

All data stored in OneDrive for Business is surfaced through SharePoint online, and backups are made periodically by Microsoft every 12 hours; these backups are then retained for 14 days. You can initiate data recovery via a restore by phoning Microsoft’s support team, but only within the 14 day retention period. There are also third party backup and data recovery applications specifically for cloud storage solutions, including Spanning Backup, StorageCraft and Backupify.