Microsoft 365 Backups: What Your Business Needs to Know

The recent rise in cyberattacks, including challenges like the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, has brought the need for extensive data backups into harsh relief in many businesses. Your business not only needs an effective data backup plan, but you also need to be sure that you understand it–and that you have an adequate backup for all of your data.

Microsoft 365 does offer some data backup options. However, it does not provide backups that cover every contingency–and you may be surprised by some of its limitations. As a business, it is ultimately your responsibility to be sure you have a robust data backup system in place that will help protect your business in the event of an emergency, a shutdown, or another challenge.

The Limitations of Microsoft 365 Backups

Microsoft 365 does have some data backup solutions built into its programs. It can help protect you if you lack access to a computer or server unexpectedly. However, it may not offer some of these key data backup solutions.

1. Microsoft 365 may not fully protect against user error.

When you restore a document from OneDrive–especially one used by multiple parties across your organization–it may only restore the latest version of that document. Unfortunately, if Document Versioning is not turned on, this may mean that you lose previous versions of the document completely if a user mistakenly saves over the existing document. In some cases, this could mean extreme data loss–or could prevent you from going back and looking at a previous version of a document to confirm specific information.

2. There are different retention policies for data depending on the specific platform used.

Microsoft 365 does have several strategies built in that help avoid user error and reduce the risk of deleting data. In Outlook and Exchange, deleted content is moved to a specific deleted folder, where it is retained for several days, depending on the settings instituted by your organization. In OneDrive and SharePoint, there are series of folders designed to protect against accidental document deletion. In general, items remain in the user’s Recycle Bin for up to 93 days or until they are deleted manually. They are then moved to a Site Collection Recycle Bin, where they may remain for up to 93 days. However, once that time is exceeded, it is impossible to restore that data.

3. Ransomware could impact your files before you have a chance to protect against it.

A ransomware attack that makes its way onto your network could quickly corrupt the latest versions of many of your files. Due to the limited protections offered by Microsoft 365, you may not have the capacity to go back to an earlier version of those documents and may, as a result, have a harder time restoring them in the event of an attack.

You Need Robust Backup Options to Protect Your Business

Data loss is a serious hazard for your business. When you lose data, you don’t just lose your immediate information. You also lose the time spent putting together the initial documents and information and the time needed to recollect that vital information. Furthermore, you may lose critical information that could help you convert customers or improve overall sales.

The better your data backup options, the smoother your restoration could be in the event of a disaster.

You need a third-party data backup solution.

While Microsoft 365 does offer limited data backup options, a third-party provider can help ensure that you are making the most of your data backups and help protect against accidental data loss. Your provider can help ensure that you have backups created on a regular basis, depending on the frequency that is best for your business, to help protect against lost time and keep your business working effectively even in the event of a disaster. Storing that data in a third-party cloud also ensures that if one piece of your data backup solution goes down, you will still have other measures in place to protect your data.

Regular testing is critical to the success of your data backups.

You don’t want to use just any data backup provider. You want to work with a dedicated IT team that understands the importance of data backups and protections–and that tests them regularly. If you don’t test your backups periodically, you may have no idea how well you’re working. Then, the first real test will come up in the middle of a disaster–and if something isn’t stored correctly or you’re missing a vital element of your backup protection, you may find yourself scrambling to deal with the impact of that loss.

A disaster recovery plan is essential to keeping your business functioning as well as possible in a disaster situation.

You can’t predict every disaster that your business may face. However, a dedicated IT team can help you understand the threats your business is most likely to face and help you create a plan that will allow you to address those challenges. Your disaster response plan will do far more than just telling you how or when to access your data backups. It can help you respond to a potential cyberattack, let you know who you need to notify in the event of a natural disaster that takes down your business, and provide you with a blueprint that will help get everything up and running again smoothly, regardless of the threat that may have hit your business. A dedicated IT team has dealt with many of those crises in the past and can help provide a template that will allow your business to better address those challenges.

At Virtual IT, we help our customers go beyond the basic data backups provided by Microsoft 365 to provide a deeper look at the data backup and disaster recovery solutions you need. Contact us today to learn more about our solutions and the benefits they can offer your business in any type of disaster, from employee error to cyberattacks that could shut down your network.

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