Microsoft 365 backup

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What Is M365 Backup?

M365 backup—also known as Microsoft 365 backup—is a second copy of the data residing in the Microsoft 365 application. Made to protect against loss or theft, M365 data (and thus M365 backup data) includes Exchange Online, OneDrive, SharePoint Online, Teams, and Groups data.

Microsoft 365 backup should include the ability to recover the data, as this data is often mission critical and required to keep business processes running without disruption. Backup data from M365 can be stored on-premises or in the cloud.

Why Is M365 Backup Important?

As more businesses deploy Microsoft productivity applications online, IT teams must reimagine their data management and protection strategies. Although Microsoft 365 includes both native and add-on data protection solutions, most fail to deliver the enterprise-grade capabilities organizations now require to meet all of their goals—particularly granular recovery, short- and long-term data retention compliance requirements—as well as protection against human error, ransomware, and other threats.

A third-party M365 backup and recovery solution helps mitigate damage and recover quickly from M365 data-loss events. Such solutions are needed because the native recovery capabilities in Microsoft 365 Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive, Teams, and Groups are severely limited. The default data retention safeguards built into M365 have very short—less than a month—retention capabilities.

IT needs an M365 backup and recovery solution that minimizes the expense and time required to manage inactive data and mailboxes put on hold for litigation, mergers and acquisitions, and employee turnover.

Is Office 365 Different from Microsoft 365?

According to Microsoft, no. Office 365 is now Microsoft 365. What is different is that O365 was a cloud-based suite of productivity apps while M365 is a bundle of services that includes all of the same productivity apps plus Win 10 Enterprise and other services.

Does Office 365 Have Backups?

Microsoft 365, formerly Office 365, does have native backup capabilities but they are not robust enough to meet the needs of most enterprises. By default in Microsoft Exchange Online, a mailbox will only be kept for 30 days once it’s marked for deletion. SharePoint Online and OneDrive will also allow for deleted item-level recovery back to 93 days. With a legal hold, many items can be kept indefinitely, but there are some key considerations when using these settings. For example, the entire offering doesn’t have a recovery service-level agreement (SLA), so there is no guarantee of the timeframe in which recovery can occur regardless of the size of the dataset.

Do I Need to Back Up Microsoft 365?

Yes, you need to back up your M365 environment. After all, if you lost access to all the data in the business applications that your users routinely use—the Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets, and Outlook emails, among others—you’d lose, at the very least, a tremendous amount of employee productivity. Worst-case scenario, your business could cease to function. Therefore, backing up your entire M365 environment is critical.

Why you need to back up M365:

  • Protecting your online data is your responsibility: Cloud service providers like Microsoft focus on uptime and availability; however, as a customer you need to safeguard your own business data. The right modern backup and recovery solution will protect your data everywhere—both in the cloud and in your data center—with the option to be consumed as a service or deployed as software—all managed through a single user interface (UI)
  • M365 native tools for backup and recovery are limited: A modern backup platform or service with flexibility and simple processes for storing and retrieving data is needed to meet your compliance and business needs
  • Your workforce expects rapid recovery and back-to-normal operations if data is lost or compromised: You need a tightly integrated enterprise-class backup and recovery solution for Microsoft 365 to ensure that your IT team can restore granular data from user accounts quickly and recovery time objectives (RTOs) are met or even exceeded. The overarching goal is to provide an exceptional user experience that gets employees back to work fast
  • Productivity data has become a ransomware target: A recent Ponemon Institute report puts the average cost of a single ransomware attack at $5 million due primarily to productivity loss, systems downtime, and theft of information. A backup and recovery solution is required that ensures immutability of backup data and responds at scale to ransomware attacks—allowing you to quickly recover and restore data across your global data footprint—including from and to public clouds
  • You have more than just M365 data to protect: You have more remote and edge location data that also needs to have protection. And you still have some critical applications on-prem, whether VMware, Oracle, or others. What you need is a modern backup solution that can protect your on-prem and SaaS application data on a single platform, and manage everything through a single UI that protects and consolidates all of your data sources no matter what they are and where they are deployed

How Much Does It Cost to Back Up Microsoft 365?

Some M365 backup solutions charge by the user, either per month or per year. Others offer multi-year discounts, and enterprise plans are available for organizations that have a large number of accounts. Typically, these per-user plans cost between $20 and $30 per user per year. Some of these plans cover all M365 applications, but some only cover part of the M365 environment.

Other solutions, such as Cohesity, charge by consumption—by the storage volume used—independent of the number of users or applications. For large companies, this approach can be more economical—typically 50% less than per-user pricing—as leading vendors perform data deduplication and compression to keep storage volumes, and therefore costs, low.

Cohesity and M365 Backup

Because of the limited nature of native backup capabilities in M365, each enterprise needs to take responsibility for protecting its own M365 data. Cohesity’s comprehensive, enterprise-class backup and data management solution for Microsoft 365 is a simple and efficient way to protect M365, Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive, Teams, and Groups.

With Cohesity, M365 data can be backed up on-prem, in Microsoft Azure, or as a service with Cohesity’s Backup as a Service (BaaS) offering.

Why Cohesity?

  • It’s simple: Auto-discover and auto-protect your M365 data. Meet data retention and compliance requirements by auto-discovering and auto-protecting mailboxes, groups, files, and folders
  • It’s secure: Simplify e-discovery and fight back against cyberattacks with granular instant recovery and the ability to search for particular emails or files according to different metadata fields
  • It’s intelligent: Automate access recovery workflows in the context of mailboxes, files, and folders by indexing metadata to aid easy global search and rapid recovery from internal and external threats. Set and forget data retention rules by creating automated policies with specific SLAs, saving time while protecting ever-increasing amounts of M365 data
  • It’s flexible: Support flexible and expanded policies with a wide breadth of restore options for customized backup retention periods to meet unique business requirements
  • It’s efficient: Automatically protect new mailboxes, files, and folders added to an M365 user account
  • It’s extensible: Restore objects to their original location or to an alternative location—including the cloud—and gain a disaster recovery alternative for Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive, Teams, and Groups with native cloud integration


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