Essential Office 365 Backup Best Practices Explained With Ease

Office 365 Backup Best Practices That You Should Follow in 2022.png

author
Published By Mohit Jha
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On October 30th, 2023
Reading Time 10 Minutes Reading
Category Office 365

Overview: Why is it necessary to take the Office 365 backup best practices into account? How does it help me and my company? And what steps one needs to take both as individual and as an organization to implement these practices. If your curious mind needs the answers to questions like these then stay tuned with this informative guide till the end.

Microsoft Office 365 is a well-known cloud platform-based business productivity suite used by millions of users across the world for daily collaboration and communication. So, you can say that the data created and shared through Office 365 is more crucial than ever. And, at the rate at which the ransomware attacks are spiking, sooner or later, the cybercriminals are not going to spare this popular cloud platform. Sounds alarming, right?

Thus, why wait for the disaster to happen, and why not take precautions beforehand? The sooner you realize the importance of Office 365 data backup, the better. Hence, to be on the safer side, it’s better to follow Office 365 backup best practices and safeguard your organizational data.

Let’s start our discussion with why backup Office 365 in the first place.

Know The Significance of Creating an Office 365 Data Backup Strategy

Not one, but there are various reasons for considering regular Office 365 data backup. Such as,

  1. Suppose an IT contractor knowingly deletes Office 365 user accounts. While trying to recover the compromised accounts, it may create a business halt for several days. (if the damage is enormous). 

As a result, apart from the data loss, you may have to bear the cost of financial impact, regulatory fines, litigation expenses, security expenses, PR expenses, stock value loss, brand value loss, reputational damage, and customer turnover. Collectively, the cost would add up to millions of dollars.

Thus, unfortunately, if you face such a situation, you can easily mitigate the aftereffect provided your Office 365 data is backed up.

  1. Accidental deletion of data can happen due to human error. So, if you have a copy of your important Office 365 emails & other information. Then, you can easily overcome accidental data loss situations.
  2. As many of you know, Microsoft works on a shared responsibility model. As per the model, the tech giant takes responsibility for data replication only. And, saving copies of your Office 365 data at different locations, it’s on your shoulders.

Above all, the growing number of Ransomware attacks through emails is what makes it absolutely necessary to take a backup of your Office 365 mailbox data.

Hence, it is advised to take a holistic approach and start acting on the Office 365 backup best practices. But, what are they?

Let’s find out!

Also Read: How to Get Rid of Office 365 eDiscovery Search Limitations Quickly?

If you know the right pillars of Office 365 backup practices, then undoubtedly you can produce good outcomes.

To begin with, there are 9 core points you should consider. Let’s elaborate on the same one at a time.

1. Educate Your Employees

Letting your staff know about the importance of data backup is the 1st and most important point of Office 365 backup best practices.

In an organization, Office 365 data is accessible to a large number of employees. Since they can access their data from anywhere and on any device, it broadens the risk of security breaches. Further, regarding MS Office 365, and data protection, employees are the security assets of an organization.  So, conduct regular training programs and convey to them the importance of data backup.

Hence, it is crucial to educate your users on best practices for data protection and backup. Encourage them to save critical files in Office 365 applications and folders that are included in the backup scope. Furthermore, you also have to observe whether they have implemented the practices or not. And, make sure all the employees are on the same page and follow the provided guidelines related to the best way to backup Office 365 data.

2. Determine The Data That Needs to be Backed up

Office 365 facilitates a data monitoring feature, you can utilize it and easily verify the active users. After that, identify what data is necessary and required to be saved. It will be easier for you to decide and take a backup of the essential files only.

Also Read: Make an Active Directory Migration Checklist & Overcome Migration Challenges

3. Deploy the 3-2-1 Strategy

Last, but not least, it’s one of the most important parts of Microsoft 365 backup best practices. And, often ignored. The strategy suggests you should have at least 3 copies of data saved in 2 different locations, with 1 of them stored offline.

To elaborate on the same, let’s take an instance. 

Suppose you have an important meeting for which you have prepared a presentation. So, to safe keep this data you can store it in 3 different locations. Such as 1st copy of it on the server, 2nd on your office computer, and 3rd copy saved on your personal local disk.

4. Maintain Overall Security of Data

If you read the shared responsibility model of Microsoft carefully, then it states that the tech giant is partially responsible for client and endpoint protection. So, think clearly and secure your data using the in-house Microsoft 365 Defender, multifactor authentication, etc, like security precautions.

Or, you can take a backup of your entire data using trustworthy software, save them locally, and also secure them. In this way, you will hit two targets with one arrow.

Now, let’s move toward the next aspect of Office 365 backup best practices.

5. Protect Data Through Backup; Use the Most Reliable Solution

The second and potentially most important aspect of O365 backup best practices is to protect your sensitive Office 365 data through backup. 

As discussed earlier, cyberattacks are increasing day by day. And, on a serious note, these attacks focus on compromising professional data. So, protecting the crucial information of your organization should be the priority.

Hence, according to best practices for Office 365 backup, consider choosing an automated and professional software like SysTools Office 365 Backup Tool for saving your important files. 

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5 Quick Steps to Ensure Office 365 Backup Best Practices

  • Step 1. Download Above Tool & Run on PC.
  • Step 2. Opt Office 365 as Source & Outlook as Destination.
  • Step 3. Check required mailbox workload to backup.
  • Step 4. Login with Office 365 admin credentials.
  • Step 5. Set location to save PST & click on start.

Why the tool? Because it provides an incremental backup option, you don’t have to take the backup of the newly created data since the tool automatically takes the backup for you. 

6. Make a Timeline to Conduct the Backup Regularly

Creating a backup is not a one-time event that you do once and forget. Rather, during the lifetime of the organization, this process must be repeated at regular intervals. It is only then that the latest data is maintained in the backup, and any unforeseen disaster has a limited impact on the health of the organization as a whole. Moreover, keeping a backup at regular intervals by following a timeline helps in being consistent and up-to-date. During a backup, the IT admin may temporarily shut down certain operations. Therefore, having a timeline helps avoid confusion regarding this service downtime, both inside and outside the organization.

7. Decide on How Long to Keep The Backup For

The timeline is not only for when to do the backup but also for the duration for which we keep our data with us. As with many other things, data too has a lifecycle, after which it is considered redundant and offers no value to an organization. Making a decision on whether to keep or remove the data is necessary, as it leads to cost savings. Moreover, the hardware can be used for other purposes (like storing newer and more relevant data). There should be someone who regularly goes over the archives and marks the data that is no longer required. After a second inspection, delete the data permanently.This policy varies from industry to industry, so make your policy after going through all the regulatory and compliance checks.

8. Store the Data at Multiple Locations

Another important aspect that often goes under the radar is the preservation of the backup at more than one location. It is done to add another layer of security, as both local and cloud-based backups have their points of failure. So relying solely on any one of them is not a smart move. For example, local hard drives can get lost and cloud-based storage may become unavailable due to network issues. However, both of these happen simultaneously, which is quite improbable. Therefore, by keeping data at multiple different locations organizations can access them at a moment’s notice.

9. Apply a Role Based Access Control Policy

Understanding the division of responsibilities is quite important during complicated operations like a backup. So as a result we include it in our list of Office 365 backup best practices. It simply means assigning tasks on a need to know manner. It reduces the risk of employee error and also speeds up the backup procedure as a whole.

Conclusion

In this digital era, security breaches in the cloud are becoming a common event. And, with more and more data created on Office 365 on a daily basis, it becomes your responsibility to keep this data safe and sound. For that, backing up Office 365 data is the best solution you can opt for. Hence, follow the Office 365 backup best practices and save your data from any kind of security threats.

FAQs

Q. When we talk about Office 365 backup best practices what exactly is the end goal?

Ans. Your aim should be to design a centralized framework that not only protects data but also ensures fast recovery during data loss.

Q. I have heard that backup policy setup is not easy, and even experienced admins can commit mistakes while setting them up. Is there a way with which I can avoid the same?

Ans. Depending on the industry and number of employees, a backup policy can be a tough task, to say the least. Some common mistakes to keep an eye out for are: infrequent backups, inadequate retention policies, and missing encryption.

Q. What are some of the latest threats to Office 365 security that these best practices can help overcome?

Ans. Every day, new threats arise, as their is no shortage of nefarious entities looking to prey on vulnerable systems. Some major threats are

  • Phishing 
  • Unauthorized access
  • Dataloss
  • Malware, Ransomware
  • Configuration errors
  • Privilege escalation
  • Multi-factor authentication Failure
  • Malicious macros

Q. Backing up the data of each user individually is not efficient, how can I speed up the process to complete this repetitive but essential task?

Ans. You are not wrong in your assessment that a backup policy, especially for Office 365, is tiresome. However, this task can be completed in a minimum amount of time with the help of the automated utility.

Q. I work in an industry where there are strict and complicated guidelines that need to be incorporated into our data backup policy for O365. Is there a way around this?

Ans. We don’t suggest taking shortcuts for such an essential task. You may ask for the help of the legal department of your organization in this matter.