Using Office365 – think you don’t need a backup

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One thing that I constantly worry about is backup, every morning my inbox is full of backup alerts.  All these alerts are from Acronis and Microsoft confirming that the backups of the servers hosted by RocketWP are complete.  If there are any issues, and occasionally issue do happen these are resolved and manual backups are run as quickly as possible.  Phhhewwww!!!   

Why you need to backup Office365

While it is true that Microsoft is a very secure and reliable platform to host your email and store your data, even they recommend you backup your data!! What? Yes! Even Microsoft recommend you backup your data – as per their Services Agreement section 6b:

“b. We strive to keep the Services up and running; however, all online services suffer occasional disruptions and outages, and Microsoft is not liable for any disruption or loss you may suffer as a result. In the event of an outage, you may not be able to retrieve Your Content or Data that you’ve stored. We recommend that you regularly backup Your Content and Data that you store on the Services or store using Third-Party Apps and Services.”

There are several reasons for this, it’s not just that they might ‘loose’ your data, there are a whole host of reasons why you should have an additional backup service but lets say you delete a file from One Drive or an email? Neither of these items are immediately deleted from the service, they are ‘soft deleted’, copied to the Recycle Bin so you can restore them if needed. However this recycle bin gets emptied on a regular basis. If you don’t notice the file is missing before the recycle bin gets emptied the data will be lost forever. Now what would happen if some form of malware or virus delete’s 1,000’s or 10,000’s of files? It could take a long time to find and restore the files, who wants to spend time ‘bin sifting’? The same is still true that if you don’t pick up the fact that the files/emails have been modified or deleted before the recycle bin is emptied you will have lost the data forever.

What is versioning?

OneDrive and SharePoint offer versioning to protect against accidental mistakes, Office365 now enables 500 versions by default. While 500 versions sounds like a lot, you should know that Office 365 is continually saving versions while you are working on a document so it’s not long before the version limits are hit.  

Versioning protects you from typical user errors, but malware may be able to change or encrypt your files more times than the number of versions you store, which would mean you do not have a valid version to restore. If malware really wanted to mess with you, it would encrypt all your files a random numbers of times so that you’d have to dig all over time and space to find the right version.

What about the recycle bin?

Deleted items are recoverable from the recycle bin in SharePoint, OneDrive and email for a period of around 93 days. But you can’t rely on it, someone may empty the recycle bin, either accidentally or deliberately as part of a hacking attempt.

So you do need a backup!

Nice and easy, put a backup in place and sleep easy. Not so fast, you need to think about a few things first, the main one is retention. Let me explain, if I take a backup of a file today, and then tomorrow it is accidentally deleted. Not a problem, when a week later I realise the file is missing, I simply restore it. But what happens if I only realise 2 months down the line that the file is missing, not a problem I simply restore it? That depends on your retention period – let’s say your retention period is 30 days – that means that the file you wanted is no longer on the backup either!

You need to think about how often, important files are accessed and needed. For some industries a 30 day retention period just is not long enough, some clients require a longer retention period, for example mortgage brokers need to set their retention period for at least 7 years, that is because at any time in the 7 years after completion they may need to refer to documents and emails in relation to a mortgage yet the files will not have been accessed so any issues may not be discovered for 7 years! For letting agents a retention period may need to be set for at least 12 months as some of their documentation may not be access until the end of a tenancy, 12 months down the line.

“You need to think carefully about your data and how long it would take you to realise that something was wrong.”

Backup using Acronis

By using Acronis you can choose how long to keep your backups for. You can choose to keep your backup for any number of days, weeks, months, years or if you really want to you can keep your backups infinitely. We can even configure different backups with different retention periods for the various data types (this relies on your staff saving the right data in the right place).

Local device backups

The last thing to consider is local machine backup. I know that not every document gets saved in the right place – I’m as guilty of that as the next person however it does not worry me as I have a backup of the important data in OneDrive. Using OneDrive I automatically backup my Desktop, Documents and Picture folders automatically to OneDrive and then Acronis backs up my OneDrive so I know that everything I save even to my local computer is backed up. For most users implementing this type of backup will be sufficient, for some though a full machine backup will be required especially if the users requires specialised software to carry out their duties. Where the need exists Acronis can be installed locally on any computer to back up the entire machine or just the specific directories.

In short you need to ensure the following is implemented: 

  1. All company data is stored in OneDrive and SharePoint 
  2. OneDrive “Backup known folders” is implemented on all local computers
  3. Acronis (or similar) is used to back up all the data stored on Office365 
  4. Acronis (or similar) is used to backup any local machine that has specific software or data 
  5. Backup retention is set to ensure that important documents are always available no matter how long ago they were deleted 

Costs

So how much does it cost? Backup starts at just 8 pence per GB per month, if you want to add backup of a local machine there is an additional monthly cost of £1.60 per machine per month. Did you now we include Acronis backup as part of our new support packages? These packages start from £25.00 per month per users and include backup, Microsoft 365 licensing and support.

“The true worth of a backup solution will only be realised the day you need it and the true cost of not having a backup will only be realised when you need it but don’t have it.”

More info?

Want to know about how to backup and secure your data? Why not book a FREE, online meeting, just click the link below and book a convienient slot and we will happily discuss your backup queries:

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