Do I need to backup Microsoft 365?

SaaS productivity apps like Microsoft 365 make sense in today’s mobile world—the benefits of easy access to documents from any device and improved collaboration are obvious. However, many organizations believe that moving to Microsoft 365 means backup is no longer necessary. According surveys, one in four businesses don’t believe they need to backup Microsoft 365.

However, Microsoft does not guarantee complete and fast restores of deleted or corrupted Microsoft 365 data. In short, Microsoft ensures that it won’t lose your data. However, the company doesn’t make any guarantees about recovering it for you.

So, let’s look at Microsoft’s native data protection vs. your responsibilities.

Microsoft provides:

  • Protection against loss of service due to hardware failure or natural disaster
  • Short-term protection against user and admin error (Recycle Bin, soft delete)

You must protect against data loss due to:

  • Accidental deletion
  • Hackers, ransomware, and other malware
  • Malicious insiders
  • Departing employees

That’s why Microsoft recommends third-party backup in the Service Availability section of its Services Agreement.

What about OneDrive?

Since Microsoft OneDrive stores a copy of a user’s files in the Microsoft cloud, many people believe that it is a replacement for backup. However, using OneDrive as a form of backup can result in data loss. Here’s why: If a file is deleted or infected on a local device, that change is automatically synced in OneDrive. In other words, the file is automatically deleted or infected on all synchronized devices.

Third-party Microsoft 365 backup is the best way to protect against accidental or malicious file deletion, other user errors, ransomware, and data corruption. These solutions store backups independently from Microsoft servers and enable granular restores of Microsoft 365 files, folders, and applications. They ensure that you can restore quickly and meet data retention requirements for Microsoft 365 data.

However, not all Microsoft 365 backup tools are created equally. In fact, most don’t offer protection for the entire suite of products—for example, many lack support for Microsoft Teams. Others do not offer granular and permissions restores. So, when you are choosing a backup product for Microsoft 365, be certain that it meets your data protection needs.