Many organizations take advantage of the flexibility and functionality built into Microsoft 365 (M365). M365’s cloud-based subscription model gives companies a cost-effective method of accessing Microsoft’s productivity software without the complexity of local installation and license management. Microsoft also offers customers upgrades as they become available at no extra charge above their subscription price.

The platform is especially popular in the United States, with over 1.3 million companies currently using Microsoft 365. Businesses enjoy the simplicity of cloud-based access to productivity tools like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. M365 also includes Microsoft’s OneDrive cloud storage solution to provide users with a flexible method of storing and accessing files from any location.

Companies typically use the components of M365 to store valuable information that is important to their business. This might include items such as spreadsheets containing personal customer data, documents outlining business strategy, and sensitive email correspondence. The loss of these items can negatively impact business operations and the ability to efficiently service customers.

Why Do You Need to Protect Your M365 Environment?

Organizations need to protect their M365 environments for several reasons. Failure to provide the necessary level of data protection can result in business-impacting data losses. M365 data can be lost or compromised by malicious or unwitting internal or external entities. Backing up the M365 environment should be an essential component of a comprehensive data protection strategy.

The following reasons demonstrate why you should get serious about backing up your M365 environment.

  • The sheer number of organizations that use Microsoft 365 and the types of data they store on the platform make M365 environments attractive targets for threat actors. Hackers can exploit stolen credentials or other methods of gaining access to the environment and corrupt or destroy data. Without backups, the data may be lost forever and cause serious harm to the business.
  • Malicious insiders with access to shared data resources in M365 may randomly destroy data for reasons known only to themselves. They might be taking some kind of unreasonable action to address a real or imagined issue they have with the company. Reliable backups ensure that M365 data can be recovered to address the actions of deliberate data destruction.
  • Modern businesses have come to rely on the convenience and environmental friendliness of using digital documents as opposed to paper artifacts. While there are many benefits from this arrangement, the danger of accidentally deleted data always exists. A simple mistake by a trusted employee can result in the loss of large volumes of M365 data. It is essential to have viable backups available to recover the lost data and maintain business operations.

Companies that use M365 to store valuable information need to ensure it is reliably backed up and available for recovery. Relying on native Microsoft 365 backup functionality may not produce the desired results when faced with a data loss scenario.

Gaps and Limitations in Native Microsoft 365 Backup Functionality

Microsoft 365 users need to be aware of some gaps and limitations in the backup and recovery functionality of the platform that may not align with their business objectives and requirements. Organizations should consider the following factors when choosing a backup strategy for their M365 data.

  • Insufficient and complex retention periods – M365 lets customers define policies to address long-term retention to comply with regulatory requirements. The complexity of these policies can result in users making changes that cause regulated data to be permanently deleted. Additional control over retention periods may require the use of a third-party backup solution.
  • Complex and distributed architecture – M365 encompasses many productivity applications like Microsoft Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneDrive. Backing up all of these diverse data points efficiently cannot be guaranteed using native M365 backup functionality. An all-encompassing supplemental backup solution may be necessary to adequately protect business data across the spectrum of M365 applications.
  • Limited granular restore capabilities – It can be extremely difficult or impossible to recover individual items with the native restore capabilities of M365. Restores are based on backup times and cannot be configured to recover data that meets specific criteria. The inability to perform granular restores can slow down recovery efforts to address accidentally or deliberately deleted files and put business-critical processes at risk.
  • Limited protection for user data – Deleting a user in M365 deletes all associated data across the network. Inadvertently deleting a user is a common way that data is lost in M365. An external backup solution will ensure that user data can be recovered from any type of data loss scenario.

VAST Has Your Back With Superior M365 Data Protection

VAST is a Microsoft Gold Partner with a wealth of experience in optimizing and protecting an organization’s investment in Microsoft 365. They offer a full slate of services including subscription management and migration assistance. VAST’s backup solution will ensure your data stays safe and satisfies regulatory compliance requirements.

The data protection experts at VAST understand the importance of comprehensively backing up the data resident in your M365 environment. VAST offers its customers a cloud-based solution that ensures that reliably backs up all their M365 data and makes it available for recovery whenever needed. The solution eliminates the gaps in native M365 data protection support that may put your value data at risk.

VAST’s managed cloud backup-as-a-service (CBaaS) is designed to provide reliable data protection for all types of computing environments, including Microsoft 365. The service is powered by Druva’s advanced Cloud File System technology and offers M365 users these features and benefits:

  • Long-term archiving capabilities that address regulatory compliance;
  • Source-side deduplication to help reduce storage requirements and control costs;
  • Automated implementation of an incremental forever backup model;
  • Flexible restore options that facilitate fast and granular data recovery;
  • End-to-end encryption and restricted access to customer data;
  • Elimination of hardware and software costs associated with a backup infrastructure;
  • Expert implementation and management by VAST’s technical team;
  • Defined service plans that provide predictable costs for budget management.

Contact VAST and see how easy it is to give your M365 environment the protection it deserves and your business needs.