Microsoft 365, also known as M365, is a popular subscription offering that enables businesses and consumers to access Office and other Microsoft products. The applications available through M365 may be used to generate and store important information. Losing any of this information can cause major problems.

The best way to protect the data in M365 is with a third-party backup solution. We are going to give you some reasons why this is true and point you in the direction of a reliable backup tool. Implementing this backup solution will ensure your M365 data is secure and available when you need it.

What is Microsoft 365?

M365 is a comprehensive software as a service (SaaS) cloud offering from Microsoft that bundles multiple products also available as standalone solutions. Three main components make up the core of Microsoft 365. The package includes user-based licenses to Windows 10 and Office 365 as well as management tools tailored to customer requirements. Management tools included in M365 are appropriate for enterprise IT administrators or part-time admins in small companies.

M365 is sold as a monthly subscription, with costs calculated based on the number of users or seats a customer requires. The software is available as long as the subscription is paid with all updates included in the cost of the package. Since the latest versions of the applications are used, the software is always under support.

The range of products included in M365 makes it very likely that it is used to create and store important business or personal information. Email, Excel spreadsheets, and Word documents are among the types of potentially business-critical items users work with using Microsoft 365. These objects need to be protected with a robust backup solution.

Why You Need to Back Up Your M365 Environment

Users may incorrectly assume that since M365 is a cloud solution, it is automatically backed up by the cloud service provider (CSP), in this case, Microsoft. But their main concern is to maintain the platform and ensure its performance and availability. It’s the customer’s responsibility to protect the data they store in the cloud.

You need to backup your M365 to guard against a variety of issues that can lead to data loss. The data loss issues that a robust backup strategy addresses include:

  • Accidental data loss which can be caused by human error;
  • Deliberate data loss from used by malicious internal or external actors;
  • Virus, malware, or ransomware attacks that can render data unusable.

Backups are a critical component of all computing environments. If you value the data resident in M365, you should be taking the proper steps to back it up regularly.

Why You Should Consider a Third-Party Backup Solution

Third-party tools often offer increased functionality when compared to platform defaults. Vendors identify gaps in a product or platform’s features that can be addressed to increase customer productivity. In the case of M365 backups, several gaps should be of concern to anyone using the platform for business-critical information. Following are some of the main reasons to use a third-party backup solution for M365.

Limited native functionality

Microsoft 365 provides limited coverage regarding recovering deleted mailboxes or other items. Generally, deleted items are retained for a maximum of 30 days before being permanently removed from the system. This is insufficient for many companies that may need to retain records for business, legal, or regulatory purposes. Many businesses are expected to retain data based on service level agreements (SLAs) and can be subject to financial penalties if they don’t meet their targets.

Regulatory compliance

Businesses operating in regulated industries such as banking or healthcare have to follow strict data retention policies. Failure to retain records for the appropriate length of time can result in failed audits and financial penalties. Deleted records may need to be recovered to demonstrate compliance or address an auditor’s queries. A third-party tool enables a company to enforce retention policies that conform to all regulatory standards.

Timely data recovery

When data is lost and needs to be recovered, a third-party tool offers the flexibility and functionality required to get it back. A third-party solution puts you in control of data recovery with tools to quickly locate and restore needed files. Most third-party backup tools provide a user-friendly interface that streamlines backup and recovery processes. Timely data recovery aids productivity and helps maintain customer satisfaction.

Ransomware protection

Ransomware gangs are targeting Office data in their attempts to financially extort their victims. A reliable backup and recovery strategy enables companies to quickly restore affected systems and avoid excessive downtime while not paying the criminals a cent.

Consolidate backup tools

Using a third-party backup tool lets you consolidate backups on a single platform for easier management and reduced licensing costs. Consolidating backups helps streamline enterprise-wide disaster recovery plans and lightens the load on a company’s technical staff.

The Right Tool for Backing up Microsoft 365

Many third-party backup tools are on the market that provide varying levels of functionality and data protection. The fact that your business is using M365 indicates that you are comfortable with cloud offerings. An efficient method of backing up M365 and the rest of your on-premises or cloud computing environment is with a cloud-based backup as a service (BaaS) solution.

VAST offers a guide that outlines what’s needed to protect your M365 environment. VAST can help your company determine the best way to maintain the integrity of your M365 data. In many instances, Cohesity will be the tool of choice due to its flexibility and functionality.

Cohesity addresses the gaps in M365 data protection as well as providing an enterprise-grade BaaS tool for all of an organization’s backup requirements. Cohesity is a modern, end-to-end backup solution that provides for quick and granular recovery whenever you need it. Cohesity can also be implemented as a self-managed solution that lets you manage backups through a unified global user interface. You can rest easy knowing your data is reliably backed up with Cohesity.