Backups are an essential, yet often overlooked aspect of maintaining a viable information technology (IT) environment. Many people and organizations give backups very little thought until they need to recover from some type of data loss scenario. At that point, it’s too late to implement a data protection policy and a company can be damaged beyond repair.

Why Backups are Essential in Today’s Business World

Protecting an organization’s data resources has never been more important. The data-driven nature of the modern business world has increased the value of a company’s proprietary and sensitive information. Backups are a crucial component of a data protection strategy and can help a business address multiple threats to corporate information availability and security.

Human error or malicious activity – Employee error can result in data loss at any time. An accidentally deleted database file or application can cripple a business and make it impossible for it to serve its customers. Disgruntled workers may deliberately delete or corrupt data, severely impacting company operations.

System or application failure – The failure of a critical data center component can lead to unexpected data loss. Power systems, networks, or storage devices can physically fail, resulting in lost or corrupted data. Logical failures like incomplete updates or faulty security patches can also bring down systems and impact data availability.

Natural disasters – Natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes can result in devastation to on-premises data centers. Severe damage might make it impossible to continue business operations without backups that allow mission-critical systems to be recovered in alternate locations.

Cyberattacks – Cyberattacks continue to proliferate and are responsible for a large percentage of data breaches. Successful attacks with ransomware and other forms of malware can make business-critical data unavailable for customers and employees. Cybercriminals can hold data resources for ransom or purposely corrupt them, putting unprepared companies at risk.

Backups can help address all of these data loss situations. The availability of reliable and complete backups allows a company to recover systems and maintain operations with minimal impact on the business.

The Challenges of Protecting Microsoft 365 Environments

Microsoft 365 (M365) is a popular suite of office software used by over a million companies worldwide. Unfortunately, there are some potential vulnerabilities in the backup and recovery process for M365 that warrant companies to opt for a third-party solution. Let’s look at some of the issues that may impact an M365 environment and how a third-party backup and recovery solution effectively addresses them.

User errors

In any M365 environment, end users and administrators can inadvertently cause data loss or corruption. Files can get overwritten or deleted accidentally, and incorrect synchronization can corrupt data resources. Microsoft offers limited data retention and recovery options. Recovery using native M365 functionality can be a slow process.

A reliable third-party backup service offers point-in-time backups and unlimited retention policies designed around a customer’s business requirements. Granular recovery offers faster performance than M365 to get affected systems up and running quickly. Service level agreements (SLAs) can be more efficiently met with a third-party backup solution.


Implementing security measures to protect against ransomware is essential but not always sufficient to secure corporate data. If a ransomware attack is successful, companies need viable recovery plans to avoid paying criminals to get their data back.

A third-party backup and recovery solution can help identify the affected files and quickly recover them on a granular or more extensive level. Storing backups in the cloud or an external location enables a fast recovery to maintain business continuity.

Regulatory compliance

Businesses operating in regulated industries must comply with data security, protection, and retention standards. Failure to comply with record retention regulations can result in substantial fines and the loss of customers. M365 does not provide the type of long-term retention necessary to remain compliant.

Third-party backup solutions allow the creation of tailored retention policies that meet regulatory standards. This includes the availability of logs necessary to demonstrate compliance with auditors.

Insufficient legal hold support

Legal teams must ensure that specific data is held according to designated retention policies. This information cannot be deleted and must be readily available if needed for litigation. M365 does not provide the capacity or functionality to viably protect legal data or recover it promptly.

Once again, a third-party backup solution can handle an organization’s legal hold requirements. Data can be available whenever needed by the legal team.

Internal data risks

Unfortunately, internal risks to corporate data have become more prevalent recently. Employees on their way out the door may intentionally corrupt or delete important information that is not immediately apparent to the organization. It can be months before the data loss and its extent is discovered by the company.

The long-term retention available from a third-party backup service enables companies to recover from data loss caused by malicious insiders. Data can be restored to M365 or alternate locations. Advanced tools offer forensic capabilities that can help investigate the activity and identify the culprit.

Protecting Your Business with an Effective Backup Service

Finding the right third-party backup service for your M365 or other types of IT environments can be challenging. Many options are available offering varying levels of functionality. Companies need to consider their business objectives when engaging a third-party backup solution to ensure they make the correct selection.

VAST can help your company find the M365 third-party backup solution that fits your needs. They have extensive experience with implementing and protecting Microsoft 365 environments and will make sure your company’s valuable data is effectively protected.

In the case of M365 environments, one of the third-party solutions that VAST works with is Druva. Druva addresses the backup and recovery shortcomings of M365. The tool is an SaaS offering built on Amazon Web Services. Eliminating hardware purchases, capacity planning, and software management with Druva can reduce backup costs by 50% while protecting your company from the risks of data loss. It’s a win-win solution for businesses of any size. Get in touch with VAST and see how they can help you keep your data safe.