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365 Backups: your insurance policy against data loss and disasters

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Joke for you: Why don’t clouds use Microsoft services? Because even in the sky, they can’t find a backup! That has to be the worst joke imaginable, it’s an old IT joke, but it highlights something especially important.

 

Cloud busting

 

People often mistake cloud services with what’s highly available, versus what’s actually backed up. It’s often assumed that if it’s Microsoft, it’s backed up, but sadly that’s not the case. It is not a service that Microsoft offers within standard products. What they actually offer, is highly available services.

 

Microsoft doesn’t backup your data automatically

 

This is a critical concept that often leads to confusion. High availability refers to a system’s ability to remain accessible and operational over a given period. Thus, cutting down on downtime, and making sure that users can access services like email and data storage without interruption. This is usually done through redundancy across data centres, and server systems.

 

Data backup is a completely different process, in that it involves creating copies of data so that these additional copies can be used to restore the original, after a data loss event. The best example of this might be if you make an accidental deletion if the business suffers a cyber-attack if the data gets corrupted.

 

30 days, that’s all you get.

 

So, whilst Microsoft offers high availability through its robust infrastructure, it does not automatically offer a backup service in the traditional sense. What it does have, is a default retention period of 30 days.

 

To be clear, Microsoft will recover deleted items such as emails within these 30 days. But if you have not recovered your email within this period, it means that the email will have been permanently removed from your system.

 

Not backing up - the risk to your business

 

Yes, you can remove an email from your mailbox, and you will only be covered for 30 days, but after that, that email is gone. Forever unrecoverable. That’s because there’s nothing to restore that email from. This is where people confuse cloud and mobility with backup. The two are not the same. It’s assumed that if it’s in the cloud, it’s backed up, but it’s not.

 

This is where companies need to have an independent and robust backup service. The need to retain data for legal purposes, or compliance with their particular sector’s rules, for these types of companies means that backing up data has never been more important.

 

Bad leaver discovery exercise

 

For example, it’s both unfortunate and sad, but it does happen sometimes, that a ‘bad or unexpected leaver’ (which is an employee, who leaves a company under negative circumstances) their work and actions may not have been in line with company procedure. They may have sent out work that is contra to the company’s best practice. Emails are considered company property!

 

Inappropriate or unauthorised communication sent under the company's name can have devasting consequences on your business.

 

More so, if that employee has been purging their emails or other works before they resigned, you might not know about their actions until and after that 30-day period has expired. If you went searching for anything they had sent, you would not be able to find it, which could have devastating effects on your customers, suppliers, or stakeholder network.

 

The Importance of a Backup Strategy

 

In a world of digital accountability, a robust backup solution is like a safety net for your business. It’s there to address breaches of policy, security threats, cyber threats or, getting your business back in working order as fast as possible, whilst all the time protecting your company’s reputation. The importance of a secure backup service cannot be overstated.

 

Be proactive.

 

365 Backup is an independent ancillary service outside of the Microsoft Ecosystem, so anything that happens within your 365 is automatically backed up. It‘s a service that will backup your emails, your OneDrive data, Teams, and SharePoint data (it doesn’t backup for instance individual chat conversations that you may have had with people, they remain personal and private to you).

 

Where you have had group conversations or collaborations on Teams, or when you may have shared files on there, those files would be backed up safely.

 

An offsite remote backup strategy

 

Data informs our decisions. It’s central to and, drives our business strategies. Data helps us to keep our customer relationships. Losing data can mean losing business insights that have been built up over many years. This kind of information can often be central to your company’s competitive advantage.

 

So, having a backup strategy is not only about avoiding disaster; protecting your data should be centre stage of any business continuity plans you may have. Don’t just connect your business, protect it.

 

Backing up data makes business sense for the following reasons:

 

  • Cost efficiency: There can be some initial costs, however, remote backup can be more economical in the long term.
  • All your data is backed up in real-time or automatically over the day.
  • Post a cyberattack or other business disruptive incident, your data is easily restorable.
  • As your business grows, so do your data needs. You can expand your storage to your exact requirements.
  • Only those with the correct authority can access your remote data.
  • You can easily retrieve your data from anywhere.
  • Regulatory compliance – Many business sectors are required by law, to have offsite backups.
  • Business reputation – it tells your customers and suppliers that you take security measures seriously.
  • 24/7

 

Conclusion

 

Microsoft 365 will take you so far, but a backup service to support your business and all your data is not only invaluable but should be considered an indispensable part of your future-ready infrastructure. Whether your business and your teamwork from the office, remotely, or hybrid, prepare your business for what may come. Remember, if you want to get ahead, back up.

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