Choosing the Right Solution for Microsoft 365 Backup: Key Points to Assess and Analyze
With over 345 million users in 2022, Microsoft 365 suite is a market-dominant team collaboration solution. Individuals and organizations prefer Microsoft services for the all-in-one functional suite, speed and comfort of data exchange, and advanced capabilities. However, the security of valuable data that an organization produces, transfers, and stores using Microsoft 365 cloud apps and features is still a concern for IT specialists.
Microsoft uses the shared responsibility model, which states that the company is obliged to provide full availability and uptime for its cloud services. On the other hand, protecting data that the client stores and generates in Microsoft 365 is entirely the client’s responsibility. Furthermore, Microsoft does not provide native functions and tools for Microsoft 365 backup, thus clients don’t have other choice but to look for a third-party solution.
In this post, we explain the Office 365 backup solution requirements that an organization should consider to fulfill their data protection needs. Read on to discover the key criteria for picking a Microsoft 365 backup solution.
Assessing Backup Needs
Being a multifunctional team collaboration service, Microsoft 365 assists organizations with generating, exchanging, and storing data items of different types. The service enables creating and editing of items that vary from text documents in Office and emails in Outlook to large databases and other valuable files in SharePoint, OneDrive, or Teams.
Therefore, the first important consideration point when picking a solution to back up Microsoft 365 is the types of data you need to protect. Not all third-party solutions are capable of backing up, for example, Microsoft Teams data. You might want to check the solution’s capabilities thoroughly before starting to integrate it into your IT infrastructure.
The second point to think over is the recovery point objective (RPO). An RPO defines how much data an organization can withstand losing in case of a disruptive event. This allows you to determine how often you need to back up your data to minimize data loss. Tighter RPOs mean more frequent backups which can cause higher loads on your network and hardware. Additionally, storing multiple recovery points to achieve flexible recovery can increase storage space consumption.
The recovery time objective (RTO) is another consideration when figuring out backup needs for your organization. RTO refers to the maximum downtime that your organization can tolerate when a data loss incident causes operations to stop. Tighter RTO requires more hardware performance and network bandwidth enabling swift recovery.
Next, regardless of your preferred storage type (on-premise or cloud storage backup), you need to know the volume of data to protect. Depending on the size and industry, organizations may require storage volumes varying from terabytes to petabytes for storing their backup data.
Last but not least, you need to consider your organization’s retention policy. Data retention can have certain internal requirements as well as compliance regulations to keep up with. For example, an organization may be obliged to store sensitive data backups in encrypted storage destinations with reliable access limitation and thorough authentication control.
Evaluating Microsoft 365 Backup Solutions
Now that you know your organization’s detailed requirements for Microsoft 365 backup, you can proceed with evaluating the solutions available on the market. The key considerations when choosing between Office 365 backup solutions can be:
- Cost of data protection
- Management complexity level
- Additional backup data security
- Customer support for complicated cases
Cost and Budget
Organizations tend to postpone integrating data protection solutions in their IT infrastructures due to cost concerns. However, you might want to compare the price of a solution and value of Microsoft 365 data: mostly, the data to protect has a higher value for an organization. Additionally, a modern solution for Office 365 data backup can be significantly more affordable due to the quite flexible licensing.
Scalability and Flexibility
Will the Office 365 backup tool picked today be relevant and sufficient after the organization expands? How flexible are the features and functions? Can the solution fit the existing IT environment or will it require additional expenses to reconfigure hardware, software, and workflows in production?
In-depth customization, easy scalability, and flexibility are a must-have for an effective data protection solution in general and for a Microsoft 365 backup solution in particular. An adequate solution not only suits your infrastructure’s type, size, and data at a certain moment but also can be properly adjusted when your organizational needs change.
Ease of Use and Management
Another key element is the solution’s UI and management simplicity. An intuitive interface means that employees can master the solution quickly. Additionally, besides saving time and effort on employee training, the convenience of the solution can boost the effectiveness of backup and recovery workflows.
Security and Compliance
The protection of sensitive data is tightly connected with legal regulations and compliance requirements, pushing organizations to find suitable approaches to storing backups. After protecting the data by creating a backup, an organization should consider backup security. Modern Microsoft 365 backup solutions have advanced security features that restrict access to backup copies and make reaching the data inside backup repositories a challenge for third parties.
For example, you might want your Office 365 data backup solution to be able to encrypt the data both during transmission to a backup repository and throughout the entire retention period. Additional authentication measures and access control features can increase data security from both external and internal threats, as well as from accidental deletion.
This point can be overlooked when conducting an Office 365 backup solutions comparison to analyze their pros and cons. Professional customer support that is always available means that your IT specialists can get instant help while installing and using the solution. Consider checking the reviews and contacting the vendor you plan to make your backup solution provider.
Microsoft’s shared responsibility model and absence of native backup tools demands that you implement a third-party solution for Microsoft 365 backup to ensure the safety and availability of your organization’s data. Having a detailed view and clear understanding of your data protection needs and expectations is critical when picking a solution. Consider the data types you need to back up, your RPO, RTO, and storage needs.
Then, evaluate a solution’s price, scalability and flexibility, use and management simplicity, and security features. Don’t overlook customer support as that is an important part of your interaction with the backup solution provider when needed.
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