Microsoft Office 365 has become the productivity suite of choice for many organizations. Between Mail, Calendar, Contacts, SharePoint, and OneDrive, Office 365 is comprised of applications and data that keep organizations productive. However, because it is a cloud-based service, MSPs often overlook the need to back up their clients’ Office 365 deployments.

But it’s in the cloud, why do I need to back up my clients’ Office 365?

While Microsoft infrastructure is designed to ensure continuity of service and safeguard data from hardware failure, these safeguards cannot prevent the most common source of data loss: user error.

Here are some things to consider

  • A January 2013 report by the Aberdeen Group discovered that 32% of businesses had reported losing cloud data; the same report revealed that 64% of data loss was the result of user error
  • A 2013 report from the Ponemon Institute reported that on average it costs $136 for every record lost, and that cost can be higher depending on the industry
  • Retention policies differ among service tiers of Office 365; especially at the lower end where SMBs generally are, these retention policies can be very light

For MSPs, the risks of data loss in Office 365 make implementing a backup solution for Office 365 an imperative and profitable proposition.

Whether you are deciding to depend solely on Office 365 or choose a backup solution, here are some questions to ask:

  • How is Office 365 data currently backed up, including Mail, Calendar, Contacts, SharePoint, and OneDrive data?
  • Does the provider charge to recover data that has been permanently deleted?
  • Are backups manual and labor-intensive?
  • In what format is data backed up?
  • How often do backups take place?
  • Is it easy to find data that has been backed up? Can I easily and quickly retrieve data?
  • Can I search across users and organizations?
  • When a data loss event happens, how quickly and accurately can I recover data?
  • Is there reporting and notifications on my backups?
  • Are backups protected from user and administrative error?
  • What are the retention policies for Office 365? Are they meeting my clients’ needs?
  • How do I deal with the retention of data from inactive accounts (former employees, temp employees, contractors, etc.)?
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