Why do organisations need to protect Office 365 data?

Questions:  Office 365 data – Do you have control of it?  Do you have access to everything you need?

Typical Answer:  “Of course!”  or “Microsoft takes care if it all.”

Microsoft Office 365 is fantastic, and Microsoft provide a great service to the customers.  They focus a lot of energy on the Office 365 infrastructure, maintain good uptime, and allow your users to work with confidence.  They also empower YOU with the responsibility of your data.

Read that last sentence again…

The misconception that Microsoft fully backs up your data in Office 365 on your behalf is quite common, but most people haven’t even thought about it.  Many still live in a dream world where “The Cloud” is an invincible indestructible compute system that allows them to palm off all responsibility.  And that thought could have damaging repercussions when this responsibility is left unattended.

Ultimately, its down to you to ensure you have access and control of your data, including data in the cloud networks.  In Office 365 that means data held in:

  • Exchange Online – your emails, calendars, contacts

  • SharePoint Online – your data libraries, custom pages, data collections

  • OneDrive for Business – your personal files and folders

The Office 365 misconception

The misunderstanding falls between Microsoft’s perceived responsibility, and the user’s ACTUAL responsibility of data protection.  The backup and recovery options that Microsoft provide and what users assume they are able to do are often miles apart.  Things like recoverablilty and long-term retention within Office 365 is there in parts, but not completely.

You may need to re-assess the level of control you have of your data and how much access you truly have to it.

Microsoft Office 365 offers geo redundancy, which is often mistaken for backup.  Geo redundancy protects against site or hardware failures from disrupting user services.  If there is an infrastructure crash or outage, your users will remain productive and often oblivious to these underlying issues due to the great efforts Microsoft have made to ensure their network is accessible.

Backup, on the other hand, is when a historical copy of data is made and then usually stored in another location than the original data.  This is very different to geo redundancy and its even more essential that you have direct access to it, control over it, and know exactly where it is stored so if data is lost, accidentally deleted or maliciously attacked you can quickly recover by going to that backup set.

Reasons to protect your Office 365 data.

The highly Available SaaS (Software as a Service) platform that is Office 365 already fits the operational needs of so many organisations perfectly.  Adding a backup mechanism to that service can help you with compliance and protect you against other security threats:

  • Accidental Deletion

  • Retention policy gaps and confusion

  • Internal security threats

  • External security threats

  • Legal & compliance requirements

  • Managing hybrid email deployments & migrations to Office 365

Take a closer look at the importance and sensitivity of the data you store in the Office 365 platform, and consider how essential that data is to your business.  Ask yourself “Can I continue if I lose this data?”.

The team at CTO can help you understand what security of the services you use in Office 365, the type of data you store there, and how applying simple security standards and processes can help keep that part of your IT system safe.  We can also provide solutions to help you avoid the unnecessary risk of data loss by providing backup solution, which often can be integrated into your existing backup strategy, to help you keep on top of your data requirements.

Simply get in touch with us to learn more about how your business can confidently secure your Office 365 services and data, and continue to use the Office 365 network as a fundamental part of your IT system.

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