The Office 365 backup gaps you didn’t know about

If you’re relying on the native Microsoft backup in Office 365, you’ll really want to read on!

Businesses across the globe are now “seeing the light in the cloud” and moving their onsite exchange environments over to Microsoft Office 365.

But many of these businesses are then relying on the native backup within MS Office 365, unaware that this doesn’t provide a comprehensive backup solution and could lead to major data losses.

In this blog post we explore what these gaps are and how you can protect against them.

Office 365 currently has 145 million users with 50 million more deploying now, or planning to, in the next 12 months. That’s a whole lot of data!

Leading research and advisory company Gartner had concerns about its backup and recovery gaps, reporting that “Microsoft Office 365 offers robust disaster recovery but limited native backup and recovery.”

Gartner went on to advise that “I&O leaders using and evaluating MS Office 365 should consider investing in third-party backup and recovery tools for faster and more-flexible recovery options, as well as reputation damage control after a malicious attack.”

Here is a summary of the main concerns:

1) The shared responsibility model

There’s a common misconception that Microsoft automatically backs up Microsoft Office 365 data, but the truth is that Microsoft only offers limited protection, as part of a shared responsibility model.

Microsoft protects against software or hardware failures at their end, operating system errors, natural disasters or power outages affecting their data centres, where they also have physical security. They provide data storage replication and redundancy (covered in more detail later) and they guarantee uptime and privacy controls (detailed in their Trust Center).

Therefore in reality, Microsoft takes care of the infrastructure, but protecting the data itself remains the customer’s responsibility.

2) Restoring deleted files

Recent industry reports tell us that 70% of data lost from Software as a Service applications is due to accidental deletion, or through the malicious deletion of files by end users.

It is your responsibility to proactively back up your data and users from any kind of human error (whether that’s accidental or malicious), hackers, viruses and misconfigured workflows.

The recycle bins and version histories in Microsoft Office 365 only provide limited protection from data loss. This can turn a simple recovery into a big problem after Office 365 has geo-redundantly deleted the data forever.

So if you don’t implement a full backup solution yourself, you will leave your business wide open to data and user loss.

3) Retention policy

Microsoft Office 365 has limited backup and retention policies and is not intended to be an all-encompassing backup solution. All it provides is a recycle bin and mailbox preserver feature.

See the diagram below for the retention periods of each function:

Office-365-retention-policy-native

The average length of time from data compromise to discovery is over 140 days, yet default settings only protect for 30-90 days.

While Microsoft does allow business administrator’s limited customisation to extend the retention period of their recycle bin, this feature takes up a lot of disk space at considerable additional expense.

A Microsoft Office 365 hybrid backup solution offers a much longer accessible retention policy to protect and store all data in a single location. Look how the Veeam solution compares with the native Office 365 offer:

Office-365-Veeam-backup-retention-periods

4) Ransomware

Malware, Phishing attacks and viruses, such as ransomware are on the rise, doing serious damage to businesses of all shapes and sizes.

It’s not just your data at risk, but also your reputation. Regular backups can help prevent the damage from these attacks.

The bottom line is, it is your responsibility to protect your organisation’s information directly and the only way to do this is with a hybrid solution.

Here are six compelling reasons to backup Microsoft Office 365:

Why Veeam Backup for Office 365?

When it comes to hybrid solutions, Veeam is the market leader for disaster recovery and backup, and lends itself very well to customers who have virtual platforms already.

We’re happy to recommend Veeam Cloud Connect backup solution to Microsoft Office 365 customers as we’ve seen first-hand how powerful it is.

The solution allows you to protect against data loss scenarios that Microsoft’s preserve mailbox and recycle bin functions don’t cover. You can migrate email data between MS Office 365 and your onsite exchange, and reduce the effort and time normally involved in restoring emails.

Choosing an Office 365 backup partner

When you’re choosing a Veeam / Microsoft Office 365 backup partner, be sure to dig deep into what’s on offer. Not all Veeam partners offer the same level of knowledge and breadth of service.

Look at how long they have been around, see if you can find out what platforms they are using, and what certifications they have.

For example, instant recovery is hard to do – but we have always done it. As a partner with Azure, we have a direct faster route to Microsoft for issues, and our staff members are getting lots of additional training and support. We are high-level partners of these big companies; a lot of providers are not.

virtualDCS has been a Veeam partner since the very beginning. We work hard to maintain our position as the “go to” partner – running regular internal training and knowledge sessions for the whole team. Our solution has been specifically developed to enhance and augment protection in areas that are not Microsoft’s focus.

Here’s how our backup solution works:

Microsoft Office 365 and Veeam backup diagram

 

If you’d like us to talk this through in more detail, contact us today by calling 0345 3888 327, emailing enquiries@virtualDCS.co.uk or by filling in an online contact form. Or join us for our new portal launch event (details below).

 

Launch of our new Microsoft Office 365 & Veeam portal

To provide the best user experience, we’ve also developed a custom portal for our Office 365 backup as a service clients, (through CloudCover™). Registered users can simply login and select which information to protect offsite, how long for (retention period) and how frequently the backup should be run.

This portal is the first of its kind. It gives administrators the power to manage Office 365 backups without having to depend on a service provider. The portal can also be completely white labelled for resellers.

Join us to find out more at our launch event in April:

virtualDCS MS Office 365 & Veeam Portal Launch

Thursday 11 April 2019, 8-11am

Lost and Found Club, Leeds

Click here for more information

Click here to book a ticket

 

We love helping clients solve their tricky lost data situations and our team is happy to talk through your requirements informally with no obligation.

But don’t just take our word for it….

“If you use Veeam software then virtualDCS should be your default offsite partner. Just talk to virtualDCS first.” – Lambert, Roper and Horsefield

 

virtualDCS Exclusive Portal Launch For Veeam & Microsoft Office 365

Date: Thursday 11th April at The Lost & Found Club, Leeds.

Spring is looming and as new beginnings are on the horizon, so is the release of our exclusive Microsoft Office 365 & Veeam Portal. After months of hard work and testing, we have successfully created a product that is exclusive to virtualDCS, eliminates privacy concerns and puts Office 365 at your fingertips.

Microsoft office 365 portal

The portal is the first of its kind and allows organisation administrators to manage the company’s Microsoft 365 Backups, without dependency on a service provider. In another first, the portal can also be completely white labelled for resellers. You can read about the full features and benefits of the portal here.

To officially launch the new solution, we have put together an exclusive event which is taking place on Thursday 11th April, and it is that exclusive we are hosting it at the Secret Bar at the Lost and Found Club.

We are going to be giving a live demonstration of the portal and will be hosting talks from exclusive guests including Microsoft and Veeam.

The event is free to attend, with networking, talks, coffee and bacon butties. If this launch is of interest to you, it might be worth checking it out sooner rather than later. There are only 30 tickets up for grabs, and we are offering them to all readers of our newsletter and blog.

 You can book your tickets on Eventbrite here, and we look forward to seeing you there!

For any further information, please contact virtualDCS on 03453 888 327 or email enquiries@virtualdcs.co.uk.

 

4 biggest challenges for IT Managers today

happy birthday virtualDCS - cloud computing expertsvirtualDCS has recently celebrated its ten year anniversary, and for us it’s been both a time of reflection and a time for looking ahead to what the next ten years might bring.

We’re really proud of what we’ve achieved so far. What started out as a few conversations in a coffee shop is now a thriving business with 16 staff, including five recruited in the past 12 months as part of our major growth plans. Our team is like a family and we have very little churn, which for our clients means continuity and the guarantee of a familiar friendly face.

We’ve had 50% growth year-on-year for the past five years, with one of our customers being a very large retailer with £2bn turnover across 500+ stores. Having enabled their back end systems, that £2bn now goes through our infrastructure.

Another big highlight for us has been working with interesting organisations, like the Royal College of Physicians, getting involved in their businesses and understanding how they work.

Innovation remains at the core of what we do, so we’re always thinking about how we can solve our clients’ future problems.

From being the first UK provider to offer Veeam Cloud Connect (now one of the largest in Europe) and the first VMware Service Provider Enterprise partner, virtualDCS has continued to innovate and push boundaries.

Plans for this year include being the first provider to release a fully customer driven 365 solution – so watch this space!

Therefore, in this blog post we’re going to explore some of the key challenges that we see IT Managers facing now and in the future – and look at how they could potentially be solved or mitigated.

(1) Data governance, security and privacy

big data security - cloud security

According to Forbes, 2019 will be a critical year for data governance, security and privacy. This has always been a key concern for IT Managers, particularly around cloud based solutions – and it’s one we take very seriously in everything we do. But with Brexit on the horizon, data security concerns have come into sharp focus.

Ransomware is another concern we are hearing more and more about. Businesses have always protected against viruses, but with increasing numbers of office smartphones and BYOD “bring your own device” policies, corporate IT becomes more difficult to protect.

Many businesses are now using our Veeam cloud backup service to give them that air gap, which means if Ransomware is on their network, it can’t reach ours and corrupt their data.

For more information and advice on this, you might find these posts useful:

We’ll also be exploring cloud solutions risks Vs benefits in detail in another blog post soon, so do look out for that. 

(2) Cloud network issues

SaaSAlso in the top five Forbes 2019 ‘industry’s biggest challenges’ list are cloud network issues. Digital transformation has seen many organisations moving their workloads into the cloud. But building the right cloud network to support your data processing requirements is also vital.

It’s important to find a strategic partner who can work across your whole business and advise you an appropriate IT infrastructure model, rather than one who simply seeks to sell you a flashy “off the shelf” solution you don’t need.

A key differentiator of virtualDCS, compared with other cloud hosting providers, is that we are not exclusively wedded to the cloud. We have a mix of customers with both on premise and cloud based setups. This provides an interesting challenge for a techy like our Operations Director John, and gives our team variety which keeps everyone interested in different types of projects. But crucially it also gives us an insight into how we can really make a difference and fully understand a client’s architecture.

For example, when J R Rix & Sons asked us to migrate its 30+ physical servers onto the cloud to deliver lower operating costs, we knew exactly what needed to be done. We migrated the servers to a VMWare vSphere platform consisting of three high-spec hosts using HP Proliant servers and an expandable HP fibre channel storage solution, initially with three disk shelves.

 

Rix IT Manager Paul Codd said:

“This allows us to vMotion across the hosts when demand for CPU/RAM is needed without any impact on our users, specifically the successful outcome we were seeking. … Additional benefits included a power reduction to the server room, which helped to reduce our carbon footprint and lower our operating costs.” 

“One of the most satisfying aspects of this project was that we achieved all we had set out to accomplish with virtually no down time.”

Our approach is to work in partnership with our clients to ensure that their infrastructure is also ready to exceed the service currently demanded by their business.

(3) Quantity of data versus GDPR

cloud computing and big data storage

When we talk to CIOs and CTOs, a lot of their current issues are around the

quantity of data they have to manage. Storing data is cheap, so the tendency has been to hoard it. You can buy a 1TB USB flash drive for just for a few pounds. Consequently, companies have tons of data in lots of different places.

But with GDRP you can no longer hoard data without reason. And with cyber security issues frequently resulting in data being extracted from these companies, the financial penalties are huge. Potentially it could bankrupt a company that doesn’t manage its data carefully.

Basically it’s all a big headache that needs cleaning, organising and securely storing. You can do this yourself, but most companies now choose a specialist partner who can do all this more cost effectively and more securely than they can.

(4) Managing backups for multiple operating systems

Businesses are increasingly running multiple operating systems and environments, with more Apple Macs being used as part of the mix. Apple Mac virtual machine users have had to use Apple’s own cloud backups or a separate system for disaster recovery. Of course this equates to additional cost, time and management, with all the complexities that integration between various systems can bring.

We knew there had to be a better way. So we developed integrated apple failover protection for Veeam, becoming the first company globally to offer Veeam Virtual Apple Mac Replication. Our system removes all the costs and hassle of separate disaster recovery backup systems. It provides complete control over all data, effective protection and flexible backup using Veeam Cloud Connect.

For us, the next ten years will see us become more internationally focused. Brexit will probably generate challenges for some of our clients, but the global nature of cloud computing makes it easy to accommodate and diversify.

We will continue to research the best solutions for our clients. For example we’re already heavily involved with Microsoft Azure, but we expect to see huge growth in that are in the next five to ten years.

As a company we will continue to innovate the technologies and we’ve tried to stay quite specialist with that, hopefully that will continue.

If you would like an informal no obligation discussion about finding solutions to your current IT challenges, call us today on 03453 888 327 or email enquiries@virtualDCS.co.uk

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