Why you need cloud backups for Office 365

New security features for Microsoft Office 365 2019

Office 365’s popularity has skyrocketed, especially in the small and medium sized business market. From 2015 to 2017, the number of Office 365 subscribers grew from 12.4 million to over 100 million. Its success is largely due to its feature-rich collaboration tools and its low-cost, high-capacity storage services such as OneDrive for Business and SharePoint.

However, many may not realise that even with powerful data management and security capabilities; Office 365 can still be compromised by cunning cyber-attacks and freak accidents. Delve deeper and you will find even more reasons why you should back up your Office 365 data with a comprehensive, cloud-based solution.

Short backup and retention policies

Data breach incidents should be a major concern for Office 365 users because; Microsoft’s data backup and retention policies can’t guarantee full recovery after a certain period. For example, OneDrive and Outlook recycle bins have a default retention period of 30 days; while de-provisioned Office 365 accounts can keep data for up to 90 days. After this; files are lost forever.

While Microsoft now allows admins to extend data retention spans for deleted items; this usually means you have to pay for extra services. What’s worse is that default retention policies vary for each Office 365 application; and if you have specific data requirements, juggling Office 365 backups can be difficult to manage. The point is, Office 365 storage is not intended to be a complete backup solution; and this is why you need alternative backups that can safely archive your data for as long as you need.

Office 365 is not immune to ransomware

Despite Microsoft’s robust threat detection and prevention features; advanced strains of ransomware have found a way to infect Office 365 files. When offline syncing features are enabled; users can work on local copies of Office 365 files and upload any changes to the cloud once they’re back online.

The problem, however is; if a local version of your Office document is infected with ransomware, your computer will still upload corrupted files to your cloud system. Once it’s in the cloud, other employees who have turned on offline syncing will automatically download the ransomware-plagued file to their local drive.

Unfortunately, those who don’t have backups don’t have many options to recover their data. They could choose to pay the hefty ransom to decrypt their data; but even security experts say there is no guarantee that you’ll retrieve any of your files after the transaction is made. With backup solutions like StorageCraft however, your data is backed up regularly; allowing you to recover a fresh copy of your files on a clean workstation in minutes.

Account hijacking

Hackers can also infiltrate your Office 365 accounts in a number of ways. For starters, if your employees use short, easy-to-guess passwords like “123456”, hackers will have no trouble breaking into your account. In some cases, simply going through your social media feed can help hackers figure out the answer to password reset questions like “What’s your pet’s name?”

Other than that, they can also distribute phishing emails to trick people into giving away their login credentials or downloading malware to breach the system. Once inside, hackers can do whatever they want to your account. They can inject malware into the system, corrupt your files, or wipe out all your data. When this happens; only a cloud backup can help you get out of this mess.

Employees can put your data at risk

Research suggests that 64% of data loss events are caused by insiders. Although Microsoft does all it can to protect their customers from data loss; users can still accidentally or intentionally delete important files, making data recovery difficult.

As stated in Microsoft’s Trust Center, “With Office 365, it’s your data. You own it. You control it.” This means it’s up to you to minimise the risk of user-driven data loss. By having an extra copy of your data that can be accessed only by administrators; you at least have a safety net for when users make mistakes in Office 365.

Uptime guarantees are not perfect

With a financially backed guarantee of 99.9% uptime; Office 365 is undoubtedly one of the most reliable cloud solutions available. But if you fail to address the remaining 0.1%, your business can suffer significant data loss, extended periods of downtime, and huge financial damages.

Just this year, the Amazon Web Services outage showed businesses how much damage 0.1% of downtime can do. During the outage, around 148,000 websites went down and tens of thousands of users couldn’t access their cloud data.

The lesson here is you shouldn’t keep your data in a single platform. If Microsoft were to suffer the same system-wide outage, you wouldn’t have any means to access your files. But by storing copies of your data in a private cloud environment; you and your employees can continue working without any disruptions.

Data compliance

Last but not least, data security regulations set by the Australian Privacy Principles (APP) require companies to protect personal information from loss or modification. Failure to comply with these principles could lead to penalties of up to $340,000 for individuals or up to $1.7 million for organisations. Therefore, the best way to avoid these fines is by pairing secure backups to your Office 365.

While we fully endorse Office 365, we firmly believe that you need an extra layer of insurance against downtime, cloud ransomware, account hijacking, data loss, and non-compliance. If you’re looking for a backup solution that can help you solve all these problems, consider Empower IT.

We can design, install, and implement high-performance, fully tested cloud backups that can keep your business safe. Give us a call today to check out our robust data backup services.