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Do you need to make backups of Exchange Online?

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For various reasons, switching from on-premises Exchange to Exchange Online is a significant adjustment. These are two different systems that necessitate separate management approaches.

One of the strongest advantages for administrators to switch to a cloud service like Office 365 is that many boring and difficult chores are taken care of. Microsoft and other cloud service providers will take care of setting up new servers, checking hard drives for space, replacing damaged hardware, patching systems, and making backups for your company. On the other hand, Exchange Online backups are an area that demands some care.

We make backups for on-premises systems, so why shouldn’t we do the same for cloud services? It’s a difficult question because the answer varies depending on who you ask.

Microsoft claims that Exchange Online backups aren’t required since it uses Exchange Native Data Protection to deploy hosted email in Office 365, eliminating the requirement for traditional backups (NDP). NDP is a set of characteristics that includes:

Every mailbox is duplicated at least four times in two data centers.

The single item retention functionality allows users to restore deleted mailbox items for 30 days.

In Exchange Online, the default retention setting does not remove mailbox items.

Microsoft can use point-in-time snapshots with lagged databases to recover a copy of the Exchange Online database for 14 days.

Third-party backup companies will inform you that the Office 365 backup solution isn’t ideal.

Administrators from Rouge. If someone in your IT department accidentally deletes user data, Microsoft won’t be able to restore it.

Malware/ransomware. Microsoft can do nothing if a user permanently brings a ransomware infection that encrypts your data.

Microsoft is responsible for the data loss. If a disaster strikes Microsoft’s data centers, your data will be completely erased, and Microsoft will be unable to recover it.

An error by the user. If the administrator has enabled capabilities like single item recovery and legal hold, users may be able to recover their data if they delete it mistakenly.

These third-party sellers’ justifications are, for the most part, exaggerated. If you want to sell an Exchange Online backup product, you’ll need to market it to potential customers. However, there is a possibility that something could go wrong with your data in Exchange Online.

It is possible to achieve anything. You risk losing important data if you don’t use standard backups. As an Exchange Online administrator, it is your job to learn about Microsoft’s built-in recovery solutions and assess whether they are sufficient for your organization’s needs.

Do you know what? I never hear these third-party backup companies talking about when it comes to Exchange Online backup? Restores.

Consider the following scenario: You’re the CIO of a 5,000-user organization that switched to Exchange Online. Please assume that the average user occupies 50% of their mailbox. You purchase an Exchange Online backup package from a third-party vendor that backs up all of your data every night.

On Monday morning, you arrive at work and discover that your Exchange Online data has vanished. You examine your third-party backup product’s online dashboard and notice it conducted a full backup just before the outage.

What are your plans for restoring all of that data? You must recover 250,000 GB of mailbox data in this case, and you may not be able to recover that data into Exchange Online, depending on the outage cause.

Exchange Online backups are often asked questions.

Every consumer has a one-of-a-kind scenario that necessitates distinct legal or regulatory needs. Here are a few questions I’ve received about Exchange Online backups and my responses to assist you in making your decision.

How would you set up the same backup protection with on-premises Exchange if you’re a Fortune 500 company?

Because Exchange Online is not the same as Exchange on-premises, you must approach it and treat it differently. You can’t do things the same way you can with an on-premises solution because Exchange Online runs in a way that puts many things out of your direct control, unlike Exchange Server in the data center. I propose taking advantage of as many Exchange NDP features as possible than looking at solutions to fill up the critical holes for your business.

Which backup vendors for Exchange Online would you recommend, and why?

There are no two vendors’ products that are alike. The functionality and costs of Mimecast, Veeam, Carbonite, and Quest are slightly different. What are the locations in which you require special protection? Once you’ve compiled your list, you’ll need to match it to a product that meets your requirements.

Mimecast, for example, includes an online function that allows users to access email through their portal even when Exchange Online is unavailable. Veeam Backup supports a variety of Office 365 workloads and saves data in the cloud or on-premises architecture. Carbonite’s Office 365 backup package is simple to set up and use. However, it may be missing some capabilities that other suppliers offer. Quest’s products have a lot of features, but they’re more complicated to use.

Someone deleted an email, but the default purge setting caused it to expire (14 days). Is it possible to set something up for these tiny restoration procedures? Should the Office 365 administrator make any changes ahead of time?

It all boils down to what your company requires. Some of the firms I’ve worked with want their data to be stored in the cloud for a short time (usually three years) before being erased. If this is the case for your firm, then havingExchange Online backupscould put you in hot water with the law. Take the time to learn everything you can about your company’s demands, and then figure out how to meet them in various crisis scenarios.

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Linda Barbara

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