Backup Recommendations for Office 365

How reliable is Office 365 retention policy and is it considered a good backup?
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WORKS2011Austin Tech CompanyAsked:
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Schnell SolutionsSystems Infrastructure EngineerCommented:
It is very reliable, however, even if it brings many similar characteristics to a backup, it is not exactly the same.

Let's assume that you are using litigation hold in O365, which is one of the most common ways for preserving data even after it has been deleted or modified. If for some reason one administrator removes the 'hold' you might end up losing data. i.e. a case where the data deleted is larger than the maximum size for retained data of the mailbox. It means that under certain scenarios we can lose data and it will not be anywhere else. However, it depends from the company if these extreme risks should be mitigated or not according to the business needs.


Despite of what I mentioned before, the retention mechanisms work exactly like they are setup according to their settings and retention levels. The O365 service is highly reliable and most of the companies end up without configuring any special third party backup components. For these cases when the availability of the historical data is a must, and even the extreme cases are not desired, they end up been the exceptions and they configure additional third party applications/services for backing up the data.
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WORKS2011Austin Tech CompanyAuthor Commented:
Thank you for the follow up and I'm going to answer more after this post . One concern I have with anything in the cloud is when my business is accountable for my clients data and a pop up like this appears. 1. I can't access data and have to wait, or have to find a new place to search for it. Makes me question if anything is different, missing, along with other questions as I didn't initiate the change. 2. when a clients business is in-house the policies in place don't change until the COO created a plan and signed off on it. It's as if Microsoft is the COO and can make changes without much notice without the liability. If they make a mistake (which I know is rare) and my clients data is not available after making changes on the backend it's ultimately my business held accountable which places me in an awkward position with my client. In-house this is never the case, policies have to be updated but we don't have EU (one example) to worry about and can adjust for changes in a timely manner that protect my clients data and continue to keep them compliant.
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WORKS2011Austin Tech CompanyAuthor Commented:
Let's assume that you are using litigation hold in O365
to make my point, this is from Microsofts site
MS lit hold
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The Five Tenets of the Most Secure Backup

Data loss can hit a business in any number of ways. In reality, companies should expect to lose data at some point. The challenge is having a plan to recover from such an event.

Schnell SolutionsSystems Infrastructure EngineerCommented:
I second your point having the same ideas and concerns from a long time ago, that is the 'cloud'.


Another example is the implementation of TLS 1.2 or higher for Exchange Online by the end of this year. It will increment the security and adjust the Exchange web services to the current standards. But it does not necessarily means that the clients are ready to do that.
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WORKS2011Austin Tech CompanyAuthor Commented:
...it depends from the company if these extreme risks should be mitigated or not according to the business needs.

agree 100%
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WORKS2011Austin Tech CompanyAuthor Commented:
The O365 service is highly reliable and most of the companies end up without configuring any special third party backup components.
I've been in business for 15 years and like when my clients ask me, "are we protected" and I can feel 100% saying yes. Especially after they follow up with a nightmare story another firm went through (this part not so crazy about). It's nice to say, "I got you covered" and feel 100% about it and know that I do  because I designed the network, can access it, and I know "the cloud" is not going to make any changes. As well the "cloud" is just another server, so with extremely reliable networks doesn't it make more sense to have an in-house solution. The case can certainly be made the cloud is not everything it's hyped up to be. Data that's not business critical, it's awesome, when law-suits can start flying around and accountability is concerned. Not so convincing.

For these cases when the availability of the historical data is a must, and even the extreme cases are not desired, they end up been the exceptions and they configure additional third party applications/services for backing up the data.
I have many hybrid networks, used the clouds for backups, and manage Office 365 for many clients. However the clients that ask the question above "are we protected" and their's trust involved not just a legal contract to protect everyone when things go south it's getting harder to answer that question when dealing with the cloud.  

I've never enjoyed being a business that designs a network then follows it up with 10 pages of legal jargon to protect the "in this event or that..." to protect itself from issues like we're talking about here. It's the same reason TIme Warner, Spectrum, Charter is an epic mess. Over sold, too many people involved, and when their services go down it's everyone else's issue. Yet they continue to grow.
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