Microsoft 365 boasts some of the most advanced cloud security in the world. The company is continually releasing new updates and security innovations to ensure that its customers remain protected when storing their data in the cloud. However, despite this well-established reputation for security, mistakes can still happen, and no platform can ever be 100% immutable. And this is why it’s a smart idea to backup the data you hold in Microsoft 365.

Let’s see why you need to backup Microsoft 365 data, before looking at simple steps you can follow to do this.

Why you need to backup Microsoft 365 data

Microsoft themselves recommend that customers backup data in the cloud with a third-party provider. This might at first seem surprising – many businesses have come to believe that all data held in the cloud is protected by the cloud provider. This is true to an extent, but it is based around what Microsoft call a ‘shared responsibility model’.

Microsoft will take responsibility for protecting your data from natural disasters, attacks, operating system failures, or infrastructure problems. They will not, however, provide backup and retention for other risks like:

  • Accidental deletion by your employees
  • Phishing
  • Viruses
  • Data loss related to company and personal devices

Microsoft also has strict data retention rules. For any ‘soft’ deletions (i.e. when someone deletes a file in SharePoint online), the data will be held for 93 days but is then permanently deleted.


Stay safe: Simple steps to improve security in Microsoft 365


How to backup Microsoft 365 data

If your organisation uses Microsoft 365, backing up data is vital for a variety of reasons. It ensures you can restore content quickly if it’s ever accidentally deleted, can avoid serious losses if you are victim to a ransomware attack and, just as importantly, gives you peace of mind that your data will be accessible whenever you need. In some industries, this kind of backing up is required for regulatory purposes.

So, how can you go about backing up Microsoft 365 data? Here are some simple steps to follow:

  1. Identify your risks

The first step in any Microsoft 365 backup plan is to identify all the potential risks facing the data you hold in the cloud. The severity and nature of these risks will vary according to your business. In some sectors, for instance, the biggest risk might come from malicious attackers using ransomware to steal money. In other industries, the biggest risk could be non-compliance through accidentally deleting essential documents.

To identify your risks, it is valuable to sit down with stakeholders across the business to learn about what data is most mission-critical, how often they use it, and when they update it.


  1. Create a data loss prevention plan

Once you have identified your risks, the next task is to prioritise them and identify the kinds of data that need to be backed up. By classifying your data, you can then apply specific rules to different types of content.

For instance, you might decide to rank your data as either high priority, medium priority or low priority. High priority data would be any kind of business-critical information that needs to be backed up hourly. Middle priority data could be safely backed up once per day, and low priority is anything that could be backed up weekly (or even less often).


  1. Choose a Microsoft 365 data backup tool

Now that you have prioritised content to be backed up, you’ll need to choose the technology to do it. There are several cloud backup and restore tools available on the market, so it’s worth spending time exploring different technologies to get a feel for how they work and which is most appropriate for your business.

Some cloud backup tools specialise in backing up data from just one cloud platform (e.g., only Google Drive), while others cover several different providers. It’s worth making sure that any cloud backup tool you use meets your minimum requirements.


  1. Implement your data loss prevention plan

Once you have selected the right Microsoft 365 backup tool for your business, the final step is to implement your plan.

In the first instance, you will need to perform a full backup of your entire Microsoft 365 content. This can take some time, and so it is usually recommended to do this in stages – over the weekends or at night.


Once the initial backup has been completed, it is then simply about performing backups at the frequency you need to keep your business protected.


Read: Why your business needs to backup data already in the cloud


Support with backing up Microsoft 365

At FITTS, we know just how important it is for businesses to protect and secure their Microsoft 365 data. And that’s why we partner with Veeam, the leading cloud backup solution, to help you protect your company from data loss, breaches or accidental deletion – in Microsoft 365 and any other clouds you use.

Contact us today to begin backing up your Microsoft 365 data.