Return of the data
August 26, 2016
Office 365

Data Loss and Recovery in Office 365

With 60 million monthly-active Office 365 users, and 50,000 small business customers added to Office 365 each month, wouldn’t it be a good idea to understand exactly how this data may be at threat, and how you can recover it if it’s lost? Well, you’re in luck. In this blog post, we’ll highlight those very issues so you can become a true guardian of the data.

Data Loss in Office 365

From basic email to end user files, data loss has become an everyday normality for today’s organizations. When it comes to data loss for businesses, the most common causes are:

  • Accidental deletion (human error)
  • Virus or malware
  • Hard disk or storage damage
  • Software corruption
  • Natural disaster

Microsoft has done a great job to try and mitigate these issues, but is helpless when it comes to the most common cause of data loss in Office 365: human error. In a single slip of a keyboard, a safe and sound critical document can be wiped out forever.

In a survey by the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council, 3 out of 4 surveyed companies had suffered major data loss, that included:

  • Losing mission-critical software applications
  • Losing virtual machines
  • Losing critical files
  • Experiencing multiples days of downtime

Data loss has very real financial implications. In the same study, 20% of the companies surveyed have suffered $50,000 to $5 million in downtime losses due to lost productivity, unrecoverable assets, and lost consumer confidence. The study also found that more than half of companies that will suffer from catastrophic data loss as a result of a natural disaster often go out of business. They simply cannot recover the assets they lost, including customer data, onsite financial documents, application files, etc.

If you can’t bring your business back to normal operations in a little over a week, your chances for business survival plummet. Consumer confidence and employee morale and security are already stretched thin after a disaster, and if your business is not able to resume operations, your competitors will undoubtedly take your customers.

Office 365 as a service has the ability to restore anything within the core environment. In the wake of a catastrophic failure, Microsoft will ensure your data is restored and available through one of the many data centers that it runs specifically for this purpose. It does not necessarily take a catastrophic failure to warrant a restore of service and data. Simple deletion of content, both by end users and administrators, along with policy enforcement, means a restore is often needed.

Data Recovery In Office 365

Let’s say you’ve moved all of your data to Exchange Online and OneDrive for Business. Everything is working as expected until the phone calls start. An employee reports a critical business file has mysteriously disappeared. Based on how Office 365 works, your first option is to utilize any of the Deleted Items recovery mechanisms that have been added to Exchange and OneDrive. However, the main problem here is that the content that needs to be restored falls outside of the range set for retention. So what now?

How do you get data back like this? Within Exchange Online, the only options that Microsoft currently supports are:

  • Deleted item recovery
  • Recovered item recovery
  • Acrhive mailbox recovery
  • Software corruption
  • Request email restore from Microsoft

There are even fewer options for OneDrive for Business:

  • Restore from the Recycle Bin
  • Restore from 2nd-stage Recycle Bin
  • Request site colelction restore from Microsoft

These approaches, though valid, do not have the desired effect of allowing you to backup and restore as needed. Though you can restore specific mail items and files from within both services, only those items stored in the initial fail safe components can be restored. Restoring something that has been permanently deleted and is a year old is highly complex, if not impossible.

Backupify for Office 365, in conjunction with all of the out-of-the-box features that Microsoft provides, will make you the “Jedi” of backup and restore. This will ensure that you have a clear plan and way forward to ensure all organizational data is protected and safe.


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