If your company does not have a plan in place for Office 365 backup and recovery, you do not want to discover this oversight after you’ve suffered mission-critical data loss, a cyberattack, or a natural disaster that takes down operations at your headquarters.

Here are some compelling reasons to implement a full backup and disaster-recovery solution for your Office 365 environment now.

1. Microsoft’s online recycle bins keep your deleted data for just 93 days.

Office 365 applications and services such as Exchange Online and SharePoint Online will hold deleted documents, email messages, and list items for 93 days. That’s all the time you’ll have to retrieve a lost or accidentally deleted file.

In fact, if a user mistakenly empties the recycle bin and later needs to retrieve some of that data, the process gets even more difficult. That additional deletion moves the data to a secondary location, which Microsoft calls a Site Collection recycle bin, for whatever time remains from the original 93 days. To retrieve deleted data from this secondary recycle bin, a user will have to ask for help from a company admin.

Although this three-month window might seem like plenty of time to retrieve lost data, keep in mind that often your staff won’t realize they need an old file or message until many months (or even years) later. At that point, it could be gone forever.

Are you covering your SaaS? Find out if your Software as a Service data is at risk.

2. Recovering permanently deleted data requires help from Microsoft—and it won’t be easy.

As an article on the Microsoft Tech Community explains, retrieving permanently deleted Office 365 data requires direct intervention from Microsoft itself. You will need your company’s admin to submit a data-restore request to Microsoft’s support department, and the admin will need to do this quickly because Microsoft keeps this deleted data only temporarily. Moreover, the restore process typically takes several days. That recovery time will obviously not suffice for time-sensitive data such as your company’s emails and calendars.

Complicating this further, the process restores the entire site in which you lost your data—Microsoft will not hunt down a single deleted document or file for you. This full-site restore could create hours of manual work reconciling the other content in the site, deleting duplicate files, etc.

3. Microsoft itself recommends using a third-party service—other than Microsoft—to back up your Office 365 data.

The Microsoft Services Agreement, which covers all Office 365 products, runs more than 15,000 words. Yet the term “backup” appears only three times. In fact, in all three instances, Microsoft is recommending you set up your own data backup solution with a third-party provider.

We couldn’t agree more.

What’s clear from reviewing all of Microsoft’s marketing literature, technical specs, and support document is that Office 365 is designed to be a cloud-based productivity suite—not a data backup and recovery solution.

And because your company almost certainly maintains mission-critical data in Office 365—corporate email, customer information, intellectual property—keeping that cloud data backed up, secure, and immediately recoverable at all times should be a top priority.

So we highly recommend you follow Microsoft’s suggestion: Implement a backup and recovery solution with a trusted third-party Office 365 data protection expert

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