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Cloud Computing|Hybrid Cloud|Microsoft Azure|Office 2016|Office 365

Office 365 Hybrid Cloud Data Protection Considerations

Office 365 might be the biggest driver for cloud adoption that there has been so far. Since Microsoft introduced Office 365 back in 2011, businesses have adopted it en masse making it the most widely used cloud app – providing essential office apps like Words, Excel and PowerPoint.

Microsoft Office 365 requires downloading the suite and agreeing to an annual or monthly subscription — you can’t buy it on a disc. Once downloaded, it does need to connect to the cloud every 31 days or it goes into reduced functionality mode. One big reason for the widespread adoption of Office 365 is the multi-device licensing which allows the use of Office 365 on 5 PCs or Macs, 5 tablets, and 5 phones.

Office 365 itself is integrated with OneDrive for cloud document storage but you can also choose to save documents locally. For businesses, the ability to provide cloud-based hosted email is another great reason to choose Office 365 as it can replace the need to run your own email servers and reduce your complexity locally.

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Data Protection and Office 365 Mailboxes

Just because Office 365 is in the cloud that doesn’t mean that your data is automatically protected. It’s still important for you to remain in control of your own data and you need the ability to backup and recover Office 365 data. This is especially true for your email data. Email is the backbone of almost all communication for most businesses. Even though Microsoft hosts the infrastructure, it’s still your responsibility to back up your Office 365 email data. You don’t want to be in the situation where you have lost some critical emails and your only option is to send Microsoft a support ticket and hope for the best. Microsoft protects you against hardware and software failures.  However, data loss can also come from a number of other sources including:

  • Human error
  • Program and application errors
  • Malware and ransomware
  • External Hackers
  • Malicious insiders

Remember, it’s not enough to just rely on Microsoft to protect your data. Taking control of your Office 365 email backups through PST files or using third-party backup applications can help to protect your businesses vital email data.

Data Protection and OneDrive

You also need to consider data stored on OneDrive. OneDrive data is protected from hardware failure but does not provide a separate secure archived copy to protect from user deletions. Like the Windows desktop, OneDrive provides a recycle bin. If you have a Microsoft account, items in the recycle bin are automatically deleted after 30 days. If you’re using a work or school account then the items in the recycle bin are automatically deleted after 93 days. Also, like the Windows desktop, these recycle bins can be manually emptied at any time. If OneDrive is your primary data storage location you should consider including it in your regular backup routines.


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Michael Otey is president of TECA, a technical content production, consulting and software development company in Portland,
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