When taking advantage of recent upgrades in Microsoft 365® (formerly O365), it’s easy to get excited about new security and operational options and add-ons. Understandably, you’ll tend to focus on setup and rollout, enabling controls that help you meet security best practices and compliance requirements. As you invest your time in ensuring a successful rollout, remember that Microsoft is merely providing you with a powerful platform.
You are still responsible for protecting access to the platform and safeguarding all the data in it. With so many of your organization’s business functions tied to your Microsoft applications, losing any of that data could be disastrous.
Whether your data is on-premises or in a SaaS-based cloud, it makes sense to put a great deal of thought into how you set up your Microsoft 365 environment and protect your data. Why? Consider these six good reasons.
- Accidental or malicious deletion. If you delete a user intentionally or not, that deletion is replicated across the network.
Whether it is through a simple internal error or the actions of a bad actor, wrongfully deleting a user causes lost productivity, internal frustration and even potential liability for evidence tampering if the user or data is related to an eDiscovery inquiry. Under the Shared Responsibility Model, Microsoft’s role is to protect the physical locations of the servers hosting your data. That means data retention and management are your responsibility and, in the event of accidental deletion, Microsoft will not be able to help you retrieve that data. By having a backup, you can restore deleted data either to on-premises Exchange or Office 365.
- Retention policy gaps and confusion. Microsoft retention policies are hard to keep up with, let alone manage. If you are under a compliance requirement to retain data for a particular amount of time, for example, your organization is responsible for making that happen.
Pro tip: Microsoft 365 stores different types of data for various timeframes.
- Deleted Items are sent to the Recycle Bin immediately.
- Inbox and folder data are moved to the archive after two years.
- Auto archived data are moved to the archive after one month.
- Deleted SharePoint Online and OneDrive sites and files are moved to the 1st Stage Recycle Bin and later deleted.
- When employees leave the company, they are permanently deleted.
Whether it is for the GDPR, HIPAA or another regulatory framework, Microsoft is under no obligation to help you meet your compliance requirements. That responsibility lies solely with you. Protect your organization with a backup that provides longer, more accessible retention, all in one place for easy recovery.
- Internal security threats. Threats from inside an organization are happening more often than you think.
Perhaps an employee makes a poor choice and deletes something in error. Or worse, an employee’s credentials become compromised and their access privileges are used to corrupt or delete essential business data. Siloed, offsite backups provide the forensics needed for investigating the incident, restoring data, avoiding disruptions and, in some cases, providing authorities with evidence to prosecute a dishonest employee. Though TRUE’s Incident Response team is available to discreetly manage such situations for you, having a high-grade recovery solution mitigates the risk of critical data being lost or destroyed. Successful incident response and legal strategy require good record keeping.
- External security threats. Many sectors such as financial institutions, healthcare organizations and medical technology providers have seen a sharp uptick in malware over the past year.
Especially where threat actors have targeted Microsoft vulnerabilities in recent months, it is essential to take steps that will enable you to return your Exchange and/or other Microsoft platforms to a pre-infected state. Proper snapshots and backups can easily restore mailboxes to an instance before an attack.
- Legal action & eDiscovery. Losing access to data that may be essential to establishing your organization’s legal position is a scenario no one wants to face.
You can’t possibly have the foresight to know exactly which data may be asked for in the event of an audit or legal battle, but you will certainly want to show that you have followed best practices around data retention. Otherwise, you may lose the grounds you need to provide appropriate documentation in a time of need. Take steps now to ensure you can retrieve mailbox data during legal action and meet any regulatory compliance needs. The investment to simply upgrade your backup solutions to an enterprise-grade tool is likely far less than the cost of lost evidence.
- Managing hybrid email deployments and migrations to Microsoft No matter where you are in your cloud and platform migration projects, data must remain protected and accessible every step of the way.
As a result of increased remote workforce trends, many organizations accelerated their digital transformation goals to more securely accommodate workers, regardless of their location. Whether you are migrating to Microsoft or have a blend of on-premises Exchange and Microsoft users, be sure to manage and protect exchange data the same way, making the source location irrelevant.
Ready to backup your data? Get the support you need.
Working with an industry-leading IT engineering, cybersecurity and compliance provider can ensure your data is protected and your organization is aligned with complex compliance requirements. Wherever you host your Microsoft 365 data — on-premises, in AWS, Azure, a private cloud, or a hybrid model, our TruePRO can flex with your unique environment to offer rapid recovery and keep your business up and running.
If you would like to talk with someone who can guide you through the most effective next steps for backing up your data, feel free to request a consultation with one of our experts. We are always happy to help.