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Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365: New Capabilities Announced at Ignite

Nov 7, 2019, 17:40 PM by Alex Simons

o365 v4 Veeam

SaaS applications like Microsoft Office 365 (o365) present countless advantages over traditional on-prem service delivery models. The cloud is the new normal for productivity software and o365 applications present an efficient solution to consume IT services and infrastructure on-demand. 

However, the increased flexibility of cloud licensing and the availability of shared cloud storage create a new set of challenges to protect corporate data scattered across third-party environments. This SaaS data sprawl translates into new threats facing data loss and regulatory compliance due to the inability to track, hold, or monitor data through an out-of-the-box deployment.

Veeam Software, the market leader in SaaS data protection, announced the fourth version of their o365 backup platform this past Monday at Microsoft Ignite. This upcoming release provides enhanced data management capabilities to secure cloud-to-cloud (C2C) workloads across o365 applications – with a specific focus on SharePoint and OneDrive for Business. Managed deployments of the Veeam Availability Suite will offer direct integration with Veeam Backup for Office 365 v4 to help Microsoft users centralize SaaS data protection policies with virtual, physical, and endpoint workloads.

Let’s take a look at how digital transformation and an evolving threat landscape have complicated o365 data protection alongside with the key requirements to address these challenges.

Does Microsoft Provide Backup Features?

The Microsoft licensing agreement makes it clear that data stored on o365 applications belongs to the end-user and it is the end-user’s responsibility to protect their data. However, many IT departments just assume that the native o365 recycling bin and version histories serve as an adequate built-in backup solution. A recent survey from 451 Research highlights this misconception as almost half of respondents rely on the SaaS provider for backup and recovery with an additional quarter doing nothing at all [1]:

SaaS Data Protection diagram

Source: 451 Research

The reality is o365 and other SaaS applications provide some level of protection. But it is not an adequate solution to preserve sensitive business data against a breach. A more comprehensive data governance model is required to secure SaaS data from an expanding array of threats facing business continuity.

Microsoft takes extreme steps to ensure the o365 service is available through natural disasters and in-cloud server failures. But they provide no levels of protection against user error - the leading cause of SaaS data loss. To bounce back from these human-caused events or cyberattacks - IT departments require a cloud-to-cloud backup solution with point-in-time restore capabilities and retention policies to transverse back in time prior to the outage.

Backup Requirements for o365 Applications

Given the shared responsibility model that Microsoft Cloud places on their users and the evolving threat landscape - many organizations are turning towards third-party SaaS backup providers to implement cloud-to-cloud solutions. These o365 backup deployments should be capable of efficiently collecting and storing time-indexed o365 backup jobs to facilitate speedy restoration in the event of a system failure. These features should provide extensive security and privacy controls for segmenting access and customizing retention policies based on regulatory mandates. 

IT departments should establish a specific set of requirements when deploying a cloud-to-cloud solution for o365. Implementing the following requirements will streamline the approach to SaaS data protection:

  • Real Backups of o365 Data: The top requirement is that the solution enables IT to have complete control over o365 data. The solution needs to protect corporate data and store it in a separate facility away from the Microsoft cloud environment. It also need to protect the entire o365 environment including SharePoint, Exchange, and OneDrive for Business. The solution needs customizable retention polices to retain backups in a timeframe controlled by IT. The solution should also provide elastic search capabilities to quickly identify specific datasets.
  • Reduction of Backup Silos: IT should be able to consolidate o365 data protection with other cloud backup workloads. Look for a SaaS backup provider that can centralize data management across on-prem virtualized infrastructure, bare metal infrastructure, endpoint devices, and SaaS applications. While not always possible, IT should try to keep the number of data protection solutions to a minimum to reduce administrative overhead.
  • Custom Cloud Environment: Most cloud-to-cloud backup solutions for o365 only provide the ability to replicate backups onto Azure. This would be like copying data to the same hard disk and considering it protected. o365 users should look towards a separate cloud service provider with a customized infrastructure purpose-built for cloud-to-cloud backup. The custom cloud provider should be able to easily host o365 data and ensure a quick recovery in the event of service disruption.
  • Flexible Recovery: Granular levels of recovery are critical across a wide range of o365 applications. The primary purpose of o365 data is to recover from human error or cyberattack. These recovery scenarios require granular backup and restoration workflows to re-spin specific subsets of data or a full production environment. The granular level of recovery should be able to restore o365 applications at both the file-level and object level within Exchange or SharePoint.
  • Complete Support for OneDrive: One of the most puzzling aspects of Microsoft’s backup capabilities is how it supports OneDrive for Business. Restoring an application residing on OneDrive is usually an all-or-nothing proposition. If there is file corruption, accidental deletion, or ransomware attack, IT is often faced with the decision to re-boot the entire account or restore nothing. Most solutions on the market don’t offer the level of granularity that users require. o365 data protection solutions should be able to recover both individual files of full accounts in the event of a malware attack.

All cloud-to-cloud backup solutions should be able to replicate o365 data to a separate cloud environment. But this functionality provides little value if the recovery process is limited by factors such as bandwidth, connectivity, granularity, failed backups, or the inability to restore data to an alternate destination or format. 

Keep o365 Safe with Veeam

Office 365 admins can replicate o365 data to an alternative cloud location through an accredited Veeam Cloud Service Provider (VCSP). This simplifies cloud-to-cloud networking through customizable solution architecture, unified policy management, and professional services to alleviate administrative support.

Veeam Backup for Office 365 integrates with the KeepItSafe network of backup facilities to provide a simple solution to extend o365 data protection through a separate cloud environment. KeepItSafe also leverages PowerShell and the RESTful API to increase functionality and provide additional self-service backup and restore capabilities:

Veeam o365 Diagram

If you’re interested in learning more about KeepItSafe's award-winning solution for o365 data protection, we invite you to download The Five Requirements to a Successful Office 365 Backup Strategy or schedule an o365 solution consultation.

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