Should You Back Up Your Microsoft 365 Tenants? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

Should You Back Up Your Microsoft 365 Tenants? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

March 22, 2023

$6.7 million. That’s how much a single enterprise organization of 5,000 employees spends on Microsoft 365 over the course of just three years.

As an enterprise IT leader, it’s only natural that you’d want to secure an investment of that size with the appropriate failsafes to ensure that no data or configuration is lost in case of an outage.

At Simeon, we have helped organizations like Aegis Innovators, GCM Grosvenor, and Navi automate their Microsoft 365 admin duties with a focus on security and compliance. In that time, we’ve learned a thing or two about protecting companies from data loss and service disruptions.

Want to learn more about what you can do to keep your Microsoft 365 setup safe with the right backup solution? Keep reading!

Should You Back Up Microsoft 365? Yes, Here’s Why

Whether you’re an enterprise organization or a managed service provider catering to them, creating a secure backup of your configurations and data is a must-have to ensure protection, accountability, and continuity. Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Malware Protection: You should always back up your Microsoft 365 setup to ensure that any malicious attacks, such as malware and ransomware, don’t corrupt or destroy system data. 
  2. Data Recovery: Backing up Microsoft 365 data and configurations will ensure that IT engineers can easily recover any lost data due to system malfunctions or other unforeseen issues. 
  3. System Updates: Backups will enable you to easily restore the system to an earlier state if a system update fails or causes unexpected issues. This will help avoid having to manually troubleshoot each issue.
  4. Easier Migration: IT engineers may need to migrate their system's data to a different environment or platform. Backing up your data and configurations will make the process much easier and faster.
  5. Regulatory Compliance: Backups are crucial for data-heavy enterprises that need to comply with regulations like GDPR and HIPAA. This ensures that their data is secure and that there’s an audit trail to ensure proper accountability.

Data Backup vs Configuration Backup: What’s the Difference?

Microsoft 365 environments are made of two kinds of elements — data and configuration.

Data consists of all the documents, emails, chat histories, video recordings, calendar events, and other user-specific data tied to your tenant account. Backing it up is essential to protecting your organization against data loss from external security threats like ransomware attacks and internal errors like accidental deletion.

Configuration consists of the user accounts, user roles, system settings, security policies, and other metadata that make up your organization’s tenant. These are the things that keep your account running under the hood, making them equally important to back up.

When most people think of backing up Microsoft 365, they’re talking about data. But, securing your configuration files and system settings can be just as important for business continuity to ensure that you can get your tenant up and running again in the event of a breach or attack.

Microsoft 365 Data Backup

Microsoft Office 365 features a host of productivity tools for enterprise workspaces, but it does not offer a comprehensive backup solution to secure your company’s critical data. It offers limited support for data retention and data recovery, but default policies only protect data for 30-90 days and some data is automatically deleted after 14 days.

By default, Microsoft lets you regularly backup all your data every 12 hours. However, there’s no system for storing individual files and no self-service recovery option for enterprises. The only way to restore files is to recover your entire file system from a previous version, which may or may not be feasible depending on the circumstances.

Thankfully, third-party backup solutions do exist for Microsoft 365. Veeam and Acronis, for example, use a cloud-to-cloud storage model to backup data in a separate server. These files can then be restored on demand in the event of a data breach or security incident.

Microsoft 365 Configuration Backup

When it comes to backing up your Office 365 configuration files — such as user data, system settings, and security policies — the options available are few and far between. The only “native” solution for backing up configuration files is to use Microsoft 365 DSC, an open-source module for PowerShell.

Microsoft 365 DSC can be used to create a snapshot of your current tenant configuration across services like Exchange Online, SharePoint, Teams, and more. This snapshot is then exported to a file that can be used to restore your tenant configuration to that state at any point in future.

However, Microsoft 365 DSC is very code-heavy and often not intuitive enough for large-scale enterprise organizations. At Simeon, we have developed the first premium end-to-end configuration management and backup solution for Microsoft 365, which uses a no-code web interface to easily backup, monitor, and restore tenant configurations. 

3 Powerful Solutions for Backing Up Microsoft 365 Tenants

Looking for a third-party backup service to securely store your data and configurations across Microsoft 365? Here are a few third-party apps and platforms to choose from:

Simeon Cloud: One-Click Backup-and-Restore for Microsoft 365 Configurations

It’s 2023. Yet, Microsoft Office still has no reliable native or third-party backup tools for tenant settings and configuration files. Until now.

Simeon Cloud is an end-to-end configuration management, monitoring, and backup solution that automates all your admin duties for Microsoft 365. Using our no-code web portal, you can manage security policies, monitor ongoing drift, and backup tenant configurations across M365.

Unlike open-source tools like Powershell DSC, Simeon is an end-to-end solution that offers a host of premium features for securing and managing your Office 365 environment without code. It’s the perfect step-up for enterprise organizations looking to simplify their admin workflows without the additional overhead of managing a code-heavy solution.

Veeam Backup: Secure Data Backup for Microsoft 365, Salesforce, and Kubernetes

Veeam is a backup tool and recovery solution that specializes in securing files across Office 365 services like Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business and Microsoft Teams. It also works with other systems and platforms like Salesforce, and Kubernetes.

Veeam differentiates itself by offering a high degree of control over how and where your data is stored. You can backup your data to any on-premises or cloud-based storage location, including Amazon S3, Azure Blob, IBM Cloud, or S3-compatible on-premise storage options.

While it doesn’t offer configuration backup, Veeam is a robust solution for many businesses looking to secure their data using a cloud-to-cloud storage platform.

Acronis Cyber: Fast and Easy Data Backup for Microsoft 365 Enterprise Users

With its headquarters in Switzerland, Acronis is an industry leader in data backup and disaster recovery solutions for enterprises. Through its Cyber Protect Cloud product line, Acronis offers endpoint protection, email security, and data loss prevention for Microsoft 365.

Acronis Cloud Backup is one of the fastest disaster recovery solutions available thanks to its runVM technology, enabling businesses to get back up and running within near instantaneously.

Apart from Microsoft 365 and OneDrive, Acronis also works with other cloud solutions like Google Workspace and VMWare, making it a good choice for enterprises using multiple cloud workspace platforms.

For Comprehensive M365 Security, Be Sure to Back Up Both Data and Configurations

If you want to get your systems back online as quickly as possible after an attack or outage, backing up your cloud data simply isn’t enough. Apart from standard data, Microsoft 365 runs on a host of configurations and settings that are stored under the hood in the form of code. 

If you don’t have a process for recovering these system configurations and restoring your admin settings as quickly as possible, it can take days for your tech team to manually re-configure the thousands of different settings offered by Microsoft.

Unfortunately, the only way to backup your configuration settings until now has been to run PowerShell commands through the Microsoft 365 DSC module. However, this process is error-prone and code-heavy, leaving a huge gap for a true end-to-end solution for securing and managing configuration files.

Simeon Cloud is the only premium configuration management tool that offers a complete solution to Microsoft 365 for automating security, compliance, and administration processes. 

With features like daily automatic backups, one-click point-in-time recovery, and ongoing drift detection for all your configuration settings across Microsoft 365 Admin Center, Exchange Online, Teams, SharePoint Online, Azure AD, and Intune — you can rest easy. 

Want to learn more about how Simeon can help you automate and secure your Microsoft 365 configurations at scale? Request a free demo today!