Disaster recovery (DR) is a set of policies, procedures, and tools aimed at restoring and maintaining business continuity in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.
DR involves planning, preparing, and implementing measures to minimize the impact of such events on the organization's essential functions and services. It plays a crucial role in ensuring the availability, integrity, and security of IT systems and data, minimizing downtime, and preventing data loss.
When it comes to Microsoft 365, disaster recovery refers to the strategies and solutions put in place to protect an organization's Microsoft 365 data and services, such as emails, documents, and applications, in the event of a disaster.
Microsoft 365 has built-in features that help maintain service availability, protect data, and facilitate recovery as needed. However, a number of third-party M365 backup and recovery platforms with advanced features also exist that can help create more comprehensive failsafes for M365.
Let's talk about everything you need to know to create a comprehensive disaster recovery plan for Microsoft 365. The guide will help you develop a plan that secures not only your data, but also the configurations and policies responsible for managing Microsoft 365.
Microsoft 365 may be a highly capable productivity solution, but it's still subject to various threats that could impact an organization's operations. By creating a disaster recovery plan for M365, you can protect your business from the following unexpected scenarios:
If you want to build a truly comprehensive disaster recovery plan for Microsoft 365, you will have to take both data and configurations into account. There's a variety of data sets and configuration policies that need backing up across different applications and services, such as Office 365, Azure, Azure AD, Intune, SharePoint, Teams, and Exchange Online. Here's an overview of each:
Microsoft 365 includes built-in backup and retention mechanisms up to a certain extent to help organizations protect their data and ensure business continuity. These features are designed to prevent data loss, recover deleted items, and comply with minimum regulatory requirements. However, they also come with several limitations that prevent them from serving as a full-fledged backup and recovery solution. For example:
Where built-in backup and retention systems prove insufficient, a number of third-party solutions exist to help you create a more thorough disaster recovery program for Microsoft 365. These tools take advantage of Microsoft's built-in Application Programming Interface (API) to integrate with services like Office 365, Azure, Azure AD, Intune, etc. and pull your data and configurations for storage off-site. Here's a brief overview of how it works:
If you're looking for a third-party platform to automate your disaster recovery plan for Microsoft 365, there are lots of options to choose from. These tools integrate with Graph API to pull your data from services like Office 365, Azure, Azure AD, and Intune — then storing it securely in an on-premises or cloud-based storage solution. They also offer a number of additional features, such as eDiscovery, to make it easier to back up and selectively recover data sets. For example:
Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 is a popular solution designed to protect your organization's data within the Microsoft 365 environment. It ensures that all critical data across Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, and Microsoft Teams is securely backed up — while allowing for on-demand restoration of individual items, such as emails, documents, list items, mailboxes, and folders.
Veeam's solution helps organizations meet compliance requirements by allowing them to maintain control over their Microsoft 365 data. It also provides additional features like eDiscovery to aid in the identification and retrieval of specific data sets. The storage architecture is designed to support organizations of any size, making it a suitable option for small businesses, enterprises, and everything in between.
AvePoint Cloud Backup is a robust backup and recovery solution for Microsoft 365 that supports Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Microsoft Teams, Project Online, and more. It performs automatic backups of your data up to four times a day, ensuring that your organization's data remains protected and up-to-date. Organizations can customize their backup schedules to meet their specific requirements and preferences.
AvePoint AvePoint offers unlimited storage for your backups, while also allowing for easy and precise recovery of individual items or entire datasets, depending on your organization's specific needs. Backups are encrypted and stored securely in AvePoint's cloud, which is compliant with various security standards, such as GDPR, HIPAA, and FedRAMP.
Simeon Cloud is an end-to-end solution that automates configuration management for Microsoft 365. Unlike the other platforms on this list, Simeon does not focus on data backup. Instead, it's one of the only tools that specialize in helping you back up and restore your configurations, policies, and settings across Microsoft 365.
Simeon provides automated backup and restore services for a range of Microsoft 365 configurations, including Office 365, Azure, Azure AD, Intune, SharePoint, Teams, and Exchange Online. It allows for granular recovery of specific configurations or entire system states with the click of a button, with full version control and audit logging capabilities.
It's not enough just to back up your files and data. If you want to create a foolproof disaster recovery plan for M365, you also have to take the settings, policies, and configurations that power your cloud environment into account.
Microsoft 365 features thousands of potential configurations spread across hundreds of different screens, portals, and dashboards — making it impossible to keep a manual record of your system configurations. So, when your tenant is compromised due to an external attack or internal error, having a backup of those configuration files along with your business data is crucial to ensuring continuity of your cloud infrastructure.
When creating a disaster recovery plan for Microsoft 365, be sure to use both built-in and third-party solutions to create a backup plan for your documents, folders, assets, settings, policies, and configurations. That way, getting up and running after an attack or outage is as easy as falling back to a previous version of your system state.
While there's an unending list of data backup solutions to choose for when it comes to Microsoft 365, solutions that enable you to back up your configurations and settings are few and far between. Until recently, your only option would have been to go through the tiresome process of manually create PowerShell scripts to pull your configurations using Microsoft Graph so that you can store them in an offsite location.
However, Simeon Cloud is the first premium automation tool that enables you to back up your configuration files using a no-code web interface. The process is faster, more efficient, and more resilient against the changing compliance landscape.
Want to learn more about how you can use Simeon Cloud to create a backup strategy for your M365 configurations as part of your larger disaster recovery plan? Request a free demo today to find out!