What had been a gentle trend towards moving workloads to the cloud has now become an essential part of any organization’s delivery of IT with the global pandemic driving this change.
Whilst the benefits of migration of email to Exchange Online are less obvious to the ordinary user, who has long been able to access business emails on mobile devices and via web browsers, the enforced adoption of Microsoft Teams and the supporting services with OneDrive and SharePoint Online have elevated users’ expectations of how they consume IT.
The ability to store, interact, collaborate and share information has promoted the migration of business data to all four of the core Microsoft 365 services, which has brought data protection to the fore, with backup a pre-requisite to full M365 adoption.
As Microsoft makes very clear, they take care of the cloud infrastructure and the service, whilst the protection of your data itself is entirely your own responsibility.
We have had the capability to protect Microsoft 365 data for a few years now, predominantly using backup Exchange Online, for those organizations who understand that an archiving system alone is not a backup.
It is widely known that cyber-attacks are finding their route into businesses data systems via M365, using methods such as phishing and tricking users into exposing access credentials.
The need to persuade businesses of the importance of a backup solution for M365 is becoming easier, and the question is now a case of “what are the backup options before we migrate data to Microsoft 365?” – indeed, there are options and choices to make…
A typical M365 backup solution is delivered as a cloud-to-cloud backup service.
Organizations with a push to move data to the cloud and reduce on-premises infrastructure can be particularly averse to deploying storage again in a data center and will expect their data protection service to assimilate with that cloud backup model.
It is entirely valid to use Microsoft’s own Azure cloud for backup copies, using elastic Blob storage with multi-site redundancy to store data in independent infrastructure to the M365 service.
There are however cases whereby being able to store the backup data in a separate public cloud, such as AWS or the IBM Cloud alleviates any nagging doubts and accelerates approval to proceed with an implementation of the M365 cloud backup service.
For those businesses needing even greater control over data sovereignty, a software-defined solution that backs up data out of the cloud to on-premises storage could be more cost-efficient. Especially considering that backup from M365 does not incur egress charges (in case you were wondering).
It is reasonable to expect any M365 backup service to protect the four key services of Exchange Online, OneDrive, SharePoint Online and Teams.
The latter has been more recently added to some vendors’ offerings and can be a differentiator when comparing details on backup and restore granularity.
Beyond M365, there is also Microsoft Dynamics 365, which can be protected via a cloud-to-cloud backup service. Extending the scope to include Dynamics 365 helps shape the overall design and choice of the delivery platform.
Indeed, we can also account for the fact that applications beyond the Microsoft suite such as Google Workspace and Salesforce should be protected.
As M365 services are consumed on a per-user metric, it makes sense that the complementing backup services also track along the same methods.
Some services wrap the cost of the backup infrastructure (be it cloud or on-premises) into a per-user/per-month cost, while others allow the software to be extrapolated from the infrastructure. This allows a creative deployment using commodity hardware or a ‘bring your own storage’ model.
Not all users may warrant their data being protected, in which case flexible charging models are available.
At Tectrade, we advise organizations on the most appropriate technical solution driven by their required business outcomes.
Not all consumers of SaaS services value their data equally, with many treating OneDrive as a ‘home drive’ replacement and SharePoint as a repository for key business data.
Some will retain backups for weeks, months or years, taking advantage of elastic cloud storage embedded into a service, whilst others will be mindful of controlling storage consumption.
Our Helix Protect services for SaaS backup are underpinned by technology from leading vendors including Dell, IBM, Veeam and AvePoint.
These services are typically delivered as an extension to wider data protection solutions covering traditional and modern workloads both on-premises and in the cloud.
As businesses migrate data to the cloud, our approach ensures that no data is overlooked as the backup catalog evolves through continuous improvement.