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Office 365 is a flexible and powerful cloud platform that functions based on Microsoft’s infrastructure. Being a Microsoft product, the top priority of Office 365 is to offer business continuity, data redundancy, and high availability of cloud services. Yet, Microsoft doesn’t provide a comprehensive backup of Office 365 data, even if you have the highest subscription plan. To upgrade your subscription plan, read “How to Upgrade Microsoft 365 Subscription?

Backup of Office 365 is a crucial aspect for organizations relying on it for various reasons. Besides, Microsoft clearly states that it is only responsible for data availability and data protection. If any data is lost in Office 365, Microsoft is not responsible for its recovery. So, if you’re using Office 365 for storing your data, you need to back it up continuously to avoid any disasters.

Why Back Up Office 365 Data?

There are various situations that ask for Office 365/Microsoft 365 backup, and each of them is justified. Let’s look at the top reasons to back up your Office 365 data.

  • To recover data if it is lost due to accidental deletion, malicious activities, etc.
  • To protect your data against any ransomware attacks and phishing
  • To overcome the limitations of the eDiscovery tool, which is only used for legal and litigation purposes
  • Disruptions and outages of Microsoft services can lead to downtime and data loss
  • Microsoft cannot protect your data from all external security threats
  • Complicated process to back up emails from Outlook

The above points clearly say why it is crucial to backup Office 365. But what are the best practices for backup Office 365? How can you back up the data without losing anything?

In this informative article, we will take you through the best practices of Office 365 backup & restore to help you protect and store your data securely.

Best Practices for Office 365/ Microsoft 365 Backup

There are various steps you can take to backup Office 365 data, applications, and mailboxes. Some of which includes:

  1. Determine the Data You want to Protect – Office 365 is equipped with many data monitoring features, including app usage reports that allow you to verify the active users and storage space acquired in the cloud. So, the first rule of thumb is to calculate the amount of storage space used per user and then identify what data is necessary. It’s better to pay for backup storage rather than spending money on recovering lost data without a backup.
  2. Protect the Required Office 365 Applications – Office 365 has multiple applications that are used for various purposes. So, it would help if you defined what applications and data need to be protected.
    • Email Backup – Backup applications like Outlook, Exchange Online, including the calendars, emails, accounts, and SharePoint data
    • Backup Files Stored in OneDrive – OneDrive is used to store most of the Office 365 data, including documents and media files. To backup OneDrive data, enable versioning and retention period in the recycle bin. These features are helpful for short-term data recovery.
    • SharePoint Backup – SharePoint is a CMS and collaboration platform, which includes lists and libraries. Make sure this data is protected if users use it for their tasks.
  3. Follow the 3-2-1 Backup – The 3-2-1 is the best backup strategy you can follow to back up your data. This thumb rule states that you must have at least three copies of data, including a copy of production data, two backup copies on two different media, one of them stored offline. For example, you can keep the first backup copy on the production server, the second copy on the NAS in your office, and the third copy on a disk or copy offsite.

    It is not advisable to store backups Office 365 on OneDrive or SharePoint, as the cloud platform can be a victim of ransomware. So, always back up the data on servers in your office or data center, NAS devices, or USB hard disk drives.

  4. Configure Retention Policies – Retention policies are the best functionalities of Office 365 that define how long data can be stored before it gets deleted permanently. Office 365 retention settings allow you to keep deleted items in Recycle Bin with a retention period of 93 days. You can configure the retention policies in Office 365 to store your data accordingly. However, items are deleted automatically from Recycle Bin if the stored data exceeds the storage quota.
  5. Enable Versioning – Versioning is another excellent feature of Office 365 that can be used to preserve previous versions of SharePoint documents and files on OneDrive. This practical functionality allows you to recover data that was lost due to corruption or unwanted changes. However, if you want to store multiple versions, you need additional storage space in your Office 365. Make sure you have adequate space in your Office 365 account before storing versions.
  6. Backup Office 365 Data Continuously – Out of all the practices, the essential method is to back up your Office 365 data continuously. A disaster can take place anytime without informing you. Thus, it is vital to backup your data regularly. If you use Office 365 every day for data storing, communication, and other activities, consider backup of Office 365 every day. However, if you don’t use it for daily purposes, you can backup your mailboxes once a week.

    Also, you need to use an alternative utility that offers incremental backups to save space during regular backups. The data will not be rewritten during backups with incremental backups, enabling you to save storage space and time.

  7. Use an Automated Solution for Backup & Recovery – The native methods are not helpful if you want a regular backup of Office 365. That’s why you need an automated solution that offers incremental backup and recovery for Office 365 data. It allows you to backup specific emails rather than the entire Office 365 data. Moreover, the automated solution will enable you to back up your OneDrive and SharePoint data all at once.

For example, Kernel Office 365 Backup & Restore is an advanced tool that allows you to backup Office 365/Exchange mailboxes to PST files and secures your data. It is equipped with intelligent capabilities that enable quick backup of Office 365 mailboxes. The tool even backup multiple mailboxes at once while filtering data on different criteria, such as item type, date, include/exclude empty folders, etc. You can even reduce the mailbox sizes by deleting unnecessary data from your Office 365 mailbox.


No doubt, Office 365 is an excellent platform for collaboration, communication, and storage of data. But, you cannot entirely rely on Microsoft’s security to protect your data. Thus, creating a regular backup is crucial to protect your data at every stage. This article highlights the best practices to backup Office 365 mailboxes while discussing an alternative solution to help you back up multiple mailboxes simultaneously with incremental backup.