Office 365 Mailbox Backup Plan Part-1

Himanshu Goyal
Himanshu Goyal linkedin | Updated On - May 22, 2023 |

Read time 4 minutes

There is no doubt that most organizations have started using Office 365 because it provides a collaborative workplace. It is extremely beneficial for small enterprises as they do not need any initials investments, as in the case of on-premises deployments. At the same time, it provides many security and compliance features. But, an organization should never rely on Office 365 native security features entirely as data can be lost in different ways. So, a regular backup of your data is necessary.

1- Office 365 Mailbox Backup Plan Part-1
2- Office 365 Mailbox Backup Plan Part-2

Why Backup Office 365 Needed ?

Many organizations often think that data created and stored on cloud platforms like Office 365 doesn’t need to be backed up, but this isn’t true. Several reasons make Office 365 backup vital:

  • Deleting a user mailbox or data accidentally.
  • Internal or external security threats which can damage your data, such as malware, viruses, and hackers.
  • Office 365 downtime.
  • Ensuring business continuity in case of data loss from Microsoft data centers.
  • Legal and compliance requirements.
  • Employee exits and removal of user accounts.

Backup Office 365 – Best Practices

In this article, we’ll talk about different aspects of Office 365/Microsoft 365 backup, such as risks associated with Office 365, the methods to backup Office 365, the requirements of Office 365 backup, retention policies of Microsoft, etc. All these points will be help full in the better administration of Office 365 in small, large, and medium enterprises.

Assessing the Risks Associated with Office 365 Cloud

Migrating to a cloud platform like Office 365 is a wise decision, considering the advantages of the cloud. Though there are many Office 365 features for migration, using them is not that easy. There are several risks involved, such as:

  • Data Loss

    It is one of the major concerns for Office 365 users as Microsoft’s backup policies don’t guarantee a complete restore of lost data. Even if the data is retrievable, the process will be complicated and time-consuming.

  • Multi-Layer Protection Issues

    With on-premises Exchange, users have the choice to provide multi-layered security to their email data. But, with Office 365, users get only a single-layered approach to filter malicious emails and files.

  • Limited Protection

    Exchange Online can deal with a number of security risks, such as spam or malware. But, when it comes to protecting your data against phishing and whaling attacks, or malicious links, Exchange Online doesn’t offer sufficient protection.

Microsoft Policies for Backup

If you’re planning to back up your Office 365, then you should know about some policies that Microsoft follows.

  • Retention Policy for Deleted Items Folder

    This policy defines that the deleted items can be saved only for 30 days. However, this policy can be changed according to the user’s needs. The administrator can change these settings by modifying the default MRM policy.

  • Retrieving Permanently Deleted Items from Office 365

    Only Office 365 global administrators who have eDiscovery permissions have the rights to retrieve permanently deleted items from the user’s mailboxes. It will take around 20-30 minutes to recover items from Exchange Online mailbox.

  • Retention Policy for Items in Recoverable Items Folder

    According to Microsoft’s retention policy for recoverable items, the user can search deleted items in MS Outlook for 14 days by default. You can save emails for an unlimited period if the administrator has enabled the Litigation Hold.

Things You Need to Know before Backing Up Office 365

Many organizations often ignore the simple concepts which are necessary to know, such as:

  • Microsoft doesn’t protect your data from human errors like accidental deletion, malicious activity or malware.
  • If you deactivate a user account in Office 365, you’ll lose access to the files created by that user. And paying for the licenses of terminated employees continuously can cost you a fortune.
  • Ensure that the backup solution you choose have the ability to restore data as per your requirements.


You have seen different aspects of backup Office 365 mailboxes, such as its implementation, risks involved in Office 365 migration, retention policies of Microsoft regarding backup, etc. Knowing about all these things can help in the efficient administration of Office 365. Now, let’s take it further and switch to Part-2 to learn about how to backup Office 365 mailboxes.