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Summary: Office 365 offers collaboration and convenience, but relying solely on its native security features can lead to data loss. This article highlights the need for regular data backup in Office 365, covering risks associated with the cloud, Microsoft’s backup policies, and best practices. Understanding these aspects is crucial for efficient Office 365 administration.

Certainly, many organizations have adopted Office 365 for its collaborative capabilities, particularly benefiting small enterprises with minimal upfront investments compared to on-premises solutions. While Office 365 offers robust security and compliance features, complete reliance on its native security isn’t advisable due to potential data loss scenarios. Therefore, regular data backup remains a crucial necessity.

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

Why Backup Office 365 Needed ?

It’s a common misconception among many organizations that data generated and stored on cloud platforms like Office 365 doesn’t require backup; however, this belief is not accurate. 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 delve into various facets of Office 365/Microsoft 365 backup. This includes discussing the risks associated with Office 365, methods for backing up Office 365 data, the prerequisites for performing Office 365 backup, and Microsoft’s retention policies. These insights are invaluable for efficiently administering Office 365 across businesses of all sizes.

Assessing the Risks Associated with Office 365 Cloud

Transitioning to a cloud platform like Office 365 is a prudent choice, given the myriad benefits it offers. However, harnessing the migration capabilities within Office 365 can be a complex endeavor. This complexity exposes organizations to several potential risks, including:

  • Data Loss

    This is a significant worry for Office 365 users because Microsoft’s backup policies do not assure a seamless recovery of lost data. In cases where data can be retrieved, the retrieval process tends to be intricate and time-consuming.

  • Multi-Layer Protection Issues

    While on-premises Exchange allows users to implement multi-layered security measures for their email data, Office 365 offers a single-layered approach for filtering malicious emails and files.

  • Limited Protection

    While Exchange Online effectively handles various security risks like spam and malware, it falls short in providing adequate protection against data threats such as phishing, whaling attacks, and malicious links.

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’ve explored various facets of Office 365 mailbox backup, including its implementation, risks associated with Office 365 migration, and Microsoft’s retention policies concerning backup. Understanding these aspects is essential for efficiently administering Office 365. Now, let’s take it further and switch to Part-2 to learn about how to backup Office 365 mailboxes.