With all the ransomware and crypto attacks that are happening these days, I do appriciate more and more the value of having backup of the data. Not just the backup of course, but also ensuring that we can easily restore data when something occurs, such as an company that gets infected by ransomware or data gets corrupted. Now most ransomware happens against on-premises fileshares and system, it is also important to consider the need for backup when you are moving to cloud services such as Office 365 as well. When moving to a SaaS based service, the main responsibility that you have as a consumer is identity access, and the data itself. As for Office 365 and Microsoft, they focus on providing data resiliency.
Microsoft’s primary responsibility is focused on their global infrastructure and their commitment to millions of customers to keep this infrastructure up and running, consistently delivering uptime reliability of their cloud service and enabling the productivity of users across the globe. Office 365 includes built-in data replication, which provides data center to data center georedundancy. This functionality is a necessity.
Now in the space of Office 365 backups there are multiple vendors that can provide this type of solution and to showcase this I took a closer look at Altaro’s Microsoft Office 365 backup solution and how that can be used to protect Office 365 data.
Altaro’s backup service is hosted as its own SaaS service within Microsoft Azure. The service can be connected against multiple Office 365 organizations, as part of the connection to an Office 365 tenant, it will automatically create a Azure AD service principal which will then be used for the backup of the data within that tenant.
Setting up integration with Office365
Defining an access account
Then we need to have a global administrator account which will only be used to automatically create a service principal that will be used to handle backup. The wizard will also configure access to Exchange and Sharepoint to ensure that it has API access to backup data there.
Data will then automatically backed up into Altaro’s Azure Managed infrastructure. The service also provides a multi-tenant offering, meaning that you can integrate with multiple organizations, either if you have multiple Office 365 tenants or you work for a hosting provider this can provide a single product to work against multiple organizations.
In terms of backup schedule, backups are actually taken automatically so there is no option to define a schedule. Upon adding your Office365 Organisation it will immediately start the process of backing the mailboxes. Mailbox backups will all be taken incrementally and are performed up to a maximum of four times a day. You also have the option to backup manually trough the portal. This can be done either per user or site level or using the bulk manage option to define backup.
In terms of restoration, for instance email and or OneDrive the service allows for granular restore options if you need to restore back to a users mailbox/onedrive or if you want to restore to a ZIP archive or PST file depending on preference.
For Sharepoint you use an explorer like feature which displays all the current SharePoint sites in the organization.
Now Altaro has a license per user which is either single annual or multi-year subscription that includes Unlimited storage of backed up data. Also the data is kept forever until a subscription is stopped. Now if you are obligated to have a user backup because of compliance or legal reasons (after an employee has left the company) you can download the ZIP file to ensure that the backup does not apply after the user has left. (Just remember to disable backup for that user as well)
The service also supports email based alerting to ensure that you get notified of backups that fail or restore that fails.
The service also supports MFA authentication (the service hosts its own local user database) which can be used with native MFA apps like Azure authenticator.
It is important to note that for instance in regards to Microsoft Teams, Altaro supports backup of the Teams files and folders but not Teams in general –> https://help.altaro.com/support/solutions/articles/43000479286
In addition to Office 365 backup, Altaro also has other backup services which can be used for
- Virtual Machines Backups (For Hyper-V and VMware)
- Endpoints Backups
- Physical Servers Backups (which also supports any type of machine) for Windows Server
And you can easily sign up for a trial, and since it runs as a SaaS service easily to deploy and scale especially from an MSP perspective.