While the end might just be in sight for the global COVID-19 pandemic, it’s impact on the way we work is likely to be longer term. We expect work-from-home to remain a popular option, even after lockdown restrictions lift. Last year demonstrated that people in a wide range of industries could perform almost as well from home as from an office.
Cloud collaboration has been a key factor in making all this possible. Microsoft’s Office 365, in particular, does exactly what the name suggests: it enables a familiar MS Office experience anywhere, anytime. Thanks to Office 365, your workforce is leveraging the same powerful tools from home as they would from a physical workplace. And because it all takes place in the cloud, collaboration, storage and backups become non-issues.
Except, that’s not quite how it works. Since it’s a cloud-based productivity suite, most Office users assume that Microsoft guarantees data backups and availability. By default, Office 365 comes with basic data storage and backup capabilities. However, Microsoft’s own service agreement makes it clear that Office 365’s built-in backup capabilities aren’t ideal for enterprise use cases. Here’s what it says:
“We recommend that you regularly back up your content and data that you store on the services or store using third-party apps and services.”
The problem here is that because backup functionality exists (in basic form), many business owners assume that Microsoft guarantees continuity, data security and availability. In reality, Office 365’s backup and data security capabilities are suited more to personal, not business use. If you’re relying on Office 365’s built-in functionality, it’s important to step back, revisit your approach and understand what you could do to ensure the security and availability of your data.
Let’s start with the why: how does your business benefit from managed IT services for Office 365?
How Third-Party Office 365 Management Helps You Succeed
Stymie Bad Actors
Ransomware and cybersecurity threats are incredibly potent risk factors for work-from-home business environments. When your key processes and data are up on the cloud, not being able to access them could bring your business grinding to a halt.
Relying on Office 365 to recover backups isn’t the best path to take. Individual users would have to recover files on their own – this would substantially increase recovery time. Worse yet, some of the recovery files themselves could be infected, taking you back to square one.
When you work with an effective managed IT partner like SN, your Office 365 data stays secure. Here are some of the ways you benefit:
Increased reliability and speed: You’ll be able to identify exactly when an attack took place and what files were infected, eliminating false positives and cutting down the time it takes for you to act.
Comprehensive coverage: With a third-party solution, you can restore entire folder arrays in one go, as opposed to having staff manually restore corrupt or locked files one by one.
Data safety: Your backups are located in a secure external location. This precludes the possibility that the recovery files themselves are infected: you’ll need to recover them just once, with complete peace of mind.
Sometimes, people accidentally delete things. Everyone’s done that. With a cloud-based solution like Office 365, there are even more risks. If file synchronization doesn’t work right, for instance, or if a co-worker overwrites edits by accident. By default, Office 365 affords minimal protection against these kinds of situations.
A true third-party backup solution can help ensure that accidents won’t have an impact on continuity. When working with Secure Networks, you’ll benefit from access to point-in-time backups with unlimited retention – your data’s here to stay. You’ll also have the option to bulk restore at specific points of time, greatly speeding up the data recovery process compared to vanilla Office 365.
Defend Against Departing Employees
When employees leave, there’s always the risk that your business-critical data might be deleted, tampered with or shared with the competition in bad faith. An effective third-party backup solution can mitigate the risk of data loss due to disgruntled employees.
At Secure Networks, we go a step further by helping you conduct forensic data investigations to track leaks to their source.
Meet Data Backup Compliance Requirements
IT compliance regimes like GDPR have strict standards with regard to data backup and availability. In case of litigation or other specific circumstances, historical data needs to be available, sometimes for over 7 years. Office 365’s default backup solution doesn’t ensure long-term data retention.
To comply with evolving data management standards, a third-party solution with long-term data retention is critical. At Secure Networks, we ensure that your data is always available, for as long as you need it.
Backups, Now Easier Than Ever with Secure Networks
What about the actual process of managing your data backups? Office 365, by itself, doesn’t give you much in the way of enterprise data management capabilities. Even if you’re doing things in-house, managing backups, storage and continuity can take up a lot of your IT team’s time – time that could be better spent on your core digital capabilities.
By leveraging Secure Networks’ IT management, you can offset the time and resource impact of data management for Office. We’ll handle everything, from MS Exchange and OneDrive to SharePoint and Teams. You’ll have control and visibility, while freeing up your IT team for value-added roles.
How Secure Networks Can Help
Third-party backup and data management is no longer optional. If you’re struggling with work-from-home and data management, reach out to Secure Networks. We’ll build a customizable backup and recovery plan that scales to every level of need. Call now and we’ll schedule a free Office 365 backup assessment!