For some of you this may sound a bit disturbing, for some may be exaggerated, but preserving emails is one of the essential tasks any business should be aware of. In most organizations, emails hold very important or even critical data, which guarantee business continuity. That is why having a backup copy of emails seems to be something obvious, but it also seems to be underestimated at some point.
Only you are responsible for your company data
Hopefully, this is not for the case with you, but I have noticed that Office 365 administrators seem to be more liberal with their attitude towards having backup than the Exchange Server admins. This may be a result of the fact that Microsoft takes on much of the responsibility for managing the whole Office 365 server infrastructure, ensures 99.9% uptime of Office 365 services and have rock-solid backups to protect subscribers’ data against possible failure or disaster. And this part is true. But the misconception is that Microsoft will always and under any conditions be able to restore data lost on your side (in most cases data is lost due to users’ errors, purposeful or accidental deletions, etc.). This part is on you to protect your business critical emails and ensure their availability to your employees, customers or for legal actions at all times. No one else but your company will suffer the consequences if not securing business data.
You lost emails – what now?
If you have a local backup copy then you simply search for deleted items in local storages and recover them back to a mailbox. Simple as that. If you had remembered to enable In-Place Hold or Litigation Hold on your Office 365 mailboxes (not available in certain Office 365 plans by default) you can stay calm as well. When emails have been deleted not long ago (up to 30 days), you should also be able to find them in Recoverable Items folder.
The problem is when you either didn’t enable In-Place Hold or Litigation Hold, or an item you need get back was deleted long time ago and was purged from Recoverable Items, or you do not have any local backup copy to retrieve your company emails from. This can get even more stressful when missing emails are urgently necessary as they e.g. are subject to legal compliance, include business critical data your CTO requires, or provide the evidence for a claim.
How business critical are your emails?
If for some reason you still do not have any backup copy of your mailbox data, you perhaps undervalue its importance. To help you estimate how essential your mailbox data and its backup are, you can ask yourself the following questions:
- How are business critical my emails, contacts, other data stored in mailboxes?
- How important do my customers think the mailbox data is?
- Can I recover single emails, contacts, calendar items, etc. after accidental or purposeful deletion?
- How quickly can I restore emails or users’ mailboxes?
- How long is my deleted data available for restoration?
These questions can also be useful to point out things to consider when designing your backup plans. This way you know what to look at to meet your data security requirements.
Back up your Office 365 emails
In everyday rush you may catch yourself on thinking “I will back up that tomorrow…”. This is human. But also human are errors and accidental or purposeful deletions of emails or any other type of mailbox data. And to secure yourself and your company, you need to be sure that you can quickly and without problems restore user’s emails when asked to do so.
A good thing is to have a central and automatic backup solution like CodeTwo Backup for Office 365 or CodeTwo Backup for Exchange, which can run continuous backup cycles saving all Office 365 emails (and other mailbox data) on local drives. Having local backup copies gives you an ability to easily access emails which for some reason are no longer available in a user’s mailbox. As you never know what emails you will be asked to restore, the program saves mailbox data in a brick-level structure and provides filtering features to quickly browse, preview and restore selected emails back to Office 365.
See the video below to learn how to backup your mailboxes: