How to back up Exchange Online mailboxes

The question should no longer be whether to back up Exchange Online mailboxes or not, but how to do it. It’s no secret that your Office 365 data isn’t a responsibility of neither Microsoft nor any Office 365 services provider. To make sure your Exchange Online mailbox data is available and recoverable at all times, you should consider the idea of using a third-party Office 365 email backup tool. And here is why.

Why back up Exchange Online mailboxes

This one is simple: to ensure business continuity, legal compliance, peace of mind – you name it. No matter what your backup strategy is, it’s a good practice to create backup copies of important Office 365 data. This is your “insurance” in case of natural disasters, a human error or malicious behavior leading to unexpected data loss.

Does Microsoft backup Office 365 email, calendar or any other mailbox folders?

Well no, not in the traditional sense of backup. Of course, data residing in your Office 365 tenants is being backed up, but this is Microsoft’s backup – for their own use, compliance and uninterrupted service availability purposes.

If you seek native backup-related solutions, then you can take a look at this Microsoft’s article. What you can learn from it is that there are certain mechanisms that you can put in place to make sure mailbox data stays safe. This includes Exchange Online Archiving or Litigation Hold (In-Place Hold is going to be retired in April 2020). However, if you need an internal backup solution that is entirely under your control, then you need to consider implementing a third-party Office 365 backup solution.

Back up Exchange Online mailboxes using CodeTwo backup tool

CodeTwo Backup for Office 365 is your long-term insurance against Office 365 mailbox data loss. You can not only back up and easily restore Office 365 emails, calendars, contacts, or any other mailbox folders but also SharePoint Online sites and OneDrive for Business data.

To create Exchange Online mailbox backups by using CodeTwo backup tool, follow the steps below.

Note: Before you start, make sure you have downloaded and installed CodeTwo Backup for Office 365. If you are not an existing user of CodeTwo Backup tool, the program comes with a free 30-day trial, during which you can back up any data you want (limitations apply to the restore functionality – read more).

  1. Open the Administration Panel of the program and go to the Jobs tab.
    Jobs tab in CodeTwo backup tool
  2. Click New and select Backup > Exchange. A new Exchange backup job wizard opens.
    New Exchange backup job
  3. Enter a name for your backup job and click Next.
    Enter a name for your backup job
  4. Decide whether this job should perform continuous or one-time backup.
    Continuous or one-time job
  5. On the Activity periods tab, you can enable the scheduler feature. Thanks to that, your backup job can start and stop automatically.
    Activity periods
  6. In the next step, set up the server connection to the Office 365 tenant that you want to back up.
    Server connection with Office 365
  7. Then, choose mailboxes for backup. You can back up all mailboxes at once within this backup job or select one or several mailboxes only.
    Choose mailboxes for backup
  8. In the next two steps you can also choose SharePoint site and Office 365 group mailboxes that you want to backup.
  9. In the Public Folders step, you can add public folders to your backup job. If you don’t want to include any, simply skip this step.
  10. On the Target storage tab, click New to create new storage for your Exchange Online mailbox backup.
    Create new storage for Exchange Online mailbox backup.
  11. In the storage creation wizard, you can set up a retention policy for your Exchange Online and SharePoint data.
  12. You can also protect your storage with a password. This way the contents of backed-up mailboxes are secured against unauthorized access.
    Password to protect backed up data
  13. Make sure to save the Recovery key. This key will let you restore data from the storage if it gets corrupted or you forget the password. Keep it in a safe location and protect from unauthorized access.
    Recovery key
  14. Once you finish the storage configuration wizard, the storage is automatically selected in the backup job.
  15. On the Time filter tab, choose items for backup depending on their age.
    Time filter in backup
  16. The Folder filter tab lets you exclude specific folders from the backup job.
    Folder filter in backup
  17. On Job summary tab, you can review the job’s configuration. If everything looks fine, click Finish.
  18. The newly created backup job will show up on the Jobs list. Depending on your setting, the job will start automatically, or you can launch it manually by clicking Start.
    Backup job on the list in the CodeTwo Backup tool.
  19. When you click on the backup job, you will see some stats regarding the job’s progress.
    Exchange Online backup job

And that’s it. Now, you can go and create another backup job. Feel free to:

To find out more about CodeTwo Backup for Office 365 or download a trial version, go to this website.

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