Microsoft 365 security center and exporting mailbox data to PST

Microsoft 365 security center is the new home for monitoring and managing security for your Office 365 tenants and all the other Microsoft 365 resources. The new security-related platform takes the spot previously occupied by Office 365 security & compliance center. Even though the new security experience offers more options, the old center is still available, although buried a bit deeper. Read on to learn what’s new in the Microsoft 365 security center, and how to find the old Office 365 security and compliance center.

Microsoft 365 security & compliance center and exporting to PST


There are two sets of requirements you need to meet in order to access the new Microsoft 365 security and compliance center: license and permission.

The minimum required license for an organization is Microsoft 365 E3 subscription.

For a user to be able to access the new centers, they need to have at least one of the following roles assigned:

  • Global Administrator – Able to access both compliance and security centers.
  • Compliance Administrator or Compliance Data Administrator – Will be able to access Microsoft 365 compliance center
  • Security Administrator, Security Operator or Security Reader – are the roles required to access the Microsoft 365 security center.

What is new in Microsoft 365 security and compliance center?

The new Microsoft 365 security and compliance center has been announced to be generally available on April 22nd, 2019. This new platform consists of two separate entities – one devoted to security, the second – to compliance. Mind that new features are added frequently. Judging from this Microsoft article, the ultimate goal is to move all functionalities and solutions from the Office 365 security and compliance center to the new platform and to retire the old platform.

At the moment, many options redirect the user to the old Admin Center. For example, you will not find Content Search here and to run such a search, you need to go to the old Office 365 security & compliance center. Hunting and eDiscovery-related options also have not yet been migrated.

How to export Office 365 mailbox data in Microsoft 365 security center?

Office 365 is a great email platform in which security is one of the top priorities. That being said, it is still wise to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. That is why most security-concerned organizations look for a way to back up their mailbox data to another location. Local backup copies stored in a safe location allow you to access your data independently of any service providers. PST files, despite all their (numerous) flaws, have an advantage of being supported by various email clients.

Let’s put aside the irony of using an advanced security-related feature for a backup workaround which uses an outdated and hardly a reliable file format (PST).

If you choose to access content search straight from the Microsoft 365 admin center, you have two options:

From this point, simply follow the steps from How to export Office 365 mailboxes to PST using eDiscovery.

I cannot stress it enough, the method described above is a backup workaround, not a good and reliable backup solution. It will let you restore, at the very least, some lost data in case of a disaster. Keep in mind, though, that PST files are more fit for archiving, than for backup & restore purposes. And PST file corruption is not just a buzzword – it is a problem you might face each time you export or access a PST file. It is worth to take a good look at what this PST workaround might get you into before actually deploying it.

If you are looking for a reliable Office 365 and SharePoint backup & restore solution, take a look at CodeTwo Backup for Office 365.

How is a third-party tool better than PST files?

You might wonder how a third-party backup solution might be better than good old PST files, which, after all, have been used for ages. Here is a list of the most important advantages:

Granular backup and restore – a good backup solution is identified by how it performs when you actually need it. In other words: can you efficiently search through backup copies? And what about restoring? When it comes to PST files, the only way to search through them is to perform a PST import into Outlook. This allows you to search through a single PST file at a time. On the other hand, CodeTwo Backup for Office 365 lets you hunt for specific files in the whole backup database and restore single items or folders into the location of your choosing. You can restore items into their original location, or to another mailbox, even if it is in another Office 365 tenant.

Incremental backup – PST export is quite straightforward – by default, it performs a 1-1 backup. And while it is possible to limit exported items by date, this method has a side-effect of creating even more PST files to handle. CodeTwo Backup for Office 365 has the clear advantage of creating an incremental backup. You can set this tool up to run periodically to add only the new and modified items to the backup database.

Automation & Reliability – Export to PST through the Microsoft 365 security center is a manual, UI-based task. Since there are no out-of-the-box scripts to export the results of a content search, there is no easy way to schedule the task either. The common problem of PST corruption usually comes up when you actually need to restore some items. CodeTwo Backup for Office 365 can be scheduled to run backup processes in cycles, adding only the new and modified items to the backup copies. Why CodeTwo Backup for Office 365 is a secure solution.

For a more detailed description, take a look at the program’s features and its examples of use.

Tools for Exchange Server

One thought on “Microsoft 365 security center and exporting mailbox data to PST

  1. Wow, this article sheds light on a crucial aspect of Microsoft 365 security that many might overlook. The detailed explanation on leveraging the security center and exporting mailbox data to PST is invaluable. It’s commendable how you’ve simplified a potentially complex process, making it accessible for users at all levels. Kudos to the author for sharing such informative content!

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