Microsoft have invested tens of millions in their hosting centres, surely as an Office 365 user your data is safe right?
An important point that’s all too often overlooked by businesses moving to Office 365, is that the responsibility for your data does not lie with Microsoft.
They operate a shared responsibility policy, which means it’s the uptime of the service they’re concerned with.
There are no provisions for restoring your messages or mailboxes if they’re somehow compromised, the backups they have are purely for disaster recovery.
In this post I’ll look at this and other reasons you should be giving some thought to the ‘what if?’ question…
What are your archiving options?
To get anything more than very basic storage on the Microsoft platform you need to either pay for a Premium add-on or go for one of the more expensive Enterprise plans.
Getting your head around what each of the Office 365 plans can offer you in the way of archiving can be a challenge in itself, but as a high-level overview, there are basically three camps…
- Entry level – Business or Business Premium – in-place hold (drag and drop)
- Premium – Exchange Online Archiving add-on or Enterprise plan
- Third party solutions like MailStore Server
What can MailStore bring to the table?
1) Protection against data loss
You’re probably thinking data loss, don’t be ridiculous – my data’s in Microsoft’s multi-billion pound cloud infrastructure, how can I possibly lose anything!?
Well just like almost every other cloud vendor, Microsoft and Office 365 operate a ‘shared responsibility’ model where they are quite open about the fact, your data is your own responsibility.
You don’t have to look far for reports of the occasional mailbox or folder corruption and even accounts vanishing because of quirks when licences are applied. Microsoft , of course, makes duplicates for data redundancy, and for their own disaster recovery purposes but that doesn’t mean the recovery of user data.
MailStore not only provides the peace of mind you have a local copy of your data that you can easily include in your backup routine if you wish, but because you can simply browse a user folder structure, restoring both folders and messages in bulk is a quick and easy process too.
2) No cost for keeping the data of ex-employees
When an employee leaves the company, it may be that you’re quite happy to delete their mailbox and move on with your life without a second thought.
However, there will be times when somebody leaves and actually you need to ensure that mailbox is accessible by either other users or perhaps the administrator.
In Office365, if you want to keep hold of that email, you need to keep the account live, which means paying the normal ongoing recurring account cost for the entire life of the contract.
In MailStore licencing is based on the actual number of people having their email actively archived, so you can simply attach the historic archive to another user’s account, and recycle the licence ready for a new starter.
3) Safeguard against accidental deletion
If you’re using one of the basic Office 365 plans, when you delete a message, it’ll go to your deleted items folder where it will live for 30 days.
If you’ve emptied it as part of your routine cleanup, in 31 days time, that’s it, that message isn’t going to be there anymore for you to restore.
With a Premium plan, you can extend that but you’ll need an administrator to help you locate the message which can be time-consuming.
Using a third-party product like MailStore, nothing can ever be deleted from the archive so both users and administrators can instantly view and restore any message going back to the beginning of time.
4) Malicious deletion by staff
Hopefully, you’ll never need to worry about this, but if you do end in the unenviable position where a staff member is sharing sensitive data, up to something else they shouldn’t be, or just massively incompetent, without archiving, they’ll easily be able to cover any incriminating evidence, leaving you totally exposed if you end up going to an employment tribunal for example.
Every business should know they’ve got a complete record of their communications if they need them, particularly to protect against this kind of thing.
in Office 365 your options are either to go down the route of a Premium plan and litigation hold which can be time-consuming to restore from, or to choose a third party like MailStore which protects your messages, offers a quick way of getting them back and also that extra layer of security against the more determined employees, by being in a different physical location entirely.
5) Access your email during service outages
I’m not in the business of Microsoft bashing, it’s a great platform, but there’s no getting away from the fact that they’ve experienced some uptime ‘challenges’ shall we say over the past 12 months, with users being left without access to their email.
While a third party offering like MailStore isn’t a business continuity solution as such, another great benefit of having your email local to you is that you’ll always have access to it.
If a user needs to check what they’ve said to a customer or vice versa, that information is there, even when Office 365 perhaps isn’t.
6) No theoretical storage limits
The storage Microsoft offers you as an Office 365 user is a generous 50GB, however when you take into account that basic plans share that space with your years’ of archived data, you might find you’ll reach that at some point, or you’ll see performance drop off when it comes to searching.
MailStore allows you to store an unlimited amount of email on local, network attached or remote storage and uses deduplication and compression of attachments to give you an average saving of about 50% over the original source data.
The key takeaway from this post I hope will be that if you’re on one of the entry level Office365 plans and don’t already have archiving in place, you correct that as without something, you’re definitely exposed.
Microsoft’s paid-for archiving options offer convenience in terms of setup given they’re part of the same service, but by using an independent product from a specialist email archiving developer such as MailStore, you can truly have the best of both worlds.
Test MailStore with O365 in minutes
Testing MailStore with Office 365 is very straightforward – simply download the latest version using the link below and follow this simple setup guide to be up and running in minutes.
Need help with a trial? Give us a shout in the normal ways!