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It’s 3:00 a.m. Do you know where your Office 365 email is?

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Well, I can’t really tell you where it is (more on that in a minute) but I can tell you at least one place it ought to be: Safely and securely backed up.  Offsite.  You see, Microsoft has a dirty little secret: they don’t backup your email.

Why you need your own Office 365 backup

No, seriously. They actually don’t backup your email.  Oh sure, they replicate it to multiple Microsoft data centers around the world (which is one reason I can’t tell you where your email is) and they store it in completely redundant facilities with very robust backup and restore capabilities.  In other words, if something happens at the data center that has your email, you will still in all likelihood missing milk cartonretain every single one of your ridiculously important emails.  But you should know dear reader that this Office 365 backup is for them, not you.  They have financially backed SLA’s and so they need a way to ensure that any loss on their end can be recovered.  It’s called CYA and you should also CYA.  So we’re clear: if they blow your stuff up, you’re probably covered.  But what happens if you blow your stuff up?  What if you accidentally delete some emails or even a whole folder of emails?  And what if you don’t realize your mistake until someone comes asking for proof that you sent that important update?  Or what if an employee maliciously deletes emails or an entire email account and you don’t find out until weeks later.  Or still yet, what if some or all of your emails get corrupted?  Ok – enough of the nightmare scenarios.  Oh wait, one more (and this is a doozy): What if you think that “because you are in Canada and Canada has Microsoft data centers so that’s where my email is being stored” isn’t actually true and in reality it is being stored or replicated offshore (which has a very high probability and is another reason why I can’t tell you where your email is).  And what if that offshore country has a legal right to freeze your emails because someone hacked your email password and leaked a bunch of super-sensitive data and now you are being held responsible for said exposure?  Yikes!

OK – I get your point.

Sorry for the scare tactics but dammit, you need to understand the risk you run when you rely on Microsoft to protect your email.  Know this and know it well: Microsoft’s responsibility for your email ends the moment you have access to your email.  What happens after that is largely up to you.

Here is what happens when you delete one or many emails (or folders of emails): They live in your Deleted Items folder right up to the point that you empty your Deleted Items which BTW, is why I never set the flag in Outlook that deletes the contents of that folder upon exiting.  Once deleted from the Deleted Items folder, the clock starts and you have fourteen days with which to change your mind.  After that, fuggetaboutit.  Fourteen days is not a lot of time.  Full disclosure: you can actually change that setting (free if you have Office 365 Business Essentials or higher but a paid feature if you don’t).  Thing is, almost no one changes that default setting.  Why?  Because everyone thinks Microsoft backs up your emails, that’s why!  Also worth noting: Junk Mail lives for thirty days and that’s it and there ain’t no changing that setting Mr. Disorganized Email Inbox guy.  And at thirty days retention, it’s only marginally better if you delete a mailbox/user – accidentally or otherwise.  Again, you can tweak that but almost no one does.  AFTER 30 DAYS, IT’S GONE!!!  Sorry for shouting…

How to backup your Office 365 emailbackup

I like stories with happy endings.  If you do a web search you will find that there are literally dozens of 3rd party Office 365 backup solutions available, (some of which actually work!).  But at the risk of sounding like your mother, there is a reason there are dozens of Office 365 backup solutions available and that reason is… wait for it… Microsoft doesn’t backup your email!

Need help with an Office 365 backup strategy?  One that dovetails nicely with the data backup solution you already have in place?  We have one of the solutions that actually works!  Contact us today to find out how to safeguard your Office 365 implementation.

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