All about Microsoft Office 365 backup, restore files and third-party

All about Microsoft Office 365 backup, restore files and third-party

In this article you can read all about Office 365 backups. Is Office 365 backup necessary? Where do you host back-ups? All difficult questions that are answered in this article.

What is back-up?

A backup is a snapshot, a backup you can make of your Office 365 environment. We used to make server backups of files or data on our fileservers. Backups of servers, systems or other applications.

Does Office 365 have a back-up mechanism?

If we assume that Office 365 backup means that you can restore a backup asap then the answer is no. Of course, there are other possibilities today to ensure that you can restore files. But first we need to understand the implications, the possible advantages and disadvantages. You can read more about alternatives in the following sections.

Why would you get rid of backing up 'everything' in Office 365

Office 365 backup could potentially take any file or e-mail from Exchange Online, SharePoint, OneDrive and Teams . Useful if someone deletes a file. There are already powerful solutions on the market for this. These can retrieve files from the backup system at the file level. Advantage: convenient and fast. Disadvantage: limited to file level. And that is not so modern.

What can be done in Office or Microsoft 365 Enterprise?

For e-mail with Exchange

One reflex we can make apart from backup is to make sure that documents cannot be deleted. For example, assume you put mailboxes in legal-hold. This feature will block, or not allow e-mails to be deleted by users.

Or Exchange eEiscovery; If your organisation adheres to legal requirements for discovery (relating to organisational policies, compliance or litigation), In-Place eDiscovery in Exchange Server can help you search for relevant content within mailboxes. You can also use In-Place eDiscovery in a hybrid environment of Exchange to search on site and in the Cloud in the same search.

OneDrive for business

Within OneDrive for business or OneDrive for Business there are 2 ways to recover files. Firstly, you can recover files after a ransomware hack using this procedure. On the other hand, you have the possibility to restore files in the Recycle Bin, and in the2nd Recycle Bin up to 93 days.


SharePoint gives exactly the same possibilities to file backup as OneDrive for Business. There are also possibilities to do a site restore as IT Administrator. Here it is not only about the files. But also about the context. Metadata, site architecture and all other setups come back from the backup. Built-in. In the past, it was not possible to do a site restore yourself and you had to log a ticket to Microsoft. Today, it is possible as an IT administrator to perform a site restore.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is built on Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive and other systems. Here you can read more. As you can conclude, it is not easy to restore a backup for an entire team.

I am already convinced that we should not back up entire team sites that we revert to unthinkingly and adjust integrations or delta changes. It's better to define policies that ensure we can't delete just the crucial data. Process files with PowerAutomate and processes so that they land in organisation 'deeper' than static files. At such a point, it is no longer possible to restore sites.

Data Loss Prevention (DLP)

What is DLP? an example: Identify sensitive information in many locations, such as Exchange Online , SharePoint Online , OneDrive for Business and Microsoft Teams. For example, you can identify every document that contains a credit card number that is savedin a OneDrive for Business site, or you can monitor and protect only the OneDrive sites of specific people.

In the article governance for Microsoft Teams I already wrote about the technical details of DLP. More information can also be found on Microsoft's documentation page.

Locations retention policy
Locations retention policy

Is office 365 backup necessary?

If you want to be able to retrieve files, no matter how or where they were deleted, you need a third-party backup. Office 365 has solutions up to often several years or 93 days with OneDrive, but you can't get away with that for long. There are several solutions on the market to meet this challenge.

If you want to go in the right direction and understand that you can't get anywhere with backup alone. Then it is wise to implement processes and procedures as well as technical policies to prevent data loss. The advantage here is that you are always in control, and there is little risk of losing crucial files or data.

Important to know: Backup is often linked to your disaster-recovery-plan. (DRP) Your DRP plan in itself has nothing directly to do with backup at the file level. It does deal with the fact that in the event of a hack or system outage, you have the possibility of restarting your entire environment.



Welcome to On this website you can read articles and experiences about Office 365 with focus on Microsoft Teams. Feel free to ask me a question and I will answer it in a blog post. Help others by giving feedback at the bottom of the articles. This blog is made in Dutch. The multilingual website is offered with best-effort machine translation.
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