Q: Why do I need to back up Office 365?


It’s a common myth that just because something is stored “in the cloud”, it will always be there. Unfortunately, that’s not quite true – when using cloud apps like Microsoft 365 (formerly known as Office 365), the platform and the user share the responsibility of protecting data.

As the platform, Microsoft is responsible for:

  • Protection against loss of service due to hardware failure or natural disaster
  • Short-term protection against user and admin error (e.g. the Recycle Bin feature)

As the user, your organization is responsible for:

  • Configuring and setting up the app properly
  • Backing up and restoring data

Data loss happens in a myriad of ways. Of course, growing cyber threats like ransomware and social phishing can’t be ignored. However, 90% of data breaches still have the same culprit: human error. Unless your organization doesn’t employ humans, there is always a chance that data could be lost, altered, or corrupted.

In their Services Agreement, Microsoft states that it is not responsible for backing up your data. Specifically, their Services Agreement (Section 6.b) states:

“We strive to keep the services up and running; however, all online services suffer occasional disruptions and outages, and Microsoft is not liable for any disruption or loss you may suffer as a result. In the event of an outage, you may not be able to retrieve your content or data that you’ve stored. We recommend that you regularly backup your content and data that you store on the services or store using third-party apps and services.”

So, if you’re wondering “do I need to back up Office 365?”, the answer is yes – Microsoft does not and cannot restore your data for you if you make a mistake, fall victim to malware, trust a buggy third-party app, or your data is corrupted in any way. 

A third-party backup solution for Microsoft 365 enables your organization to perform granular data restores quickly, with no specialized knowledge. It’s like an insurance policy for the data that runs your business, as key files and information can always be brought back.

Learn more about Backups for Microsoft 365.