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Don’t Backup To Same Environment

1st September 2023

Backing up Microsoft Office 365 data to the same Microsoft environment might intuitively sound safe, but from a data resilience and security perspective, it’s not considered best practice. Here are several reasons why:

1. **Single Point of Failure:** If you back up your data in the same environment it originally resides in, you’re introducing a potential single point of failure. Any issues or outages that affect Microsoft Office 365 could also impact your backups.

2. **Data Sovereignty and Compliance:** Regulations in certain industries and countries may require data to be backed up in separate geographical locations or under different jurisdictional boundaries. Storing backups in the same location could be non-compliant.

3. **Risk of Cascading Failures:** In a worst-case scenario, a significant failure or fault in one part of Microsoft’s infrastructure could cascade to other parts. Having backups in a different environment or off-site would protect against such cascading effects.

4. **Security Concerns:** If a cyberattacker manages to compromise your Office 365 environment, having your backups in the same environment would mean they might have access to your backup data as well. This could potentially allow them to delete or alter both your primary and backup data.

5. **Access Control:** Microsoft’s primary goal with Office 365 is service delivery, not necessarily ensuring easy access to historical backups for users. Thus, backup solutions integrated directly into the Office 365 environment might not offer the best user experience or granular access controls for restoring specific data points.

6. **Backup and Retention Policies:** Relying solely on Office 365’s built-in backup and retention policies might not meet the specific needs of all organizations. Customizable third-party solutions might offer more tailored backup frequencies, retention periods, and restoration options.

7. **Ransomware and Malware Protection:** Many third-party backup solutions offer additional layers of protection against ransomware and other malware. They might detect unusual patterns of data change and allow for point-in-time recovery, which can be invaluable in the event of a ransomware attack.

8. **Specialized Features:** Third-party backup solutions can offer features and tools tailored specifically for backup and recovery scenarios. This might include better reporting, alerting, and monitoring tools, which can be invaluable in managing and maintaining data integrity.

To truly ensure the integrity, availability, and resilience of your data, it’s generally advised to follow the 3-2-1 backup rule: have at least three copies of your data, store two backup copies on different devices or mediums, and keep one copy offsite or in a different environment.