Back-up tools for Office 365

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Started this question a while back on Yammer. What tools do you use to back-up mail and files stored in Office 365?


The fact that your files are back-upped inside and outside the datacenters of Microsoft only protects you against hardware and software failures on Microsofts side. It will not protect you against accidentally deleted files and mails, which is discovered after 30+ days or after the site trashbins have been emptied.


At least that's what I think. Anyone has an answer? My customers are typically small companies, under 10 users. Sometimes even just 1 to 3.


I use de SkyKick Back-up tools in my own O365 tenant. Which was an offer in the Microsoft Partner Mail recently.

182 Replies

DocAve. I have Metavis/Metalogix and it is terrible for backup. 

Tnx. Metavis/Metalogix aren't looking very promising indeed. But I can't get a good feeling about back-up functionality in DocAve either. Am not looking for a lot more then back-up. What about pricing? What do we consider an acceptable pricing model?

There is not a good story around this at present.  Most tools are extensions from the on-prem counterpart.  So you can find good SharePoint backups, but mail is usually non-existent, or not that flexible, and vice versa.  Further with the integration, you have complications of some data, in regards to how to restore it (o365 Groups, Planner, etc).  Beyond SharePoint and Exchange, you have stuff like data in Azure AD, Yammer, O365 Video, and PowerBI which as far as I know are not addressed by any product at present.  Most if not all of them fall short in terms of eDiscovery as well.  You also have to consider how the backup products keep up with changes to the service as Microsoft updates API's or adds services that complicate the backup and restore processes. 


Based on the size of your customers, I find it hard that you are able to sell an additional service at all.  The value prop is almost non-existant.   The native tools you have can protect against accidental deletion in most cases.  If they are having issues with people manually cleaning up recoverable items folders, or SharePoint recycle bins, there is a larger issue at play as that is willfully circumventing the tools meant to protect from these scenarios.  You can leverage the legal hold features if their tenant supports them to provide an additional layer or protection as well.  I would not do this on every SharePoint site, but with high value content, you could do that and documents are copied into a hidden library.



You are not without "Backups" entirely when relying on Microsoft.  SharePoint is backed up every 12 hours and data kept for 14 days.  You don't get item level restores, but you can request a site collection be restored.  For Exchange, it can be scary to think Microsoft does not use backups, but they do keep lagged copies, so that in the event of an issue, they can swap your databases to a time previous when an issue was detected.  You can't request this change directly, but it's there. 


The real benefit of a 3rd party,  is in the peace of mind it gives some people.  But in almost all cases just a little education up front can avoid most of this complication.   Let's face it whether it's Microsoft, Google, Amazon or any other cloud service, you have to trust them with your data and that their processes and systems will protect you from data loss.  I find Microsoft services to be very reliable, and I generally feel more confident about the data there than I do in a lot of customers local SharePoint deployments. 

Thank you! I agree it's hard to make a case with an organisation of just 2 users. They have 2 user mailboxes and use the default teamsite with several document libraries to store documents. I could just setup one of their computers to synchronize al libraries and create a weekly (?) back-up using the native back-up tool in Windows.


But it's the peace of mind your talking about that makes me think about getting an Office 365 back-up tool. Because, what if they start using multiple teamsites and forget to add them to the Onedrive synchronization and thus the back-up. And also the fact that mail isn't back-upped at all.


The tool I got through the Microsoft Partner Network, SkyKick Back-up, would cost €5,- per seat per month. So in the case of my customer with 2 users it would cost them €10,- a month, to have a full (6 times a day) back-up of all their SharePoint and Onedrive file storage and all their Exchange mailboxes. But does it cover what they need (I think so, cause they are doing everything with files :) ) and is that worth €240,- a year?


BTW: I'm not worried about the default back-up of Office 365 by Microsoft. So the back-up solution I'm looking for has everything to do about accidentally deleting files. Or, more important, the fact that a virus can corrupt or encrypt files. I think that is my primary fear: how do I protect my customers against cryptovirusses? Cause I don't believe Microsoft is protecting against that?

When we were using Google Apps a few years back Spanning was the best backup solution we came across and was the insurance for accidentally deleted files in our organization. It has great functionality especially the different options for restoring data and they have released a version for backing up Office 365 data (only Email, Calendar and OneDrive unfortunately). Another contender is Backupify, which started as a consumer backup service but moved into the enterprise space. They offer a backup solution for Office 365 too and have the advantage of backing up folders and SharePoint in addition to Email, Calendar and OneDrive. We have the backup problem on our roadmap, but it has a low priority so we haven't started planning or testing yet, but maybe these options are of interest.

I recommend UPSAFE. It is an easy handling solution, which allows you to back up all your Google Apps and Office365 features including Mail, OneDrive, People, Calendar, SharePoint. Unlike most of the competitor's solutions and free back up services, UpSafe offers unlimited storage capacity with no retention limit, which includes revisions as well. Moreover, it is convenient and instinctive tool both for final users and administrators.


As an administrator, you will have full control on the backed up features, users subscription, access and use of the solution. You can activate and deactivate users, enable and disable services, control the back up deletion and have a clear view on history and payment. Users will have fast and easy access to their data in case of loss of wrong manipulation, as well as all revisions they might need to recover.


Furthermore, the price is highly competitive with only $2 per user per month.

Don't bother, unless you want a solution that is able to recover individual files. Most if not all of the current backup solutions don't deal well with Office 365 applications. https://www.itunity.com/article/no-good-answers-office-365-backups-3513
Thank you, nice article!
Spanning does a good job for Google Apps and has done their best for Office 365. However, you can't compare Google Apps to Office 365 because things like the Native Data Protection features of Exchange doesn't exist there. It is the existence of features like NDP (if used correctly by tenants) that makes me wonder whether backups are necessary - unless mandated by external influences, such as audit requirements.
Spanning is a great solution for Backing up Office 365 Mail and OneDrive, very easy to use and restore items and can even give end users access to restore their own backups.

Druva have expanded their Insync product to include OneDrive and Exchange Online. Sharepoint Online and OneDrive for Business are on the roadmap for next year. http://www.druva.com/products/insync/


An interesting point of difference is their product can also backup other Cloud products, local machines, servers and VMS as well as monitor and alert on compliance issues across all of the places a user is keeping data.

Now that NGSC is robust (https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/OneDrive-for-Business/My-compliments-to-One-Drive-for-Busines...) you can have a full synchronized copy of each users' ODFB on their local PC.  I use Carbonite to backup each ODFB full data set to their cloud every day.  Carbonite keeps multipe versions of files for up to 3 months, in case you accidentally delete something.  In conjunction with that, once a quarter, I back up each local ODFB to a folder on a USB 3.0 hardware encrypted hard drive, which will never be used again.  (The folder will never get overwritten.  Additional versions of the folder are added each quarter as space permits).  So, I always have a point-in-time backup that captures everything on ODFB before anything is deleted by Carbonite.  Here's the hard drive that I use:  http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/itemdetails/0A65621/460/DD2DC2671912409D84A59A3EABAD4044


Since these backups never get overritten, the drive will eventually fill up and need to be retired and replaced.  You can safely leave them running overnight, because they keypad on the drive accepts a robust encryption key so, if it gets stolen, it will be difficult for them to access the data.


Carbonite is $60 per year per user, so not onerous for a small business, and well worth the backstop.  The encrypted drives are around $200 each.  Don't know how many you'll need.  Depends on space requirement but, again, a valuable backstop.



Another one is Barracuda for e-mail, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online

By the way, the advent of Microsoft Teams has increased the complexity of the challenge of backup for Office 365. The items created in teams now have to be backed up and then reassembled if required. Teams joins Groups, Planner, Office 365 Video, et al. as examples of applications that exist inside Office 365 that don't on-premises, meaning that on-premises backup tools that attempt to expand into the cloud struggle to cope with the full breadth of Office 365.


The net is that current backup products are capable of copying basic data (Exchange, SharePoint) but struggle with the newer parts of Office 365. This might be sufficient for your needs, but I suspect that things will become more complex over time as Microsoft develops more applications to leverage the unique capabilities of Office 365.


Backup vendors - if you have a product that can truly backup the entire data for an enterprise tenant from Exchange to SharePoint to Yammer and the applications cited above to Sway - and is capable of restoring all the data in such a way that the applications work (or at least, sense can be made of the restored data), then I am happy to learn and write about the product. I have been looking for years... and although I see offerings, I don't see point solutions rather an a service-wide answer. Maybe I have been looking in the wrong place?

This actually came up as a topic when we were purchasing DocAve. They mentioned that it's something they're working on (the ability to back up content in Groups), but does not exist yet. None of the vendors can back up the entirety of O365 at this point, because Microsoft does not make it accessible to third parties. 

"Microsoft does not make it accessible..."


Or is it that the backup vendors have not done the work to figure out what they need and how this data might be retrieved?


After all, the Microsoft Graph API is a pretty good way to get at most data inside Office 365. There are gaps, but those gaps will only be filled if people complain. 


But leaving the Graph aside, I suspect that a more pressing issue is how to scale up to backup the data for very large tenants in a reasonable period. APIs like the Graph are good at doing things like "Tell me my appointments for today" or "Show me the documents that I have shared with x", but they are not designed to stream gigabytes of data from Office 365 to a cloud backup vendor's datacenter.

You can use the Layer2 Cloud Connector to keep SharePoint Online lists and libraries in sync with other data sources like databases, ERP/CRM, file shares, or SharePoint on-prem. This includes one-way sync for migration / backup as well as permanent sync in a hybrid environment.

@Frank Daske Sure, but that connector only handles basic SharePoint data. That's valuable in its own way, but the point I am making is that backup products need to up their game to deal with the reality that Office 365 is not a cloud equivalent of an on-premises environment. Therefore, backups need to be Office 365-aware instead of application-centric.

Tony, I totally agree at that point. Office 365 is an offering that consists of many services with different APIs and storage. That makes classical backup / restore procedures difficult to apply to. I don't think that we will see a "universal approach" soon...

Right, but as long as customers accept the products delivered by backup vendors they won't change. On the other hand, if we demand products that are truly Office 365-aware, we might see some change. A business opportunity exists for a product that can deal with Teams, Planner, and Groups...


@kamo neail that's not a tool that's suitable for any sort of enterprise play. Your post is a form of spam that is simply intended to attract attention to something that is not relevant to the discussion here. How much commission do you get?

Through Office 365 backup program all users can smartly take backup whole office 365 data file to PST, EML and MSG file without any problem .   http://www.purchase-software.org/backup/ms-office-365.html

@devonop paul, forgive me for saying this, but that is a pretty transparent attempt to get some people to buy a tool that is absolutely unsuited for the job in hand.  Exporting user data to a PST as a backup is never a good thing...

Veeam has a backup tool but that's just for Exchange Online. 

Yes, but the SharePoint Online part has a great room for improvement. In regards of a more complete offering I advice Metalogix and Barracuda tools...Metalogix is the most completed one for SPO backups (also ODFB)

AFAIK, the Veeam tool works on the basis of being able to backup data to an on-premises server where the Veeam tools run. This is not the kind of approach that is cloud-friendly. It's OK if you run hybrid environments and use Veeam to support on-premises Exchange, but apart from that...

Thanks for all your answers. Guess the best solution has yet to be created. Allthough the question stays active, my customers seem to be a lot more relaxed about backups then they should be. The customers I had in mind when asking you about this where doing manual "backups" by copying synced document libraries to a external harddrive. Now, I know this isn't the best way, but I assumed they would at least copy the files to a folder named with the backup date and this creating several weeks/months of backups. Apparently, they just copied it to the same folder, overwriting the files... Smiley LOL


My biggest fear are crypto virusses, encrypting thousandths of files. As far as I know that would create a situation where you would have to use version history to set back the files manually one by one. There is no possibility to do this in one action for all files...

Restoring previous version of SPO/Onedrive files can be automated with powershell, see this script for example.

Good script for restoring a previous version of the file but you need the file there so I see this script more as an Utility that could complement a backup solution...a backup solution means to be backup and restore a file what means not only the file, but also the metadata & file versions....of course you could also be able to do this by using PowerShell. Indeed those backup tools we are talking about are using behind the scenes the same technology show in the script (for SPO): SharePoint Client Side Object Model
I note that Veeam currently say '*SharePoint Online and OneDrive not supported at this time.'.

I've implemented DocAve Online for SPO and ODFB. It also does EXO, but I've no experience with it.

At the time, we looked at Metalogix and Metavis, but they had only just announced their merger, so I should really look again to see where they went with backup.

I am also looking for a backup tool for my organization, and found this tool that have most of the features we are looking for. Not implemented yet still looking for "the One" all inclusive tool, that do not exist.

Keep it will backup your files and mails. Easy to use for ex support staff.


We cover all of your user generated Office 365 data within:

  • Exchange Online (mails, calendar, In-Place Archive, etc.)
  • Sites (SharePoint)
  • OneDrive

Not a complete backup of office365 in all corners as discussed in this. But i covers the restoring of mailbox, sharepoint, onedrive. 


If any find this "Backup Office365 all inclusive tool" i would also like to get notified Thanks.



I see these tools falling more and more behind as Microsoft release more features and services. 


An example is Spanning.  As of today it still does not even support SharePoint team sites (just OneDrive sites).  In fact they have not added any functionality in a year.  Based on that alone I think Dell/EMC has no interest in Office 365 backups which tells me, beyond my own experiance, that the market is weak. I only see smaller niche players popping up tyring to fill this need, but no one is even close to a good solution. 


When you combine the native administrative controls (Retention policies, Version control, Recycle Bins, Holds, and Alerts) and built in coverage with things like NDP and nightly backups, you can get pretty comprehensive coverage to protect against data loss across Office 365 services. 


My biggest fear are crypto virusses, encrypting thousandths of files. As far as I know that would create a situation where you would have to use version history to set back the files manually one by one. There is no possibility to do this in one action for all files...



The crypto viruses fears me too.


I saw that in the admin panel from OneDrive there was an option to exclude files for synchronisation.

Is ithis a first start to exclude files form a crypto locker virus? When there is a list of those extensions you can make a first start.

As far as recovery in this situation you are able to recover files.  In this instance it ecnrypts the files locally, they are synced  and are added as an additoinal version.  So you can roll back to previous version and maintain access to the data. 


SharePoint libraries that don't have version control enabled could potentailly still be a target.   In this sitatuion you would be forced to request a restore from Microsoft, and they would resotre the entire site (assuming you notice within a day or two that this occured).   If you let it linger, and you get outside of Microsoft's 14 day backup window, you could potentially lost access to those files. 


Even in an instance where something was able to delete files entirley, you still have the abiliyt to restore those.  If you enable legal holds on your data - then copies are kept in hidden libraries in each site, and you have yet another avenue for data restore. 


If you have enabled universal auditing (which you should do if you have not), you also can create alerts on certain data actions, such as watching for important files that may be deleted.  This ensures data owners can restore files in a timely fashion.


Essentially the only scenerios I can envision where you lose data completley is if something get's a hold of a privlaged account, Remove any holds, adjust retention policies, Deletes files, purges the recycle bin, and no one notices within a 7 day period (so you are at the edge of the abilyt to get a restore from Microsoft).   That alone is a lot to go thru, and you make the hurdle even larger by ensuring all your privlaged accounts have two factor auth enabled.

My boss told me to do research on some Office 365 mailbox backup solutions. Read some good comments on CodeTwo, Cloudally, CloudBacko etc. All seem quite nice, except their prices vary a lot. How do you compare them with SkyKick? Care to share your experience in any of them? Which one is problem-free? Much appreciated :D

I am amazed that Microsoft hasn't yet come up with a backup solution for SharePoint.


You mentioned that one could files locked by ransomware by reverting to earlier versions. I didn't think there was a practical way to do this. As far as I know you have to do this one document at a time. If you have thousands, or tens of thousands, of files affected the recovery time would be too long for most companies. If I missed a way to revert multiple files at once please let me know.


Without backups the other way you can lose data completely is if someone accidentially deletes files and no-one notices for several months. We have all seen it happen and without some way to backup SharePoint files they are gone forever.



thank you for feedback. Our customers have to physically own backups of their Office 365, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Office Groups, and Microsoft Teams documents for compliance, restore of certain missing files, or disaster recovery reasons. It's easy to run 3rd party tools as the Layer2 Cloud Connector as a Windows Service locally or in the customer's own Azure to automatically pull any changed file on a regular base, e.g. each hour. The effort and resource usage is very low. You can than use commercial backup tools to add the Office 365 files to the existing file server or NAS backup, or use the Windows File History to keep any changed file version separately (thats the base-practice advise in my opinion).


You can also go one step further and setup a two-way sync using the above connector. Note that this is not only for files, it's for list content (from SQL/ERP/CRM) as well.


Hoep that helps, Regards - Frank.

Of course, if you take file-level backups of Office 365 data, it will work nicely for SharePoint and OneDrive documents but fail horribly if the need exists to reconstitute the more integrated entities such as Groups, Teams, Planner, and StaffHub. File-level backup is, IMHO, old-world on-premises kind of backup. A dramatically different, application-sensitive, approach is needed for Office 365. So far, AvePoint is the only company I have seen take any step in this direction to deal with Office 365 Groups (but only the type that use Exchange to hold conversations, not the Yammer type).


If the community accepts the old-world file-level approach to backup the backup vendors will not change. We need to ask for more. Which I do, frequently. My hope is that I will see real progress when I tour the technology exhibit at Ignite next September... I hope...

Many thanks for mentioning Barracuda Juan.


<Disclaimer: I work for Barracuda>


Unlike many solutions, Barracuda Cloud-to-Cloud backup protects Exchange Online, SharePoint Online AND OneDrive, so offers a complete, one-stop-shop solution for Office 365. You can read more about the solution in our white paper here: -




If you're looking for more than just backup, Barracuda also offers "Essentials for Office 365", which is a hosted multi-Layer security, backup, archiving & eDiscovery Service.


No problem :-)...curious to know how Essentials has evolved since last call I have with your team in Spain



Reading your material makes me think that Barracuda is no different to many other backup vendors in that your code operates at the workload level (Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive) and does not deal with the integrated applications built on top of the workloads (Groups, Teams, Planner, etc.).


Perhaps I am wrong, so let me ask a direct question. Can Barracuda recover a Team or Plan from a backup and restore it in such a way that all of the links that connect information together within the application work properly after the restore? Note that this includes AAD objects.




Hi Tony,


Yes, it's currently designed to protect at the workload level.


In terms of being different to any other vendor, I'd suggest that our solution is far easier to use and more complete.


For example, with SharePoint, items can be restored directly into SharePoint Online from the backups of Document Libraries, Site Assets, Site Pages, Picture Libraries, and Form Templates in Team Sites, Public Sites, Wiki Sites, and Publishing Sites.




So it is the same as the other backup products available for Office 365? If not, what are the unique differentiators in the Barracuda suite?

Not really. Unlike other popular on-premises backup solutions like Unitrends, Symantec, Dell, and Veeam, Barracuda Backup is the first complete backup solution to offer protection for Office 365. While point solutions like Cloudfinder and CloudAlly offer protection for Office 365 they don’t offer support for on-premises environments and must be used in conjunction with traditional backup software or solutions. Spanning and Backupify, owned by EMC and Datto respectively, are sold as standalone products with no integration between each vendors’ on-premises backup solutions. Barracuda is the only vendor to fully integrate Cloud-to-Cloud backup as part of a complete – physical, virtual, and cloud – backup and disaster recovery solution.
While most of the standalone SaaS backup solutions mentioned above contain restrictions on how frequently you can backup data, where you can restore data to, or how long you can keep your data with fixed retention policies, Barracuda Cloud-to-Cloud Backup has no restrictions. Backup schedules and retention policies are completely flexible and customizable to fit your needs. Data can be restored
in a variety of different ways, which includes restoring to different users and different folders. There are no limits to the number of Office 365 instances or number of users you can protect and you also have the option to export data outside of your Office 365 environment by downloading it.
At a more granular level, you can see a summary of our differentiation below: -
Barracuda Cloud-to-Cloud Backup Comparison.png
Best regards

Good reply, but you're still limited to the basic workloads. That's fine because every backup vendor who seeks to work with Office 365 is limited in the same manner. The exception to date is AvePoint (which you don't mention) because they can at least deal with the Outlook variant of Office 365 Groups.


As to making a big thing of being able to handle on-premises and cloud environments, I am not sure that this is so important. First, you deal with two very different environments and there is no evidence to suggest that it is wise or good to use the same approach in both. Second, a case can be argued that a better approach is to select the best of breed solution for each environment. Third, the case for Office 365 backups is still debatable, especially when no vendor can handle the intracicies of the new world...

We don't use the same approach for on-prem and Office 365 (Because you can't) but what we do provide is a centralized management console (Barracuda Cloud Control) that covers both environments (and much more) and provides the same features and capabilities for both, wherever this is possible.


Our customers find that this saves them a great deal of time and effort, as it greatly simplifies the ongoing management burden, compared with say managing several "Best of breed" point solutions, each with different consoles, features, capabilities, licensing, security models etc. etc.


As I'm sure you know, Office 365 provides a common set of API's that all vendors have to go through, in order to provide data protection, recovery, archiving, security etc. So, this levels out the playing field for all vendors somewhat, as we're all limited by the same set of API's.


Put simply, until Microsoft provides 3rd parties with sufficient access to the platform, API's etc., the solution that you're looking for (And I agree would be better) will not be possible.



Well, AvePoint already have a solution to recover the documents and conversations for Outlook-based Office 365 Groups, so some improvement in the state of most backup products is demonstrably possible.


I think the solution will be to use the Microsoft Graph APIs (which are available) to understand the links between items in these complex applications (Plans, Teams, Groups) so that backup products can extract and restore data in context. Conceptually, this is the same as the recent change made in Exchange where a recovered item can be restored back to its original folder (https://www.petri.com/exchange-recover-deleted-items).


What I am looking for from backup vendors - and what I continually challenge them to demonstrate - is some spark of innovation that moves backup technology away from the classic approach of opening a site/mailbox/database and streaming out its complete content to a backup location to a point where intelligent assessments are made of where data exists and how it is connected so that when the data are copied, they can be reassembled in context if necessary. It is regrettable that six years after the launch of Office 365, we still have not made much progress in this space, especially so in light of the fact that so many new connected applications now exist (Stream is the latest example).


I believe that there is substantial first-mover advantage to be gained by the backup vendor that embraces how Office 365 works rather than how on-premises products work. Maybe I will see some change at Ignite in September...



Is there any contrasting juxtaposition of backup & restore features and functionalities between your tool Baracuda and other solutions like Sky-Kick and AvePoint?

What about granular permission und (nintex and SP-Std.) Workflow backup?

Hi Zied, I'm sorry, I don;t have anything on Sky-Kick or AvePoint, as we don't come across those solutions very often at all. All that I have is the comparison information in the table that I posted earlier in this thread
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