To backup or not to backup 365


We are looking at 3rd party backup solutions for Office 365, because the organisation is use to single item restore from mailboxes, restore data that is a year old and so on.

My angle on this is that Office 365 can cover you a long way if we just use a retention setting on 365 that keeps deleted data for e.g 7 years and perhaps use legal hold on specific VIPs.

But I would like to hear what everyone else is doing, both the technical and a little about the strategy.

5 Replies
best response confirmed by Jesper Stein (Contributor)

Hi Jesper,


You are correct you can use the in-built legal hold and data retention settings in Office 365 to cover most of your recovery needs, however this might not tick all the boxes for your company's backup policies as it is still contained within the same system. There are some good options for 3rd party backups like SkyKick,  Backupify & Avepoint, however they mostly will backup to Microsoft Azure and have unlimited retention with multiple backups a day, one item to note is that the data will still be stored with Microsoft (as it is in Azure) if that is a problem or not. 


We have used this with a quite a few customers in the past and while it works we have never needed to resort to using it due to the in-build retention in office 365.

I'd refer you to @Tony Redmond's articles on the subject, for example this one:

Hello Jesper,


CodeTwo Backup for Office 365: can help you here.


The application allows you to create full or granular backups of Office 365 mailboxes and store them on your local drives for as long as you need (your business data is not stored on any third party servers). And when it is needed, you can easily browse, preview and restore entire mailboxes, folders or even single items to Office 365 mailboxes.


If you would like to give it a try, here you can download a free trial version of CodeTwo Backup for Office 365:


If you have any questions, feel free to send me a message.




@Jesper Stein 

Hi, you are looking for a professional software to backup your Office 365 data safely. Then, I am here to suggest you one of the most reliable tool named Office 365 Backup tool that can easily backup and save and your Office 365 data without affecting original structure of the Office 365 data.  This professional tool can backup all your data including emails, calendar, contacts, etc. This professional tool is able to backup your emails with all its attachments. You can use this professional tool as per your requirement.

@Jesper Stein Please, let me give you 5 reasons to backup.  Native solutions like Litigation Hold and Recycle Bins are timebound. Once the time limit is up your data is permanently deleted.  

Native MS 365 Process

  1. Search discovery mailbox
  2. Export PST files
  3. Import PST files to another profile
  4. Replicate back to the server
  5. Data available (imprecise restore)

    Native MS 365 backup/restore solutions are archival in nature and not built for data recovery. This means that restore is tedious and destructive (changes are overwritten) without unlimited point-in-time, or cross-user recovery.  

    Its illustrated here:


And, on top of it all ... Microsoft recommends it themselves;


October 2017 

“If you want to support recovering message beyond 30 days, you would need to use a 3rd party service for the backup… Point in time restoration of mailbox items is out of scope for the Exchange Online service.”

– MS Technet Documentation:


February 2020

“After the 90-day retention period ends, Microsoft disables the account and deletes the customer data. No more than 180 days after expiration or termination of a subscription to Office 365, Microsoft disables the account and deletes all customer data from the account.”

– Microsoft Support:


I'm not objective at all as I believe the most comprehensive backup solution for Microsoft 365 is a 3rd party one, from