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Do you really need to backup office 365?

How to Ensure Business Continuity When Microsoft Backup Fails!

The importance of being earnest with the need for 3rd party backup!

One of Microsoft Windows 10’s most effective built-in backup features used to be its Registry backups. Though the Microsoft backup commands Do you really need to backup office 365?were still running and allegedly being performed successfully, the actual Registry backups had in fact no longer been created – for over a year. So, do you really need to backup office 365?

After numerous complaints, Microsoft explained what was happening, but such a long gap between Registry backups certainly caused problems for companies. This kind of issue demonstrates the importance of creating third-party backups, even if your operating system promises to provide recovery options.  Backup for online business solutions is also required because of the lack of restore possibilities beyond the built-in data retention periods, in solutions such as Office 365, G Suite, etc.

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What this article is about: 

  • Microsoft’s Registry Backups
  • History of Problems with Windows 10
  • Registry Backup Work-Around in Windows 10
  • Using CloudAlly’s Backup for Business

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Microsoft’s Registry Backups 

In June of 2019, Ghacks picked up on the fact that Microsoft was no longer creating Registry backups. While it seemed like these backups were being created as usual, only registry hives, not files, were actually appearing in the RegBack folder.

This meant, of course, that users weren’t able to restore their Registries back to an earlier state by using one of these backups.

Microsoft didn’t address this issue for nearly a year, and when they did, Forbes’ Consumer Tech writer Gordon Kelly calls their delayed response “worrying on multiple levels.”

It turns out that Windows 10 hadn’t been creating Registry backups for nearly a year. However, the tech giant didn’t dub this failure to make backups a bug or a glitch but instead called it a change “by design.”

An explanation (belatedly) issued by Microsoft reads:

“Starting in Windows 10, version 1803, Windows no longer automatically backs up the system registry to the RegBack folder… 

This change is by design, and is intended to help reduce the overall disk footprint size of Windows. To recover a system with a corrupt registry hive, Microsoft recommends that you use a system restore point.”

 What’s particularly shocking about this change is that users were led to believe that their Registry backups were still running as usual. After all, in the Registry backup folder, backups were still being added, though the actual file size of these phantom files was only 0 KB.

Kelly explains why Microsoft’s surprisingly-late explanation of this change is so problematic:

“Backing up a registry is a crucial last line of defense for many businesses and everyday users. Should a Windows System Restore point fail, barring the use of third-party software, the registry backup is all you have.” 

History of Problems with Windows 10 

When Windows 10 1803 was released in April 2018, users started complaining about the Registry backup issue in Microsoft’s Feedback Hub. However, nobody responded to their complaints or offered a solution to their problem.

Kelly dubs what Microsoft was doing here a “deception,” though it’s difficult to understand why the company might have wanted to make such a change without letting its user know about it. A backup registry usually takes up 50 to 100 MB on a disk, and if administrators wanted to free up this space, it seems they could have made the choice to turn off registry backups on their own.

While it’s unclear why Microsoft might have made this change – and then left users in the dark about it for more than a year – in April 2019, the company did promise to offer its users more transparency and honesty. However, as the company didn’t issue an explanation about what had been going on with Registry backup until two months after that, it remains to be seen if the company will live up to its promise.

With problems like these, it’s perhaps no surprise that so many users are resisting the move to Windows 10, instead hanging on to Windows 7 as long as they can.

Registry Backup Work-Around in Windows 10 

 Though Microsoft automatically disabled Registry backups, the company also gave administrators a workaround that allows them to re-enable this backup using by changing the Registry key’s value. Here’s how to do it:

  1.  First, type regedit.exe into the start menu and open the Registry Editor.
  2. Next, open the Configuration Manager using the key. HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Configuration Manager\
  3. From there, right click on the Configuration Manager and choose New > Dword (32-bit) Value. Call it EnablePeriodicBackup.
  4. After your backup has been created, double-click it to set its value to 1.
  5. Restart the computer.
  6. When Windows reboots, it will start backing up the Registry to the RegBack folder again and will use RegIdleBackup task to start performing regular backups again.

Do you really need to backup office 365?

CAPTION: From Microsoft 

Obviously, though, since Microsoft turned off this functionality, it doesn’t recommend this method for restoring corrupt registry hives. Instead, it suggests using a system restore point for this type of restoration.

Further, setting a Registry backup at this point is too little, too late for many users. Any user that wanted to restore the Registry to before Microsoft’s announcement in June 2019 – backups they believed they had – are out of luck, unless they were backing up their files with a third-party platform in the first place.

Using CloudAlly’s Backup for Business – on cloud solutions.

Business who wish to maintain business continuity, and be able to restore from any point in time with an unlimited retention period, for  solutions such as Microsoft Office 365 online, need to backup with 3rd party providers.

In turn, CloudAlly offers the security to know that your data will be recoverable.  CloudAlly backs up your data daily and allows for unlimited archiving. What’s more, you can use granular restore for single lost files or you can restore a mailbox or calendar, without losing updated information.

Follow These Tips to Prevent Data Loss on O365

Does Your Company Use Office 365?

Make Sure You Follow These Tips to Prevent Data Loss

There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the use of the cloud in recent years. Cloud computing increases a business’ efficiency, it helps reduce overhead costs, enables companies to be more flexible and it supports collaboration as well as communication. But what about data loss in the cloud?

With a reliable cloud-based solution in place, it means employees don’t necessarily have to be physically present in the office to be productive. Teams can be scattered all over the world and still be able to work as efficiently as they would if they were in the same brick-and-mortar office.

With all this functionality, it’s almost surprising to find out that there’s one aspect of enterprise cloud solutions that remains especially vulnerable–data loss.

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Take the popular Software as a Service (SaaS) platform, Office 365, as an example. Being one of the more prominent cloud collaboration tools, you would assume that any data that gets deleted on it–for whatever reason–can be easily retrieved. But you’d be wrong. Unfortunately, Office 365 doesn’t protect users against data loss due to malicious attacks or user error. This is particularly worrying given that a study conducted by Aberdeen Group clearly illustrates the rise of cloud adoption among businesses. According to their research, 80 percent of respondents say that some form of SaaS application is now being used in their companies. And 32 percent say that they have experienced SaaS data loss in their own organization in some form. In fact,  CSO from IDG notes that data breaches and accidental deletion are among the top 12 cloud security threats for 2017.

With these in mind, implementing actionable measures to reduce your vulnerability is essential. Because the reality is, the convenience comes at the expense of your data. Protecting your data–whether from malicious attacks or admin carelessness–is in your hands. And it starts by knowing what actionable steps you can take–


With that in mind, here are 5 ways you can avoid data loss in Office 365.

1. Ensure all mobile devices that access the platform are secure

It’s likely that your company uses both company-issued and personal devices to access work email, contacts, calendar, and other important data. In fact, MarketsandMarkets surveyed bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trends for 2017 and notes a 36 percent rise at the start of 2017.  This number is even expected to jump to 50 percent at the start of 2018.

Given this, make sure that your team is able to implement and follow the company’s security policies carefully. Adding a feature that allows you to remotely protect proprietary information from malicious deletion or attacks is critical given how often data breaches happen today.

2. Implement multi-factor authentication for users

Malicious attacks today are getting more and more sophisticated. A single password—even one that uses a mix of upper and lower case letter, punctuation marks, and numbers—won’t be enough to keep data stored in Office 365 safe. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so it’s best to enable multi-factor authentication to make it more difficult for hackers to access your account.

3. Avoid anonymous calendar sharing

One of the most useful features of Office 365 is its ability to share calendar information easily.

While it may seem like an innocuous feature unrelated to data breaches or loss, publicly sharing data can expose critical information about your business that would leave your company vulnerable to attacks. Hackers can use your schedules to determine how your company operates and identify which users are most vulnerable.

4. Establish role-based controls

Accessibility is one of the key advantages of Office 365. Be sure however to limit access to critical data. Carefully determine which users should and shouldn’t have access to specific files and features in your company. Talk to each department and coordinate with them to determine who should have access to what to minimize potential data leaks or loss.

5. Automate backups for your system

Office 365 unfortunately still only relies on the trash bin for data recovery. If someone hacks into your data, accidentally empties the bin, or maliciously destroys data, all your important data is gone forever. Implementing online data backups and disaster recovery will ensure that you have an archive of all your data, which you can recover if the need arises.

Office 365 has proven to be an essential tool for businesses today. But being responsible for the security of your company’s data means you have to be aware of the security risks you face while using it. To make sure that you protect your data from potential data loss, so get started with your free trial.

Office 365 Exchange Backup Procedures and Third-Party Backup with CloudAlly’s Office 365 Exchange Backup

O365 Exchange BackupOffice 365 Exchange Online is an immensely effective app, but it has one significant issue. While Office 365 offers a few limited built-in and one-time recovery options for Exchange Online, the app does not have a workable backup feature that lets you recover emails after they have been deleted for over 30 days. Never fear, though. You can safely operate Exchange Online if you use it in tandem with CloudAlly’s Office 365 Exchange Backup.

Read on for more information about Office 365 Online’s backup issues, Microsoft’s built-in solutions for a few of these issues, and CloudAlly’s Office 365 Exchange Backup.

Limited Backup in Exchange Online

One of the major drawbacks of Exchange Online is that its mailboxes are not backed up in the Office 365 infrastructure. Microsoft does offer DAG technologies in two datacenters that provide a reseed/repair process if your data fails. But this is not enough. Data can be lost in multiple ways, which is why having multiple backup options is so important. Here are a few common ways emails can be lost:

  • Human error
  • Malicious activity
  • Malware, spyware, or ransomware
  • Incomplete data recovery systems
  • Data corruption

Despite protests from Exchange administrators, Microsoft seems intent on sticking to its gun in not supporting Exchange Online mailboxes being backed up within the Office 365 infrastructure. Still, many administrators have lost essential information from databases that were improperly or infrequently backed up. Microsoft isn’t going to solve the problem or protect your data; so, what can you do to ensure that your company’s data is secure?

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Microsoft’s Suggestions for Restoring Email in Office 365 Exchange

Microsoft has a few built-in recovery options in Exchange Online. Some are standard features, while others require you to modify the system settings yourself.

Single item recovery

You can restore a single missing item in Exchange Online without restoring an entire mailbox database. If the Managed Folder Assistant processes a Recoverable Items folder for a mailbox with only one item recovery, that item will not be purged in the Purges subfolder if its retention period (by default, deleted emails are stored for 14 days) has not already passed.

Deleted item retention

Office 365 Exchange lets you restore deleted emails for up to 14 days. But you can also tweak the settings to recover email that has been deleted for up to 30 days. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Connect to Exchange Online’s PowerShell. To do this, enter the command $UserCredential = Get-Credential in the Windows PowerShell Credential Request dialog box. Click “OK.”
  2. Next, run the following command: $Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri https://outlook.office365.com/powershell-liveid/ -Credential $UserCredential -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection in the dialog box. Click “OK.”
  3. Next, run the following command ConnectionUrivalue (https://partner.outlook.cn/PowerShell).
  4. Finally, Run the following command: Import-PSSession $Session. You should now be connected to PowerShell.

5. You can choose to change only single users’ retention length. Say you are changing the retention length of a single user’s email. In this case, the user’s name is John Smith. Run the following command in the Exchange Management Shell: Set-Mailbox -Identity “John Smith” -RetainDeletedItemsFor 30 6. You can also change every user in your organization’s retention length by using the following command: Get-Mailbox -ResultSize unlimited -Filter {(RecipientTypeDetails -eq ‘UserMailbox’)} | Set-Mailbox -RetainDeletedItemsFor 30

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Placing a mailbox on litigation hold

A litigation hold solution helps you recover email that has been in deleted items longer than 30 days. It is meant to be used as a one-off recovery solution, not one that is sustainable or very often usable. A litigation hold recovers all versions of a deleted email; you can also set a specific hold length. Here are the steps for a litigation hold in Exchange Online:

  1. Enter PowerShell as described in Steps 1 through 4 above.
  2. Navigate to “Recipients” and “Mailboxes.”
  3. Choose the user mailbox that you want to put on litigation hold, and click “Edit.”
  4. Click “Mailbox features” on the mailbox properties page.
  5. Find “Litigation hold: Disabled” and click “Enable.”
  6. You can then specify several features of your litigation hold, including “Litigation hold duration (days),” “Note” (which lets you notify a user that his or her mailbox is on litigation hold), and “URL” (to provide users more information about litigation holds).
  7. Click “Save” on the litigation hold and again on the mailbox properties page.

Reasons Microsoft’s Backup Solutions Fall Short – “Cover Your Bases”

While Microsoft’s built-in solutions provide remedies to some issues with Exchange Online’s backup and recovery issues, these options are extremely limited and only solve a small number of problems that could arise. CloudAlly’s Office 365 Exchange Backup provides a complete and simple backup option. Instead of Microsoft’s limiting 30-day recovery time, Exchange that provides you with unlimited data storage and retention.

CloudAlly’s Office 365 Exchange Backup gives you piece of mind in backing up Exchange Online. But since there are so many ways that emails can be lost, it makes good sense to use as many backup options as possible. While Microsoft offers built-in backup options for Exchange Online, all these solutions are less complete than CloudAlly’s Exchange Backup. For complete safety, you may want to consider implementing Microsoft’s suggested backups and CloudAlly’s Exchange Backup when integrating Exchange Online into your company’s workflow.

Our Backup ensures that your Office 365 Exchange will be secured and recoverable, no matter what happens to your emails. In addition to email, Office 365 Exchange Backup backs up your contacts, calendar, and tasks so that even if something happens to this information, you’ll be able to retrieve it – and you can easily set up backup support for all your users. Exchange Backup automatically discovers new users, or lets you add new employees to the Backup manually.

Office 365 Exchange Backup backs up your data in two ways. The first backs up data so you can find emails lost at a certain time. From there, you can search for your missing email on a precise, specific level. The second backup allows you to export your Office 365 emails to be stored locally.

Ready to see what security feels like? Try our Office 365 Backup for free for 15 days.

Office 365: Threat Intelligence and Data Governance Tools

Microsoft Office 365: Threat Intelligence and Data Governance Tools

Threat Intelligence and Data Governance ToolsThere is a lot that’s new about Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud version of its traditional desktop software. Some of the biggest new benefits have to do with two major pillars of an enterprise strategy: first, identifying and mitigating threats in a network, and second, establishing policies and procedures for data governance. Threat Intelligence and Data Governance Tools, are significant to our work process in Microsoft Office 365.

 

Why do companies need good data governance and threat intelligence systems in place?

Lots of experts are looking at studies by Ponemon, one of which estimates the average cost of a data breach at around $4 million — there is also this article from writer Michael Panciroli in April that sites some troubling statistics, for example, an assertion that 45% of surveyed companies don’t have good enough data governance to protect them from serious legal and security risks.

That kind of gap is what these new cloud features of Office 365 are meant to address — to help client companies to get more effective cybersecurity in place, perform better advanced data governance, and know more about their business data assets.

Major Benefits of Microsoft Office 365 Threat Intelligence

There is a ton of functionality built into Microsoft Office 365 Threat Intelligence that’s related to foiling hackers, conquering malware, and generally keeping a network safe and clean.

One essential element is the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph — this new feature of Microsoft’s cloud security platform does two major things. One is that it’s a comprehensive data aggregation center that takes in diverse input from hundreds of different sources, along with many of the 350 billion authentications that Microsoft manages each month. The other is that it utilizes machine learning components to increase its threat mitigation power even more. (See more detail on the strengths of Microsoft’s Intelligent Security Graph from Microsoft Vice President of Enterprise Client & Mobility Brad Anderson in this testimonial video.)

In other words, part of the strength of Microsoft Office 365 Threat Intelligence tools is the amount of raw data available to a machine learning system that can work with it and make it into actionable results — for instance, offering real-time tools and alerts, isolating and dealing with content that looks suspicious, and integrating with other security information and event management tools.

Aside from the Intelligent Security Graph, the Office 365 platform also now offers a new Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) reporting interface with all sorts of dashboard views related to network activity. The ability to extend this to desktop clients, and to infiltrate areas of an enterprise network, is very useful to business leaders who need to keep an eagle eye out for disturbing warning signs of inappropriate activity. Maybe it’s a logon from a suspicious location, or activity by an employee that hasn’t been on staff for years. Another major red flag is a significant volume of file deletions, which is another real-time indicator that Microsoft Office 365 Threat Intelligence can analyze.

Relating Microsoft Office 365 Threat Intelligence to Advanced Data Governance

Businesses know that data governance is critically important. Many of them also understand how having access to raw data and tools to filter and refine that data adds to the threat intelligence that they benefit from in-house. But not every business understands how new Microsoft Office 365 tools can enhance data governance in concrete ways. For instance, cloud policy recommendations will help to define data that should be kept and stored in an archive, or data that can safely be discarded. That’s just one aspect of having a security and compliance portal that helps businesses to build and classify their data.

Along with having good data governance and threat intelligence software capabilities, CloudAlly’s Office 365 backup and recovery service is another important part of a fundamental cyber security system. By providing automated daily backups and the ability to restore or export data from any point in time, CloudAlly ensures ongoing business continuity in the event of data loss.