Is Your Office 365 Data as Secure as You Think?

Office 365 Data Security

When it comes to storing data, the cloud is becoming one of the most popular choices in the business world today. Storing data remotely has a lot of advantages for both home and professional users, and as a result Office 365 Data security is essential. Yet, with that, comes the risk of data loss. With more people accessing important data from any location with any device, you are always at a risk. Users of Office 365 are no exception to this risk either.

What this article is about:

When you talk about security risks, the first thing that comes to your mind is hacking. However, a hacker isn’t the primary cause of data loss.

A 2013 study by Aberdeen found that 47% of cloud data loss was because of user mistakes, not outside threats. Is Office 365 data secure? Let’s take a look at the risks associated with using Office 365, and how to reduce data loss.

It’s Actually Just You Most of the Times

The research also suggests that 32% of businesses had faced SaaS data loss in one form or another. The most surprising finding of this research was the real culprit of this data loss. It’s usually the users, and not a hacker.

According to the same report, over 70% of SaaS data loss is accidental. Mistakenly deleted files take up 47% of that data loss. The remaining 24% is composed of accidentally overwritten files.

Data Recovery Is Actually a Myth

A common misconception is that Microsoft backs up all Office 365 data so it can recover lost data. That isn’t true. Microsoft only secures their Office 365 data centers from total failures. They don’t protect your data against accidental losses because of your own mistakes.

To put it in simple words, if you lose a file by your own negligence or by accident, you may never be able to get it back. As Microsoft says it itself that, “With Office 365, it’s your data. You own it. You control it. And it is yours to take with you if you decide to leave the service.”

So what can be done to avoid a loss of that nature? Here are some ideas.

Look for Third-Party Backup Solutions

Microsoft isn’t currently protecting users from accidental data loss, but there is a workaround. Office 365 data can easily be protected through third-party solutions. SaaS vendors now recommend third-party backup solutions as a rule to cut down data loss.

Cloud-to-cloud backup solutions can help keep data significantly safer. It’s also a lot easier to restore and retrieve data when needed this way. However, with so many solutions available, choosing the best fit isn’t that easy. The key is to find one that you can rely on.

Develop a Data Loss Prevention Policy

Enforce a “don’t delete until permitted” policy to prevent accidental data loss. Such policies help minimize data loss and employees develop a habit of backing things up on their own.

You can also educate your employees about using Office 365 effectively. Training them to think twice before deleting an item is a good idea too. This policy would help keep critical data a lot safer. One good news is that Office 365 doesn’t empty the Deleted Items folder automatically.

This means that regular backups can protect accidentally deleted files from being permanently lost.

Be Proactive and Stay Prepared

Forrester Research says that data breaches are inevitable and we should prepare for them. The fastest growing, “shadow IT” activity is tearing down firewalls and protective measures. That leaves businesses vulnerable to data loss and information theft.

Educating your employees about data loss is key to keeping your information safe. Train them to cut down user errors that result in data loss and adopt a more cautious stance. This way, they’ll think twice before deleting something by habit, and will keep backups.

However, data loss is inevitable and it will happen. Data loss is a major risk with any cloud application. It could be caused by any number of reasons such as accidental deletion or unexpected sync errors. Your data is your responsibility and backing it up at more than one place is the safest way to go!

How are you backing up your cloud data right now? What measures are you taking to safeguard against accidental data loss? Read more about how to backup office 365 and prevent data loss HERE.


5 Reasons to Move Your Business to the Cloud

The cloud has changed the way we manage our data and infrastructure. Because of the myriad benefits, more and more businesses have started embracing it these days. Hence; 5 Reasons to Move Your Business to the Cloud – are essential to your ongoing business.

According to a recent study by Goldman Sachs, the investment in cloud computing platforms and infrastructure will increase at a 30% CAGR compared to 5% growth for overall enterprise IT. 42% of IT leaders plan to invest more in cloud computing in 2015 as per a Computerworld report. By 2018, over 60% of enterprises expect to have at least 50% of their infrastructure on cloud-based platforms, according to Bill McNee from Saugatuck Technology.

These reports show how rapidly the cloud is growing, but the core question is why do these businesses keep increasing their spending? What benefits can it bring to a business and does it really pay off? Let’s find out.

What this article is about:

Reasons To Move Your Business To The Cloud

1. Reduces IT Expenses

Zero Capital Investment

Setting up a physical infrastructure needs a large amount of capital investment, but the cloud doesn’t require any major infrastructure deployment as that is taken care by your cloud provider and so you don’t need to make a hefty CAPEX.

Lower Resource Costs

You need resources to manage your servers and reliable resources are expensive; their compensation, benefits, and other associated employment costs could be far greater than your total hardware and software costs. Moreover, the cost of recruiting the right resource is also significant as well.

When you move to the cloud, you don’t need to worry about resource costs as your provider has their own in-house resources to take care of your data. They are always available whenever you need them and at a fraction of the cost as you just need to pay for their service and nothing else.

2. Scalable

One of the biggest issues with physical infrastructure is scalability. If your business grows, you need to increase your IT infrastructure as well and that requires significant investments in hardware and software, hiring new resources for maintenance, and the immense effort and time costs involved as well.

The cloud easily nullifies your worries about scalability. For example, if you don’t need a large amount of data storage right now, but forecast that you’ll need it later on, all you need to do is just pay for the space you require right now, and then get more space when you need it.

You can easily upgrade or downgrade your storage plan as per your requirements at that time, without any hassles in setup, recruitment, and maintenance resulting in greater flexibility and agility.

An example of how scalable the cloud is, Microsoft’s cloud storage solution OneDrive for Business. It costs only $5 per month per user and comes with one TB of storage space. If your employee count increases, you just need to pay for the storage space per user and Microsoft will handle the rest itself.

3. Keeps Your Data Safe

Today, due to the increasing amount of advanced security threats, the probability of data loss and theft has increased manifold. When your data is stored on local storage or server, any cyber-attack can cripple your organization. Moreover, if your server crashes, you could end up losing your data permanently.

Can you afford to lose sensitive data?

When you store your data in the cloud, you don’t need to worry about security. Most cloud providers pay a lot of attention to security measures such as the availability of highly skilled security specialists 24/7, biometric security to access their data centers, physical security guards on site, redundant power, and strong file encryption.

However, even though your cloud provider takes care of your local data, in regards to uptime and availability, it doesn’t cover risks like user error, sync malfunction and they only backup you have is the recycle bin. That is why, when you move your data to the cloud you also need to set up a cloud-to-cloud backup solution as well to add an extra layer of security. Incidents that might wipe out your data completely are rare, but not unknown. You can avoid permanent data loss by backing up your cloud data to another cloud.

For example, if you accidentally delete your data stored on Google Drive of Office 365 and don’t notice the accidental deletion within 30-days (or more, depending on your pricing plan), your data will be lost forever and Google won’t be able to help you recover it. But, if you have a backup service that backs up your data automatically at regular intervals, you wouldn’t lose all your data.

4. Simplifies Communication and Collaboration

Whether it’s document sharing, real-time editing, or other forms of collaboration, the cloud enables you to do it from anywhere and anytime easily. An example is Microsoft’s productivity suite Office 365. It comes with:

  • Outlook email – a cloud-based email solution that helps you access your email from anywhere
  • SharePoint Online – it makes data organization and sharing easy with all team members
  • Skype for Business – which facilitates live chat or video conferencing with your team members from any part of the world
  • OneDrive storage – where you can store your crucial data and share with anyone easily
  • Office suite – which helps you to create documents and collaborate with your team members easily, at the same time

The best part about cloud-based collaboration tools is that they are accessible from anywhere in the world.

5. Enables You to Test Before You Buy

When it comes to software or a server, businesses can make the mistake of embracing new technology without first understanding what kind of value it would deliver to them. They make huge up-front investments without testing the system beforehand, and that is a very risky move.

On the other hand, cloud applications encourage you to test their services before you buy. This helps you determine whether it is even relevant and viable for your organization or not.

An example is the cloud-based CRM solution, Salesforce. It comes with several products for sales, marketing, and analytics, and comes with a 14-day free trial. Within that period, you can test their service and see if it really is beneficial for your business or not.


There are numerous reasons why cloud infrastructure is the way forward, but these reasons vary based on individual requirements and usage scenarios. Because of that, it is always better to first talk to a professional consultant who knows the pros and cons of the system you’re opting for. That person will help you plan for the implementation properly.


Do you plan to migrate to the cloud in the near future? What are the biggest challenges you are expecting, and how will you counter them? Try our service free for 15 days, backup your business-critical data today! Or read more about Why you need to backup Google Apps and Office 365

Now that you know the reasons you should move your business to the cloud…


Data Backup Solutions – Preventing Data Loss Effectively

IT security has always remained a key concern for every business and with the recent spike in the rise of advanced security breaches like OPM and Target; it has not only become a priority but a crucial component of our IT strategy, and data backup solutions in particular.

External threat can come in many forms such as viruses, worms, phishing attacks, hacking, spam, and can be a well-planned, targeted attack on your organization as well, such as the famous Sony hack.

According to a survey conducted by B2B International and Kaspersky, 91% of the respondents experienced a cyber-attack at least once every year.

However, it isn’t just external threats that can damage your business. Insider threats are an even bigger risk.

According to a recent report by Vormetric, which is based on a survey conducted by Harris Poll, around 93% of respondent U.S IT leaders admitted that their organizations are vulnerable to insider threats.

Another survey by Market Connection, in partnership with SolarWinds found that 57% of respondents believe careless or accidental insiders are more damaging than malicious insiders, while 64% said malicious insider threats are more damaging than malicious external threats.

Source: Kaspersky

The figures are alarming and if you are not serious about your data security and don’t plan, then you should be ready to lose your crucial data anytime.

Nevertheless, the crucial question you should ask is how can you avoid data loss and an inevitable solution to this is a backup solution. If you backup your data in advance, to a safe and secure place, then even during the event of either external or internal attacks, your data will remain safe.

So, let’s see the different ways you can backup your data.

Data Backup Solutions

Tape-Based Backup

Tape-based backup has been in use since 1960 and is an age-old backup method. A large number of well-established and older businesses find it easier and prefer to carry on with this backup solution as it is time-tested, and most importantly, because it doesn’t require any infrastructure upgrade which could prove to be a headache for any business.

Most enterprises use it as a secondary backup though. They use another system as their primary backup solution and use physical tape to create a redundant, additional backup of their data off-site to keep their data safe even during natural disasters.

However, the biggest disadvantage of tape-based backup is that it has become quite anachronistic and it takes significantly longer to backup data as compared to other systems. Moreover, the tapes are prone to failure and are fragile, leading to unreadable and corrupt data.

Disk-Based Backup

Disk-based backups are nothing but storing your data on disk storage as a backup, and the most common storage media used are hard drives or optical disks. The backup and recovery process is quick, easy, and reliable, only if you take care of the disk and systems the backups are stored on.

Another benefit with this backup is that hard disk prices are a lot lower as compared to before and are constantly falling further with increasing storage space, which makes it even more affordable and better value for money as it allows you to fit more data on fewer devices in cost-effective pricing.

However, because it is highly reliant on hard drives or optical disks, any damage to your disk storage can lead to data loss. Moreover, as most businesses keep these physical disks on-site, any disaster could result in a loss of these backups.

Cloud Backup

With this option, cloud providers host your backups on their servers. You can simply connect to the server via an internet connection to backup your data.

One of the most significant advantages with cloud backup is that you don’t need to invest in infrastructure, maintenance, and IT resources to manage your data as everything is taken care of by the cloud providers. The best part about a cloud backup solution is that it is very scalable..

It is easily accessible from anywhere and is very affordable. Aside from easy management, backup, and recovery, it is also faster to set up. All you need is internet connectivity and you’ll be able to restore your data in a matter of hours.

While everything appears to be good with the cloud, one disadvantage is that you need faster internet connectivity if you want to backup and work on your data simultaneously. Setting up a better network infrastructure is a significant investment, as is a dedicated, fast, internet connection.

Another issue with cloud backup is that since this is a relatively a newer concept, quite a few businesses are having a hard time adopting it and trusting it at the moment.

Cloud-to-Cloud Backup

Cloud-to-Cloud backup is nothing but backing up your cloud data to another safe and secure cloud environment. It is different from cloud backup, as it deals with the data stored in the cloud.

An example is backing up your data stored on Google Drive, which is a cloud-based, data storage and productivity solution. You might store sensitive information on Google Drive, but any security breach caused by internal or external forces can lead to data loss and damage your business significantly.

The Elastica Cloud Threat Labs recently identified a Google Drive phishing campaign where an attacker set up phishing web pages on the platform itself, to steal data. However, if you have a cloud-to-cloud backup solution in place, you won’t need to worry about data loss.

Such a solution can save your data from theft by backing it up to another cloud storage platform. With CloudAlly cloud-to-cloud backup solution we automatically back up our clients’ cloud data, whether it is on Google Apps, Office 365, or Salesforce, to a safe and secure, unlimited Amazon storage account, to ensure integrity even if the primary backup is affected by some security breach or application glitch. Your data remains safe and accessible as it is backed up on another cloud platform.

The best part about this solution is that it is highly scalable and causes zero downtime, while improving productivity.

So, which backup solution do you plan to go for? Are you using one of the aforementioned backup solutions currently? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below.

If you want to learn more about cloud-to-cloud backup, read  office 365 backup or  Google Apps backup.



3 Reasons to Stop by Booth #1607 at Microsoft WPC

3 Reasons to Stop by Booth #1607 at Microsoft WPC

Microsoft WPC

Microsoft WPC, is so close, we can hardly wait! Are you going to be there? Here are 3 reasons to stop by our booth:

1. Meet CloudAlly team and learn all about CloudAlly backup for Office 365

Microsoft WPC will be your first chance to talk to us face-to-face about our awesome office 365 that include backup to email,contacts,calendar,and tasks. You can also find out about CloudAlly backup for  SharePoint/OneDrive.

2. Our Partner Programs for VARs, Resellers, ISVs, MSPs and more!

Are you one of the above? Stop by to meet Emilia Dariel, our Head of Marketing & Biz Dev and find out about exciting partnership opportunities. Want to set up a meeting? E-mail her at

3) Free Stuff (for your kids)!

Wanna skip the guilt-ridden, overpriced shopping for your kids at the airport this year? We know your kids are the #1 benefactors of conference swag, which is why this year we made stuff specifically for them. Stop by our booth #1607 to pick up for your son or daughter a SUPERPOWER swag (it’s a surprise)!

Hope to see you at Microsoft WPC 2015, July 12 – 16th at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. We’ll be at Booth # 1607 hanging out with a life-sized Superhero…

Going to be there? Contact to reserve your swag (they go fast!).

Read more about Office 365 backup, and checkout how Second Start Technologies prevented office 365 data loss.

Office 365 Data Recovering Process

Recovering Deleted Emails, Contacts,
and Calendar Items in Office 365

The essential guide for: Office 365 restore calendar items, and Office 365 recover deleted calendar items.

Recovering Deleted Emails, Contacts, and Calendar Items in Office 365Office 365 Data Recovering Process – Data loss is a very real threat that can be caused by anything such as viruses, malware, or even phishing. However, the most common reason is usually accidental deletion. We sometimes mistakenly delete emails or other important items; while at other times, we end up needing recently deleted items because they suddenly become relevant to an ongoing project.  Hence, Recovering Deleted Emails, Contacts, and Calendar Items in Office 365, is essential to business operations.

What this article is about:

We have already talked about recovering Gmail and other Google Apps data in our previous posts. They’re worth a read too if you haven’t checked them out already.

Things To Know About Deleted Data In Office 365

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In this article, you will learn how to recover your deleted data in Office 365, be it your emails or other deleted items.

Recovering deleted files is easy if they’re still in the deleted items folder, but things get tricky if they aren’t. The duration that Outlook keeps items in the deleted folder can be set from the admin settings. For example, the default settings leave things in the Office 365 deleted items folder for 14 days before permanently removing them. That can be easily changed to 30 or more days.

Let’s take a look at how we can retrieve deleted items using the Outlook Web App (OWA) or any Outlook clients such as Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2013

Steps to Retrieve Items from Deleted Items Folder in Outlook Web App

  1. Login to your OWA account
  2. Choose the “Deleted Items” folder from the email folders list
  3. Right click on the deleted email, and click Move > Inbox. This will restore the email
  4. In order to retrieve a deleted calendar item, right click on it and click Move to Calendar
  5. In order to restore a deleted task or contact, right click on it and click Move to Tasks or Move to Contacts respectively

Steps to Retrieve Items that are emptied from Deleted Items Folder in the Outlook Web App

Even if you empty the deleted items folder, and then realize that you accidentally deleted an item, you can still recover your deleted data. Here’s how:

  1. Sign-in to your Outlook Web App account
  2. Right Click on the “Deleted Items” folder from the folder list and then select “Recover Deleted Items
  3. Choose the item that you want to retrieve and click on “Recover
  4. The deleted item should be restored back to its original location. For example, emails will go back to your Inbox, while calendar items will go back to the Calendar

Steps to Restore Deleted Items in Outlook 2010 and 2013

  1. Make sure you use a Microsoft Exchange Server Account (not POP3 or IMAP)
  2. Click on “Folder” and select the Recover Deleted Items option
  3. Choose the email or other items that need to be restored and then select Recover Selected Items
  4. The retrieved items are restored back to the folder the user is working on

Thus, one can easily restore deleted items even if they have been ‘hard deleted’ using the “Shift + Delete” keys or after emptying the Deleted Items folder. For Office 365 users or other Exchange-based client users, the recovery procedure can be handled using the OWA. Alternatively, Microsoft Exchange account users can use the recovery procedure for Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013.

If you took all the actions above and still can’t find that lost Office 365 data you were looking for, then you must have deleted it a while ago, and then you can’t recover it since Microsoft automatically erases it after 30 days (less/more depending on your plan and definitions).

However, if you are using CloudAlly, then you can easily recover your deleted data, even though it was permanently erased.

Recover your deleted email with CloudAlly

  1. Log in to your account in CloudAlly dashboard
  2. Go to the Office 365 account you would like to restore and click on it
  3. Search for the data type (email/calendar/contacts)  and date you want to recover
  4. Click on restore/export
  5. Get your recovered data to your account or desktop

It’s really simple and easy to restore lost online with CloudAlly automated backups for Office 365. Next time, if you are using CloudAlly, you can skip all those steps, log in to CloudAlly and recover your lost data. As simple as a click… Start to backup your office 365 Exchange with a Free 14 day trial.

Anthem Security Breach – A Wake Up Call

Healthcare Security Breach

The security breach at Anthem is the largest health care breach to date as pointed out by Mandiant, and we believe it’s in the top 5 security breaches of all times across any industry. This and recent breaches such as Home Depot and of course Sony Pictures Entertainment, is a clear sign that even companies with extremely robust IT infrastructure are at risk of potential attacks and malicious destruction or theft of personal data, especially for healthcare security breach.

Health care data is extremely sensitive and the issue of protection is already very important and governed under HIPAA rules.  The fact that so many dollars have already been invested in HIPAA compliance are proof that protecting this data has been taken very seriously. But keep in mind that today’s attack was not about health care or financial information, it was clearly aimed at getting personal data. We believe the big story here is that this represents 80 million potential identify thefts.

All of the major players including Amazon, Microsoft, Google, Apple and Samsung have world class IT infrastructure and  security systems firmly in place. Apple surely deserves a credit for trying to limit the use of personal information for data mining, but that really addresses the marketing and spam issues, not these types of sophisticated attacks. Unfortunately it’s a never ending battle as new systems and new features will almost always introduce new vulnerabilities that can be exploited by sophisticated hackers.

It’s unlikely that these types of attacks will stop regardless of how tight a security system is, but the key take away is that security is an ongoing process that needs to continually be refined and improved over time. Companies of all sizes need to take security seriously, have the necessary software, people and processes in place, and make sure that each employee understands these processes and their individual role in securing the company’s data. And it’s no longer just companies with large data centers that are at risk. As companies move to cloud based services such as Microsoft Office 365, Salesforce and Box, they need to ensure that the data stored in these services is secure and available for recovery in the event of accidental or malicious destruction of data.

Read more on data loss in the cloud and why do we need to backup online data

Read CloudAlly’s comment featured on the Fast Company article about the Anthem Breach