Revisiting some facts around Microsoft 365 backup

A while ago I wrote an article:

Do you need to backup Office 365?

Recently, Tony Redmond wrote this article on a similar topic:

Questioning Six Reasons Why Backing up Office 365 is Critical

That then lead to the following debate:

The Great Debate: The Need For Office 365 Backup [VIDEO]

I’ve also seen people quote the following from Microsoft:

Microsoft Services Agreement

which contains the following clause:


which reads:

“We recommend that you regularly backup Your Content and Data that you store on the Services or store using Third-Party Apps and Services.”

However, it is important to note at the top of that document:


which reads:

These terms (“Terms“) cover the use of those Microsoft consumer products, websites, and services listed at the end of these Terms here (#serviceslist) (the “Services“).”

Note hyperlink to “services” that agreement actually covers. That leads to the following URL:

and when you look through that list there are no M365/O365 commercial services listed:


Thus, that Microsoft Services Agreement doesn’t apply when talking about data retention in Microsoft 365 commercial products.

In fact, the following slide was taken from a recent Microsoft Ignite 2020 presentation:


Here’s the time stamped video it came from – (Protecting Exchange Online Mailboxes As A Secure Vault)

I will also highlight the following article:

Set the OneDrive retention for deleted users

which says:


The minimum value is 30 days and the maximum value is 3650 days (ten years).

As my original article states and Tony Redmond reinforces, the importance is to understand what M365 does out of the box with data retention and how that can and ‘should’ be configured to reduce risk. After which, third party products can be added to supplement what Microsoft 365 does. As I say, more backups are good but at some point they fail to significantly reduce risk for the investment made in them. That point is up to the individual business to determine.

It is important to have the correct information when it comes to data retention and recovery in Microsoft 365, and if you don’t appreciate what can be done with Microsoft 365 out of box then I’d encourage you to go and take a closer look, because it does a pretty good job in my opinion.

Office 365 Backup presentation

Here’s the slides from my short theatre presentation at Ignite Copenhagen

THR30149 – Do you need to backup Office 365?

Is there are need to backup Microsoft 365 data given the feature set in place? What exactly is provided out of the box by Microsoft and what might require the consideration of additional solutions? What are the best practices with what can be enabled in Microsoft 365 to provide maximum data protection before considering alternatives? Determining this will help you create a better and more effective policy to ensure the availability of your information in all situations. Come and learn how to better protect your data and what additional steps you can take to improve its security and reliability.