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Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) environments, such as Microsoft Office 365, have become extremely popular among enterprise-level organizations looking to move traditional business-critical services, such as email and file storage, to the cloud. When you move business-critical data to the cloud, backups of your cloud environment are essential.
Many of the major backup vendors that have made their name backing up traditional virtualized environments are now setting their sights on SaaS environments. With the release of NAKIVO Backup & Replication v9.2, NAKIVO has added Office 365 backup as a feature of their core product. In this review of NAKIVO Backup & Replication v9.2, I will take a look at the new features of this release, including Office 365 support.
New features in NAKIVO Backup & Replication v9.2 ^
Generally, with a new release of a backup product, there is a long list of items that are introduced in a major version; however, NAKIVO Backup & Replication v9.2 offers one major new feature—Office 365 backup. This feature opens a new world of customer potential for NAKIVO, since Office 365 is one of the fastest growing SaaS offerings.
In particular, with the v9.2 release, NAKIVO has introduced the ability to back up Exchange Online email. This means at that at this time, you can't back up OneDrive or SharePoint. While one can only assume these will be added in future releases of NAKIVO Backup & Replication, this could be a limiting factor for now, as most organizations using Office 365 email also use OneDrive.
While many of the Office 365 backup solutions make use of cloud storage to store your Office 365 environment, NAKIVO uses your existing NAKIVO infrastructure either on-premises or in the cloud for backup storage.
One nice advantage of using an existing on-premises NAKIVO configuration is that your backup data is stored outside the environment that is protected. This allows for much better data resiliency, so you don't have all your "eggs in one basket," and it certainly helps to satisfy the 3-2-1 backup best practice rule. Many cloud-to-cloud backup solutions may actually use the same cloud storage that backs Office 365, such as Azure storage.
Why is Office 36 backup important? ^
Is it really important to back up your cloud SaaS environments, such as Office 365? It is a common misconception to think that cloud storage is totally immune to the type of data loss that on-premises environments might be subject to. While public cloud SaaS environments do tout many layers of resiliency that are simply not possible with traditional on-premises environments, data loss can happen.
There are two main data-loss culprits in cloud environments:
- End user actions – End users may intentionally or unintentionally delete data with or without malicious intent. A well-meaning employee might accidentally delete business-critical data. Or a malicious employee might purposely delete data with the goal of disrupting business continuity.
- Malware, including ransomware – Ransomware can attack cloud SaaS environments by way of file synchronization, malicious apps, or other means.
Backing up your data in your cloud environment helps to protect against data loss resulting from the above reasons and helps to ensure business continuity when leveraging cloud SaaS applications.
Office 365 Backup ^
I really like the fact that the new Office 365 backup feature in NAKIVO Backup & Replication v9.2 is not a "bolt-on" or additional appliance that you have to deploy to have the new functionality. It has been added as a native component of the traditional NAKIVO appliance and is deployed with v9.2.
NAKIVO provides one of the most flexible sets of deployment options you will find. It includes many deployment options, such as a Windows installer, a Linux installer, VMware Virtual Appliance (OVA), Nutanix AHV Virtual Appliance, NAS installer, installer for Raspberry Pi, and Amazon AWS EC2 deployments.
What features are included as part of the new NAKIVO Backup & Replication v9.2 Office 365 backup offering?
- Protect all Office 365 Exchange Online mailboxes – NAKIVO enables you to protect your entire Exchange Online account hierarchy. This means the solution can automatically protect newly added Exchange Online mailboxes without any administrative intervention. Additionally, since you can choose which mailboxes you want to back up, your control over such backups is much more granular.
- Incremental backups – NAKIVO performs a full backup only on the first mailbox backup in the environment. After that, NAKIVO performs only incremental backups, so that only the new emails in the mailboxes are backed up with each run.
- Advanced Scheduling – Office 365 backups can be run on demand. However, NAKIVO has built-in scheduling that enables running the Office 365 jobs automatically.
- Backups of your Office 365 environment with NAKIVO are stored locally, on premises – You have total control of the backup data, which contains your Exchange Online email data. Having a copy of your cloud data on premises certainly gives you options if you become locked out of your account or the entire account becomes compromised. You still possess and have access to your environment backups.
- Granular recovery – NAKIVO enables you to restore email items down to an individual email in a particular mailbox. It has a built-in recovery wizard that allows choosing the backup and recovery point, searching the contents, selecting the email in question and recovering it to its original location or a different mailbox altogether.
- eDiscovery – Using the search feature in NAKIVO, you can perform eDiscovery actions quite easily and find items that are needed for compliance and regulatory mandates.
Adding an Office 365 environment
With NAKIVO Backup & Replication v9.2, adding an Office 365 environment for backup is as simple as adding it to the NAKIVO inventory. This is the same type of process you would perform to add a VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, or Nutanix AHV environment to your appliance for backup.
As you will see below, you need to provide:
- Tenant ID
- Azure Client ID
- Azure Client Secret
After successfully providing this information and adding your Office 365 environment, you should see a list of mailboxes displayed that are contained in your Office 365 environment. Below you will see a very small test environment added to test the functionality.
After you add the Office 365 environment to your NAKIVO appliance, you will be able to create backup jobs as you would for a virtual machine in the NAKIVO user interface.
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NAKIVO Backup & Replication v9.2 has introduced a feature that is in high demand with the introduction of Office 365 backup. With many businesses migrating data to Office 365 and other SaaS environments, organizations are looking at products to protect their data in these environments. NAKIVO Backup & Replication v9.2 provides the new capability to back up your Office 365 Exchange mailbox environment with the same appliance, interface, and workflow you are used to using. Note that currently, email is the only Office 365 service that you can back up with NAKIVO. There is a fully-featured trial version of NAKIVO Backup & Replication v9.2 available for download.