Product: Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365
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One of the big problems with cloud-based SaaS applications is that they can instill a false sense of security. Because the data that is associated with those applications resides within the cloud, it is easy to assume that the cloud provider takes responsibility for keeping that data safe. However, it is actually up to subscribers to protect their own data. While SaaS providers like Microsoft presumably take measures to protect data against cloud-level data loss, they do not generally offer to restore data for individual subscribers. Hence, if you want to ensure the safety of your Office 365 data, you will need to back that data up yourself.
As Microsoft Office 365 has gained increasing popularity, a number of vendors have come forward with solutions for backing up Office 365 data. I have heard people say that Veeam provides a really solid Office 365 backup solution, so I was curious to try it out for myself to see if it lives up to the hype.
Installing Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 was a simple process. I simply had to install the required version of the .NET framework and then work my way through a typical setup wizard. It took me about five minutes to get everything installed.
Once I finished installing the software, I was really curious as to what would be involved in connecting it to Microsoft Office 365. I was hoping that the software would not require each user’s resources to be protected individually.
As it turns out, Veeam actually made it really easy to connect your Office 365 organization. The software allows you to choose between a cloud-based Office 365 deployment, a hybrid deployment, or an on-premises deployment. You can also choose the resources that you want to protect, as shown in the screenshot below. Veeam focuses on Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business. Microsoft Teams is also covered, because Teams is essentially an abstraction layer to chat, post and share, and all of that data is journaled into Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business.
Once you have chosen your installation type, you are prompted to choose an authentication method. You can either opt to use modern (MFA and certificate-based) authentication, or you can use password-based, basic authentication. Although modern authentication is the preferred option, I tried the basic authentication option. I provided a set of credentials, and the Veeam software took care of assigning the required roles and permissions to the specified account. At that point, my Office 365 subscription was connected to the Veeam software, as shown in the next screenshot.
Creating a backup job
Once I had connected Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 to my Office 365 subscription, I decided to try creating a backup job. As expected, the process began by asking me to provide a name and a description for the job that I was creating.
The next screen asked me what I wanted to back up. I was given a choice between backing up the entire organization and backing up specific objects. Although I ultimately decided to create a backup of the entire organization, I decided to try out the option to back up specific objects. When you choose this option and click the Add button, you are given the opportunity to choose between users, groups, sites, and organizations. You can see what this looks like in the following screenshot.
I decided to try out a user backup and was promptly taken to a screen that allowed me to pick which users I wanted to back up. If you look closely at the screenshot below, you will notice that it contains tabs that you can use if you want to include some other types of objects in your backup.
As I said a moment ago, I decided to back up the entire organization. The console’s Backup Infrastructure tab gives you the ability to create backup repositories in the location of your choosing, but I decided to write my backup to the default repository since it had plenty of free space.
Not surprisingly, the New Backup Job wizard provided a number of options for customizing my backup job. A few of these options included excluding objects, choosing a backup repository, selecting a backup proxy, and creating a job schedule. You can see the scheduling screen in the next screenshot.
Once you create a backup job, the console shows you the job status, as well as when the backup was last run and when it is scheduled to run again. The next screenshot shows how a backup job is displayed.
The History tab, shown below, displays a list of the backup jobs that have run. You can click on a job to get more detailed information, as shown in the figure below. You can also filter the job history based on jobs that were successful or that contained errors or warnings.
Restoring a backup
Before the software allows you to perform a restoration, you will have to install a separate Explorer component (Exchange Explorer, SharePoint Explorer, etc.). These Explorers allow you to browse your backups. Once the necessary explorers have been installed, you can drill down into your backup jobs and choose the items that you wish to restore. In the next figure for example, you can see that I have selected specific items within an Exchange mailbox.
If you look at the toolbar in the screen capture above, you will notice that there is an option to perform an advanced find. You can also compare items against the production environment, and there is even an option to show only the items that have changed. Oh, and in case you are wondering, Veeam does give you the ability to restore Exchange data to a different mailbox.
Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365: The Verdict
Whenever I write a product review for TechGenix, I always conclude the review by assigning the product a star rating. These ratings can range from zero stars to five stars, with five stars being the highest possible score. So with that said, I decided to give Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 a score of 4.7, which is a gold star rating.
Overall, I really liked Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365. I found the software to be fast, responsive, and stable, and I thought that the administrative interface was really intuitive.
The only thing that I didn’t like about the software was having to install the Explorer components before I could browse or restore my backup data. Don’t get me wrong: The Explorer installation process was almost effortless. It’s just that I would have preferred for the required components to have been installed automatically when I installed the main application. Aside from that, though, Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 is a great product.