Free Office 365 Backup from Veeam

SAAS & Backups

SAAS has to be the first move for most companies to the cloud. Rather than build your own let someone else worry about the development and support costs, all you have to do is turn up and use it right? Whilst many companies will take this approach and put complete trust in their provider, an often forgotten aspect is backup.

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Native Office 365 Protection

It is important to understand what Microsoft offers you in terms of data protection as it may vary from what you are used to internally. In a traditional on premise data protection scenario you would back up the full environment including the infrastructure and application layer. This would not only give you a DR position but also granular restore of all your applications within it. Microsoft assures the availability of Exchange data by using DAGs across a geographically dispersed area and backups for the protection of their infrastructure. To recover deleted items from Exchange within Office 365 by default you have 30 days of recovery points to choose from.

Limitations

First of all it’s clear this an all eggs in one basket approach relying on one vendor for backups within the same application. In the traditional world of backups this would be frowned upon, ideally backups should be offsite and in another format. The second clear short coming is the number of restore points available, what if you need to recover further back than 30days for a legal case? Whilst this can amended its clear it still won’t reach the time window many companies have come to expect. Finally the standard Office 365 settings do not protect you against the disgruntled or reckless admin who deletes the data and restore points.

Salvation is free!

The solution is of course is to take control of your backups again. With version 9.5 Veeam announced the backups of MS Office 365 would be supported. The good news there is now an offer on for free Office 365 e-mail backups for current Veeam Backup & Replication Enterprise Plus customers who will get two years of Veeam Backup for Microsoft Office 365 free, and customers with Standard or Enterprise edition will get one year free.

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Nakivo 6.2 Enables AWS Backup

Background

Within the past few days Nakivo announced the release of version 6.2 of their backup software. For those not familiar the Nakivo product is a backup product for cloud and VMware based environments. Nakivo first announced support for Amazon EC2 instances in the v6 release. The latest incarnation of the product adds on this by providing a number of enhancements related to AWS.

Deployment

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NAKIVO Backup & Replication can now be purchased from the AWS market place and allows you to back up to the same region, across regions or back to on premise. The product is intelligent in the deployment of transporters. Each region is required to have a transporter to enable backups and should a backup be requested in a region without an existing transporter a new one will be spun up automatically.

Keeping costs down

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As AWS is billed on an hourly basis it is sensible that you only run servers when needed to reduce costs. Transporter instances can be automatically powered off when not needed. When a task is required of a powered off transporter Nakivo is able to power it back on to allow the completion of the task. Another new feature is the product is able to harness native AWS instance replication, to maintain identical copies allowing for near instant recovery.

 

Like the VMware version the AWS flavour continues to offer global deduplication across all jobs and application level backups. The press release contains the full details.

Survey reveals 95% of companies suffered an outage in the last year

95% of companies suffered an outage in the last year, this is one of the surprising facts discovered by iLand in a recent DR survey. They questioned 250 firms of 500 employees or more to understand what the state of the DR in the UK is.

 

The results are interesting and shows some key trends that should enable all companies to tighten up their DR policies.

 

This headline figure that most organisations suffered an outage in the past 12 months must be a wake-up call to most organisations to get their DR policy in order. Those that had experienced outages were then asked the cause, the top 2 causes were system failure and human error. The prevalence of ransomware and other cyber-attacks were seen in the survey coming in as the fourth most common cause of outages. I have covered in detail considerations regarding ransomware and backups previously.

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Of those questioned 87% had initiated some kind of failover in the past 12 months. But offset against this was the fact that the majority of these had encountered issues during the process. This seems likely linked to another stat which showed that only 63% of respondents have a trained team that tests DR either quarterly or twice a year

 

 

Respondents were also asked about the amount of money the company was investing in DR. 57% believed the amount spent was correct, 26% said it was too little while 17% believed that actually too much was being spent.

Conclusions

 

So what practical use we can make of these figures to allow organisations to learn from them and ensure that they are ready for a DR situation.

 

The take home appears to be the need to failover in the next 12 months in some form or another is extremely likely, however most organisations are not able to do this with 100% confidence. Given the increasing need for organisations to be continually available and the potential financial and reputational losses of downtime this has to be a concern for most companies.

 

Planning and testing of DR have to be the number one and two priorities that come out of this survey. Any backup should be tested on a regular basis, and when the intention that backup is used for DR the need becomes even greater.

 

As a final comment I think it’s worth noting that in my opinion the figures were overly optimistic. It’s very difficult for any organisation to admit that they have failings and they will only be recognised if a company has undertaken the correct testing or been forced to invoke DR.

All IT departments have a limited budget the majority of that gets spent on end user computing where the focus from the business lies. However a business today without its data is no longer a business. Organisations need to consider the appropriate spend on planning and testing to ensure that they are DR ready.

The survey results are summarised in this infographic.