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Protect your Microsoft 365 workloads where they live

By Roland Leins posted Fri March 11, 2022 04:21 AM


The all-new IBM Spectrum Protect Plus Online Services delivers a data backup and recovery solution for cloud-based Microsoft 365 workloads

Announcing IBM Spectrum Protect Plus Online Services for Microsoft 365, an IBM data backup and recovery SaaS solution for Microsoft 365 workloads running in the Azure cloud. The solution provides automated backup and granular restore capabilities for Microsoft 365 workloads, including: Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, M365 Groups, Teams, Project Online, Public Folders, Yammer and Planner.

Why 3 out of 4 Microsoft 365 users should rethink their data protection strategy?

As of a 2021 survey of Enterprise Strategy Group, 74% of the respondents indicate that they rely on Microsoft 365 provided tools for securing their data.  Why this is a risky strategy, IT administrators need to understand the principle of “shared responsibility” of SaaS applications like Microsoft 365. According to its service level agreement, Microsoft is responsible for the cloud infrastructure and ensures the availability and usability of the platform. However, Microsoft does not guarantee specific recovery point objectives or permanent recoverability of the data. Data sovereignty and data control and thus also responsibility for the protection and management of their own data are the responsibility of the user company.

There could be different types of user driven error that requires data restoration for example a user could have misplaced the document in OneDrive, or a document version that is currently used is corrupted and the user wants to restore the previous version of this document. Another use case could be that someone accidentally deleted a planner task and can't find the history anymore, so to use a recovery tool to bring back your latest settings on this planner task.

These are typical user driven errors but there could also be admin driven errors possible.  For example, departing employees accounts were deactivated and deleted by Microsoft after the soft delete time ended. The user company can then no longer restore them. Regarding legal sanctions and compliance violations, such as the GDPR, Microsoft offers a so-called litigation hold feature that permanently freezes currently available data and protects it from deletion, but this needs to be actively set and monitored.

The automatic synchronization of OneDrive data between cloud and end device is very convenient for users. In the event of a ransomware attacks, where the local computer is affected, this immediately means that the next sync of this data into the cloud would sync the encrypted versions of the files. Imagine one has access to not just its own OneDrive, but to a team’s OneDrive or an entire site.   

IBM Spectrum Protect Plus Online Services for Microsoft 365 was implemented to exactly fill these use cases to protect the data that is in Microsoft 365 and to provide the ability to recover the data if it was deleted or got lost.

What IBM Spectrum Protect Plus Online Services can do for you?

IBM Spectrum Protect Plus Online Services is a Software-as-a-Service solution; that means there's no infrastructure required on the customer side. The updates of the service and the fixed deployment is fully automated and will be handled from IBM, so there is no need on the customer side to update the service or to do any fixed deployments to the software.

The solution provides you with:

  • Unlimited, automated backup for your Microsoft Cloud assets:
    Automatic backups, up to 4X per day for Microsoft 365 - SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Teams, Exchange Online, Project Online, and Groups.  Unlimited options give you flexibility to protect content as your organizational needs dictate.

  • Granular restore, in or out of place:
    Search for and filter content for restore based on properties including content type, owner, date created, file size, parent list name, parent folder name, email subject, date sent, and more. Restore granular content in place or out of place – even to your file system or export as a .PST!
  • Visibility and control over protected content:
    A simple dashboard display gives immediate insight into what services are covered and where you may be exposed. Whether you bring your own storage or use IBM’s Azure storage you retain full control over your protected content!

The high-level architecture of IBM Spectrum Protect Plus Online Services for Microsoft 365 is that the portal itself is running in an Azure instance that is hosted by IBM. When one logs in to this instance and configuring the service, the portal will connect to the Microsoft 365 tenant and will provide backup and recovery services.

Protect your data where they live, store your backups where you want.

The IBM Spectrum Protect Plus Online Services for Microsoft 365 comes with two different license options. Both license options will be handled on a per user per month base and can be bought for a one-, two- or three-year period.

With the first license option the user can gets storage that is provided from IBM, which is Azure BLOB storage and is used as a backup target. This license option means that the customer does not need to have any infrastructure and no storage locally and just uses the IBM provided service and storage for the backup data.

The second license option “bring your own storage” (BYOS) means the customer can bring their own storage and use Azure storage or S3, which includes AWS and all AWS compatible S3 storages, which can be off-prem or on-prem for storing the backup data. It also includes ftp, sftp and the option to enable dropbox as a target.

It is planned that users of IBM Spectrum Protect will be able use their Spectrum Protect managed backup repository, their Spectrum Protect Plus repository and their hybrid OSSM as a S3 backup target for IBM Spectrum Protect Plus Online Services for Microsoft 365 backups.

How to get started

To learn more about IBM Spectrum Protect Plus Online Services for Microsoft 365 have a look at the introduction video provided by Dominic Müller-Wicke; it goes deeper into the functionality. The technical demo describes in more detail how the portal works and how it can be used.  And finally watch the Data Resilience SpectrumCast Episode 1054 - SaaS Data Resilience hosted by Steve Kenniston.

If you want to familiarize yourself, we are offering a 30 day free trial of the IBM Spectrum Protect Plus Online Services for Microsoft 365. To request your free trial, please reach out to your IBM sales representative, an IBM authorized reseller or when located in EMEA directly to me.  If you use the BYOS option, every free trial can be seamlessly turned into production, after the trial ends.

For more information about this new offering, watch my next webinar: IBM Spectrum Protect Plus Online Services - The new IBM data protection SaaS platform.