Maximizing data protection for Microsoft 365: Why MSPs need third-party backup support

Acronis
Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud
for Service Providers

Microsoft 365 continues to grow in popularity, supporting over 345 million licenses for Microsoft 365 alone. Yet most companies only learn after implementing M365 solutions that there’s missing a crucial component: built-in data backup and recovery solutions for email and cyber protection.

That means the millions of companies that choose to introduce Microsoft solutions need extra support to protect their data, maintain uptime, and prevent cyberattacks — and they expect their MSPs to keep their data safe.

More and more MSPs are offering M365 implementation and management services. Since the pandemic, some MSPs have even seen requests for Microsoft increase by 400%. However, since these tools don’t provide data backup capability or the ability to expand protection, management is even harder for MSPs.

Maximizing data protection has become more critical than ever for businesses, and MSPs must rise to the occasion to meet service level agreements (SLAs) and protect clients from cyberthreats. Securing common attack vectors like email is essential, which means MSPs need a third-party Microsoft 365 backup solution they can rely on.

Here’s everything MSPs need to know about how to use third-party backup services for better client support and security.

Why is backup support important for Microsoft 365?

As more organizations choose cloud or hybrid deployments for their Microsoft implementations, many face new security challenges their internal IT teams aren't prepared for.

But data sitting in cloud storage is far from the only risk to these organizations; many overlook the importance of fundamentals like email security. As phishing and ransomware attacks continue to rise, protecting against malicious inbound email and preventing insecure outbound email is essential to keep data protected. To accomplish this, MSPs need to offer their clients an email security solution such as the Advanced Email Security pack for Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud.

Customers may erroneously assume their cybersecurity concerns are covered between Microsoft's shared security responsibility and their MSP’s support. Yet most companies don’t know that Microsoft does not accept responsibility for securing customer data. Since M365 solutions have no out-of-the-box backup capabilities or self-service recovery options, organizations rely on their MSPs to figure out how to back up their Microsoft 365 data.

MSPs know that with M365, clients need data backups for the entire product suite in case their data is erased, lost, or compromised. MSPs implementing M365 solutions must be prepared to support their clients with security capabilities to protect their most vulnerable attack vectors. Sharing best practices and recommending relevant solutions to clients must be part of a responsible M365 management plan for MSPs.

What are the business risks of using Microsoft 365 without backup support?

On the heels of a significant M365 implementation, clients may be hesitant to introduce another new solution. MSPs should focus on informing clients early in the engagement that an M365 configuration is incomplete and unsafe without additional protection.

Business continuity is another major risk organizations face without the right backup support. Downtime while addressing a potential attack and restoring data can cost companies millions of dollars in lost productivity. MSPs must be especially concerned about maximizing uptime to meet their contractual SLAs and streamlining the data recovery process so businesses can be operational as soon as possible after an attack.

Now, threat protection alone isn’t enough to keep company data safe. Since data loss can happen internally — both intentionally or accidentally — companies need a way to mitigate business risk and restore lost files quickly. Without the right backup support, users can easily delete essential files and prevent another user from restoring them. Unless MSPs can restore this data, companies run the risk of compromising business success and productivity or facing legal and regulatory compliance issues.

Without backup support, compliance risks abound with M365

Despite the popularity of M365, the solution has faced harsh criticism around its insufficient security capabilities. In a recent 2020 report, EU regulators inspected M365 security controls against GDPR regulatory standards and found that “no data protection-compliant use of Microsoft Office 365 is possible” on its own.

MSPs must provide the right external solutions to support vital compliance tasks like data backup and recovery, DLP, and access management to help their clients remain compliant.

Access management is a major compliance concern. Without sufficient access management capabilities in place, data can either be lost forever or fall into the wrong hands. And without a strong backup solution in place, that puts companies at risk of losing data and violating regulatory retention policies.

Organizations also need backup solutions to retrieve older data for compliance auditing. Microsoft’s integrated data retention controls aren’t strong enough to support unique compliance needs. Plus, Microsoft’s “In Place Archive” isn’t a viable backup solution because it increases storage usage and cost without sufficient protection from breach risk.

How MSPs can help businesses secure M365 apps

Protecting email remains the primary communication channel for businesses, so properly configuring email security is a must for any MSP offering M365 implementations. Email is often a first line of attack for bad actors, so securing and backing up email is vital to prevent data leaks. This is where the MSP should consider adding the Acronis Advanced Email Security pack to their clients’ cyber protection strategy. 

Data loss prevention and backup support are also critical for organizations that have more robust implementations, including tools like Power Apps, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, and Teams. While these applications may not be vulnerable to a cyberattack as email, they contain valuable data that could lead to significant business and compliance risk if compromised. To aid with this, Acronis’ Data Loss Prevention pack for Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud prevents leakage of sensitive data from endpoints via more than 70 local and network channels and strengthens compliance with minimal effort and speed to value.

Ideally, an MSP will support a client long after they launch these solutions. This makes a reliable backup solution essential in an MSP’s cybersecurity toolbox. Managing these tools well demands a backup solution that gives clients peace of mind that their data is secure. Plus, if a breach does occur, a backup solution can reduce the compliance and business impact on clients while streamlining the recovery and remediation process.

Choosing the right backup solution to recommend

MSPs have unique and valuable experience with implementing M365 solutions for their clients. With that experience and data management best practices in mind, MSPs should find a solution they can recommend based on these five criteria:

●          Easy to use: MSPs should recommend a solution that works with their workflows with simple configuration and maintenance.

●          Defends all data: MSPs simplify security for themselves and their clients by choosing a flexible, comprehensive solution that proactively protects all applications and systems within a single platform, such as Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud and its suite of advanced packs.

●          Restores data with minimal effort: Speed is key for a backup solution, so choose an option with a user-friendly web console that helps restore data from anywhere.

●          Offers granular restore capabilities: Look for a solution that makes it easy to restore a single file or email directly from the backup to provide automatic instant recovery.

How Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud makes securing and backing up M365 data easy for MSPs

There is no denying that MSPs are busy. With so many clients to support, they need the right solutions to meet SLAs and deliver exceptional service with less time and fewer resources.

Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud is the third-party backup solution MSPs are looking for. Our comprehensive platform empowers MSPs with the cybersecurity and data protection capabilities they need to secure their clients’ data. Plus, the Cyber Protect Cloud platform makes it easy to back up and restore access to client M365 data instantly — no matter how much data needs to be recovered.

With continuous data protection covering a client’s entire IT infrastructure, Acronis makes it easy to manage every part of your clients’ security needs. Now, MSPs can implement M365 applications with confidence, knowing that their clients’ data is protected with a single solution that reduces the complexity and cost of managing backups, recovery, anti-malware protection, and patch management.

Give your clients exceptional data support with Acronis

Ready to start boosting your M365 business and providing even better customer support? Acronis helps MSPs like you simplify management with the right backup and cybersecurity solutions for many software integrations. Try Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud free for 15 days and see how easy securing M365 can be. 

About Acronis

Acronis is a Swiss company, founded in Singapore. Celebrating two decades of innovation, Acronis has more than 1,800 employees in 45 locations. The Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud solution is available in 26 languages in over 150 countries and is used by 20,000 service providers to protect over 750,000 businesses.