COVID-19: Is your Microsoft 365 data now at greater risk?

COVID-19 has pushed the global economy to the brink of recession, but it has also enabled the world to go digital. Microsoft is one of the biggest beneficiaries of this pandemic, with the use of Microsoft 365 and Teams skyrocketing practically overnight. In Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s words: “We’ve seen 2 years’ worth of digital transformation in 2 months.”

Microsoft reported a spike in its profits for the third quarter of fiscal year 2020. (Microsoft’s Q3 FY’20 ended in late March.) The company had a 15% increase in total revenue, a 25% increase in operating income, and a 22% increase in net income. Microsoft 365 alone has shown a strong revenue growth of 25%. In the fourth quarter of FY’20, business trends similar to the previous quarter continued for Microsoft.

COVID-19 has augmented Microsoft 365 growth

Microsoft has seen a steady growth of Microsoft 365 for the past 4 years. But with the COVID lockdown, the user base has spiked by 37%. With much of the world’s workforce working remotely, Teams usage has increased tremendously, by 70%, tripling in just 2 months. The following graphs show just how impressive this growth is:


Cyberattacks have increased fivefold since the COVID-19 outbreak         

Microsoft is benefiting from COVID-19, but someone else is profiting as well: cybercriminals. Remote working is a security challenge, and cybercriminals are capitalizing on it. Downsizing of the workforce across the globe has encouraged the growth of cybercriminals, and cyberattacks have increased fivefold since the pandemic outbreak. According to SDxCentral, ransomware attacks have spiked by a whopping 148% during this period.

Cyberattacks on Microsoft 365. With the pandemic and with most of the world’s workforce confined to their homes, the fear of losing jobs, the fear of losing loved ones, and the tendency for overwork and stress have negatively affected people’s emotional balance. It is very easy for people to break down during this crisis, and cybercriminals are exploiting this vulnerability by deploying advanced ransomware attacks on cloud applications, in the form of phishing.

Cybercriminals are deploying advanced phishing attacks that are designed to compromise Microsoft 365 accounts. These attacks come in as simple phishing emails, but with adverse consequences if you fall victim to them. These phishing emails look legitimate and appear to have originated from your employer or from a trusted source, such as the IRS, a bank, or Microsoft itself. But they include malicious links. When you click these phishing links, you are prompted to grant access permissions to a malicious web application. After you grant these permissions, cybercriminals gain control over your Microsoft 365 account. Then they can encrypt your entire Microsoft 365 data and demand a ransom for its decryption.

You have two ways to recover your encrypted data. You can pay the ransom to the cybercriminal, which no one really wants to do. Or you can have complete protection for your Microsoft 365 data from NetApp® SaaS Backup for Microsoft 365. NetApp SaaS Backup is a secure, encrypted, cloud-native software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering that protects your mission-critical data in Microsoft 365 so that you can recover it if it is deleted accidentally or maliciously. With NetApp SaaS Backup, in a single click, you can revert your Microsoft 365 account to the state that it was in just before you were attacked by the ransomware. Protect your Microsoft 365 data with NetApp SaaS Backup and save yourself a hefty ransom and have a peace of mind.

Increased user error. The biggest cause of data loss in the cloud is reported to be human error. And Microsoft 365 is no exception. According to the Aberdeen Group report, 47% of data loss in the cloud is due to end users purging their own data. This trend is expected to grow during this period of crisis, in which people are at their most vulnerable. Human error is not limited to end users, however. Administrators also contribute to the problem. After all, an administrator is also a human and can make mistakes. One of the recent disasters in Microsoft 365 that was due to human error was the permanent deletion of the personal chat histories of 145,000 Microsoft Teams users at KPMG.

All it takes is one bad day, and all your data is gone. So, it is better to back up than to be sorry. Adopt NetApp SaaS Backup today and achieve peace of mind.

Protect your Microsoft 365 data now: Get started with NetApp SaaS Backup

Safeguard your Microsoft 365 accounts against rising cybercrime. Use NetApp SaaS Backup to protect your Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Microsoft 365 Groups, Microsoft Teams, and OneNote data with a user-friendly interface. Take advantage of unlimited data retention for backup and maintain complete control of your data. With SaaS Backup features like granular recovery and single-click restore, your data is easily accessible when you need it. Take the first step to protect your data: Learn more about NetApp SaaS Backup today.