SaaS Backup could have been your Microsoft 365 data savior

April 5, 2021

Topics: SaaS Backup 3 minute read

Data loss is common in any application, and Microsoft 365 is no exception. Most data loss in an application is caused by users either accidentally or intentionally making deletions. Other reasons include ransomware or malware attacks, and synchronization issues due to third-party integrations. Although Microsoft has some built-in security measures to prevent data loss, it can’t keep end users from deleting data.

Microsoft does retain the deleted data in recycle bin, but only for a short period: 30 days for deleted Exchange Online emails, 93 days for OneDrive and SharePoint Online files, and 30 days for Teams items. After the retention period is over, the data gets deleted permanently, and there’s no way to recover the data unless you have a proper backup solution—such as NetApp® SaaS Backup.

Let’s look at some real-life data loss that has happened in Microsoft 365, and how SaaS Backup could have saved the organizations from such blunders with point-in-time restore capability.

Resentful employee deleted 1,200 Microsoft 365 accounts

A vengeful act by a former employee resulted in deletion of 1,200 Microsoft 365 accounts. The deletion caused a complete shutdown of the company’s operations that resulted in monetary losses and months of recovery.

            NetApp SaaS Backup provides comprehensive protection for Microsoft 365, including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Microsoft 365 Groups, and Microsoft Teams. In this data loss scenario, early adoption of SaaS Backup could have helped recover the complete Microsoft 365 data for all the deleted users, including their mailboxes, drives, SharePoint sites, groups, teams, and all the associated data. A simple Windows PowerShell script could have been used to re-create the users in Microsoft 365. Then, using the SaaS Backup “out of place” restore capability, all the data could have been restored to the re-created user accounts.

Here’s how simple it would be. In SaaS Backup, select the user you want to restore data for, and click Restore.


Select the restore type from the menu. In this out-of-place-restore scenario, you’d select Restore to Another Mailbox and choose the destination mailbox. The other options available are in-place restore (Restore to Same Mailbox) and Export to PST, where you can export the complete mailbox data to PST and download it to your desired location.


The workflows, functionalities, and UI shown here are similar across all other services (SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, Groups, and Teams).

IT blunder permanently erased 145,000 users’ personal chats in Teams

An IT mistake at KPMG deleted the personal chat history of 145,000 users, and Microsoft confirmed that the deleted chat history wasn’t recoverable. This is a classic example of data loss due to human error.

NetApp SaaS Backup protects Microsoft 365 Teams by backing up all of a team’s data, channels, and conversations in both public and private teams. In this data loss scenario, SaaS Backup would have helped in exporting the complete conversation history for all the users in an HTML format.

Here’s how it would have worked. In SaaS Backup, select the conversation history for the user, and click Restore.

blog3-1Then click Export to HTML.


Microsoft outage caused deletion of SharePoint Online and Teams files

Microsoft suffered a massive Azure Active Directory outage for 4 hours on March 15, 2021. The aftereffects of this outage resulted in deletion of files in SharePoint and OneDrive. Although the files weren’t deleted permanently and were available in recycle bin to recover, the outage could have caused serious damage if the files had been deleted permanently.

Protect your data with SaaS Backup

Adopt NetApp SaaS Backup for the complete protection of your Microsoft 365 data. With daily backups and long-term flexible retention policies, your Microsoft 365 data is safeguarded in the disastrous situations described here.


Technical Marketing Engineer