If your organization uses Microsoft Office, Exchange, or SharePoint, odds are that it has also adopted Office 365 cloud services or plans do so in the future. Office 365 has more than 100 million monthly active users, up 40% from last year, and the number of active Office 365 users will soon exceed 120 million. In a recent Gartner survey of IT and business leaders who make Microsoft Office decisions, 78% of the respondents were either currently using Office 365 or plan to do so.


Two broad groups of organizations deploy Office 365:

  • Large enterprises that have moved a large part, but not all, of their users to the cloud. As noted in the Gartner survey, these organizations tend to prefer hybrid deployments that span on-premises infrastructure and Office 365 cloud services. However, recent reports suggest that larger enterprises are now comfortable with the security, privacy, and operational aspects of cloud services and are moving an increasing number of users to the cloud.
  • Small and medium-sized businesses that have moved substantially all of their users to the Office 365 software-as-a-service (SaaS) model.

Although these two groups have different deployment models, they both face a similar challenge—Office 365 does not offer the same level of data protection that IT professionals have traditionally relied on. NetApp® Cloud Control for Office 365 fills this gap by providing on-premises and cloud-based backup options for both large enterprise organizations and midsized businesses.

Why Office 365 User Data Needs Additional Protection

Although Microsoft is responsible for protecting Office 365 data where it resides, from the application layer down, its customers are responsible for protecting their own data. Creating a second, secure copy of the data is a widely accepted best practice for protecting user data, and this holds true when moving to the cloud. Access to backup copies can overcome the following limitations of Office 365 services:

  • Microsoft does not back up Exchange user data. Instead, it protects the Exchange service by creating four copies of each database, which are spread across different data centers.
  • Despite options like the retention of Exchange data by using litigation hold, retention policies, and inactive mailboxes capabilities, Office 365 user data remains at risk for a variety of reasons, including human error, sync errors, malicious insiders, rogue administrators, deadly ransomware attacks, and external hackers.
  • Both SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business use site collection recycle bins that retain deleted data for up to 186 days. However, if the data is manually or automatically deleted from these bins, it is permanently gone.

Protection and security for Office 365 data are essential. You need the same level of protection, administration, and security for Office 365 that you have on premises. For instance, there is no special administrative setting to defend against an Office 365 service outage, and in such a scenario, the only remedy is to access a backup copy that is external to the Office 365 service. NetApp Cloud Control can help you recover corporate data stored in Office 365 quickly and effectively from a specific restore point prior to the data loss.

What Cloud Control Can Do for You

Cloud Control is an easy-to-use, cloud-native SaaS offering that simply requires you to sign in and choose the service you want to back up, choose your backup target, and then start protecting your data. The entire configuration can be completed in less than 5 minutes. The single user interface allows you to set your schedule, search your backups, and recover the information at any time. You simply purchase a 12-month, 24-month, or 36-month license and launch the service. There is no software or hardware to buy and nothing to install. You get a complete backup service from NetApp for your Office 365 data.

Components of the NetApp Solution

The NetApp data protection solution uses web services and the client-side object model (CSOM) programming interface. The backup data is then transferred to storage either on the premises or in the cloud.

Key Features of Cloud Control

It’s very clear that data loss is going to be a common scenario, there is a real need to protect your corporate data residing in the cloud, and you need the guaranteed ability to quickly recover the data. NetApp Cloud Control can help you do just that, with these capabilities:

  • Ease of configuration. Agentless solution eliminates the need to install, upgrade, and maintain client-side software.
  • Granular recovery. Restore specific items or sets of items to any point in time.
  • Back up to cloud or on premises. Securely transfer backup copies to a location that satisfies your business needs.
  • Flexible policies. Easily group users and sites to satisfy different SLAs.
  • Automated and on-demand backups. Back up and restore SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, and Exchange Online.
  • Search capabilities. Quickly and easily find and restore affected files.
  • Comprehensive monitoring. Track and monitor the success of all backup and restore operations.

How Cloud Control Works

The NetApp Cloud Control for Office 365 service is a cloud-native SaaS offering that protects your Office 365 data for recovery in the event of accidental or intentional, malicious deletion. The Cloud Control service gives you two simple ways to back up your corporate data to the location of your choice: Either let Cloud Control be your target, or bring your own storage (BYOS) location. You can choose on-premises storage with NetApp StorageGRID® Webscale. If you require a cloud-based target, bring your own Amazon Web Services (AWS) Simple Storage Service (S3) or Azure Blob Storage. To simplify the solution, you can get complete backup plus target service by using the optional storage provided by Cloud Control.


This comprehensive backup solution is hosted in the cloud, eliminating the need to install, upgrade, and maintain software. It covers Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business, and backs up all your data within the service environments. You get the complete Cloud Control feature set across all Office 365 services, which means increased flexibility.

What’s Next?

As organizations rely more heavily on cloud services such as Office 365, they need to have a safety net in place to protect user data. With the NetApp solution, Office 365 customers don’t have to risk data loss because of an unexpected purge or other cause of SaaS data loss, such as human error, sync errors, malicious insiders, or external hackers.


When you’re ready to start protecting your Office 365 data today, NetApp is here to help.


Try NetApp Cloud Control for Microsoft Office 365 now for free!

Niyaz Mohamed

Niyaz Mohamed aka Nimo is the Senior Solutions Architect in the Cloud Business Unit at NetApp. He has over 11 years of experience in the IT industry and joined NetApp in 2011 from Microsoft. He helps drive the product design, roadmap, strategy and customer experience for Cloud Control, NetApp’s SaaS Data management service.

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