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I just found out via BPOS technical support that contacts in Exchange Online for BPOS, are not backed up! While it is probably too late to do anyhting about BPOS, can detail on what is ommitted in the backup of Exchange Online for Office 365 be published?
Needless to say, it has taken up significant engineer time to find some backup pst files containing some of the customers required contacts.
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Here's the official documentation for BPOS, which is what we're currently basing Office365 backup on. This may change before GA.
Just to clarify, Microsoft employs multiple layers of redundancy and backups of information at the datacenter level, so that in the rare event where data may be lost or corrupted on Microsoft servers, it can be restored. This includes all mailboxes, contacts, roles, etc.
On the client-side, things are different. What it boils down to is that individual administrators are ultimately responsible for ensuring the local integrity of their data through an appropriate backup scheme (i.e. exporting to .PST, et. al.) In terms of local data restoration, Microsoft can only reconnect entire mailboxes when the mailbox has been deleted. Individual mailbox item protection is provided through normal retention policies (recover deleted item functionality).
This is why individual contact items are not recoverable, since they are not located in a mailbox and thus cannot be recovered using recover deleted item functionality. I regret any inconvenience this policy may entail.
While the exact policy may be as you outlined, the question is for published documentation on what is backed up, and what is not. It is assumed, rightly or wrongly that when a system is backed up, that a restore of items is possible. Being informed after the fact, that responsility for certain areas to be backed up is not with Microsoft, is obviously the wrong way to go about it.
As it stands, I need to have a published document stating what is/is not Microsoft's responsibility, and what is/is not our responsibility.
Thanks for that detail Chase, we would have preferred to have been aware prior to an issue for a customer. This also adds to the arguement that a partner is required to support customers on BPOS/365.
In the case where I would like to restore a bkp from 3 or 4 years ago. Is it possible? How Microsoft handle it? Like we used to do in old times running full monthly bkps and hold it in a safe for years :)