4 SharePoint Online Backup Mistakes to Avoid

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4 SharePoint Online Backup Mistakes to Avoid

Attributed to a user’s unfamiliarity with the varied aspects of cloud technology and the platform’s own complexity, backing up and restoring SharePoint Online content can be quite challenging for some. Since the platform’s launch, our technical team at CloudBacko has received numerous queries from customers, communicating the difficulties they had to face while performing a SharePoint Online backup.

Some of them even relayed the disappointment of a failed backup process.

As always, we were happy to help them and now we want to help you.

Through this blog post we aim to educate you about the SharePoint Online backup mistakes that you need to avoid. So, when you perform a recovery operation, you don’t lose any valuable data, and can complete the restoration process in minimum of downtime.

Without any further ado, let’s get started…

Mistake #1: Being Dependent on Microsoft for Support

Microsoft makes every effort to ensure that your SharePoint Online data isn’t lost, performing site collection backups every 12 hours. Customers know this, and taking comfort in the knowledge, don’t perform any backups on their own.

They think that when there would be a need to perform a restoration, submitting a support ticket with Microsoft would get them up and running.

This strategy is not worth relying on.

  • First, because Microsoft does not provide you with any control over the backup operation, you cannot exercise granular backups. And granular backups can be crucial for some businesses.

  • Secondly, Microsoft only keeps your backup for 14 days. After that it gets removed.

  • Third, the Microsoft support team takes a minimum of 2 days to process your request. For some businesses, this could be inconvenient.

Therefore, you should always perform a backup on your own, preferably through a third party backup tool as it can make the process easy and convenient for you.

Mistake #2:Relying on the Recycle Bin as a Possible Backup

When a user deletes a file in SharePoint Online, the file heads to a site level recycle bin. If they delete it from the recycle bin as well, then the file goes to a second stage recycle bin. This convenience can sometimes make a user complacent. They know their files are not going anywhere. If the files get mistakenly deleted, they will keep circulating in the multi-tier structure of the recycle bin. They start treating the recycle bin as a temporary or a permanent backup.

And it’s a mistake that you should avoid on your part.

The SharePoint Online’s recycle bin only retains files for a period of 90 days, after which they automatically get deleted.

Backup every file in real time so that when you want to restore an important document you will have a copy with you.

Mistake #3:Creating a Backup by Manually Accessing a Document Library

When it comes to backing up SharePoint Online data on your own, you have two primary options:

  1. You can create a backup using third party backup tools (something which we mentioned earlier).

  2. You can open a document library with explorer and create a backup by copying the files on a local disk.

You are better off pursuing the second option. This is because it does not preserve your last modified meta-data.

Mistake #4:Not Testing Your Backup Quality

Backups are only good if they deliver the expected results on recovery. Many companies forget this. They continue to run backups, but rarely validate their consistency by running a pilot recovery operation. And when a disaster strikes, and they try recovering the created backup, the duplicated data fails to upload as desired.

Don’t let this happen with you. Regularly backup your SharePoint Online data and routinely test it to ensure everything is running at an optimum level.

While the issues discussed here do not constitute to be an exhaustive list of things that can go wrong while backing up your SharePoint Online data, they do resonate with the more common ones. Reviewing them and ensuring that you don’t commit these mistakes will definitely make the whole process a lot more convenient for you.


Need any further help? Feel free to reach out. And while we are at the subject of backup mistakes to avoid, check out this helpful post to learn about the 5 mistakes companies make when backing up their Office 365 Exchange Online.