Selecting the best Microsoft 365 backup and restore solution is vital in today's data-driven landscape. Our guide is the result of a thorough, objective evaluation of the most effective solutions available.
Our approach to this comparison has been methodical and user centric. We have gathered insights and experiences from a diverse group of users and partners who have actively engaged with Microsoft 365 backup solutions over time. Their firsthand experiences, coupled with publicly available data, form the backbone of our analysis, ensuring that our recommendations are both informed and unbiased.
At Alcion, we acknowledge our unique position in evaluating our own Microsoft 365 Backup as a Service platform alongside others. We've strived for objectivity in every assessment, aiming to present an honest, unbiased comparison to aid your decision-making process. Veeam, recognized for its advanced cloud-to-on-premises backup and sophisticated restore capabilities, has recently led the funding round for Alcion. This strategic investment underscores the industry's competitive yet collaborative nature, emphasizing a collective focus on advancing data protection technologies.
When exploring Microsoft 365 backup options, it becomes clear that while many tools offer similar foundational features, the devil is in the details and understanding how different tools align with your organization's unique needs is key.
So, whether you are seeking a service that simplifies user experience for streamlined operations or prioritizing advanced security features and intelligent data management, the nuances in each solution's capabilities can make a significant difference.
And although there are differences that emerge in the precision of backups, the depth of restore options, and data security, we attach this subject from the organizational point of view.
For organizations looking for an efficient and straightforward backup service, we examine features like ease of setup, all-inclusive SaaS offerings, and transparent pricing.
Meanwhile, for those prioritizing advanced security measures, we assess the sophistication of ransomware scanning and the intelligence of automated backup processes.
The main categories we examine are Core Backup & Restore features, Total Cost of Ownership, Data Security and Open Source engagement. You may find the detailed checklist later in the article.
In the Microsoft 365 backup market, a diverse range of offerings caters to specific business needs and operational styles. This section is designed to be your one-stop reference point, kickstarting your decision-making process for selecting a backup solution for Microsoft 365 (Office 365).
It offers a birds-eye view of the diverse business contexts and available solutions, highlighting their distinct capabilities regarding:
Whether you're a small business seeking ease of use and low maintenance, a medium-sized enterprise looking for a balance between advanced features and usability, or a large corporation requiring customizable, complex solutions, this at-a-glance section offers insights and direction to navigate your unique business context.
We wish we could offer a single, definitive answer, 'This is the best solution for...' But when it comes to complex decisions like choosing a Microsoft 365 backup and restore solution, one size rarely fits all. Nevertheless, while magic answers are off the table, we’ve prepared the next best thing for you.
This section examines how each Microsoft 365 backup option aligns with the varying needs of different types of companies. Whether you're running a small business or steering a sprawling enterprise, the landscape changes dramatically. It decodes that complexity with a straightforward table, guiding you to the software that aligns seamlessly with your business size and its unique demands.
Different organizations have different demands, whether it's advanced security, ease of customization, or budget constraints. From Alcion's streamlined and efficient service to Veeam's comprehensive and intricate backup capabilities, this section decodes that complexity with a straightforward table through the lens of distinct business requirements.
This section presents a high-level overview across four critical categories: Core Backup & Restore, Total Cost of Ownership, Data Security, and Open Source options.
While Veeam caters to organizations with large-scale data and complex setups and advanced capabilities, Alcion stands out for its AI-driven backups and easy to use Backup as a Service.
Rubrik, tailored for hybrid cloud setups, excels with automated discovery and Azure AD backups, making it particularly relevant for larger organizations. On the other hand, Metallic stands out with its extensive service coverage, and AvePoint brings flexibility with backup containers ideal for medium-sized enterprises seeking a backup solution –albeit less focused in backup- in addition to their non-backup tools for Microsoft 365.
We aim to provide you with a comprehensive perspective, highlighting how each solution performs in these pivotal areas, thus offering a clearer understanding of their strengths and limitations.
Best for Advanced Security and User-Friendly Backup as a Service
Stands out for businesses of all sizes seeking advanced security measures, AI-assisted ransomware and malware detection protection, AI-driven backups, and ease of setup, combined with transparent pricing and all-inclusive SaaS convenience. This is further supported by Veeam's strategic investment at Alcion's latest funding round by leading it.
Alcion represents a significant advancement in Microsoft 365 backup and recovery, designed as a cloud-native, SaaS-based application and is tailored for modern businesses seeking both security and convenience in their backup processes. This development comes with the endorsement and strategic investment from Veeam, underlining their support for Alcion as part of their dedication to advancing cybersecurity and data protection technologies.
Advanced AI-Driven Security:
Its multi-layered defense system, powered by advanced AI algorithms, offers malware and ransomware detection and protection capabilities. Alcion additionally provides a virtually air-gapped environment by storing backups in a secure, independent cloud account, ensuring robust protection even if the primary environment is compromised.
Integration with XDR tools like Microsoft Defender provides a shield against ransomware, offering a level of protection that is hard to breach.
AI-Driven Intelligent Backups vs Legacy Backup Scheduling:
Alcion utilizes AI to intelligently schedule backups based on user activity, significantly improving data capture, and minimizing potential data loss. Proactive backups are triggered if Alcion or third-party systems detect external threats, and the solution allows for fast recovery from clearly identified "safe" backups.
High-Throughput Data Mover for Efficiency:
Alcion employs a high-throughput data mover for fast and reliable backups and restores. The resilience and fault-tolerance of its backup engine, purposefully designed for Microsoft 365, ensures comprehensive and efficient data protection, avoiding unreliable methods like recycle bin hacks or legal holds.
Effortless Scalability for Growing Businesses:
Alcion’s cloud-native architecture is designed to grow effortlessly with your business. Alcion operates entirely in the cloud, removing the need for any on-premises backup infrastructure for backing up Microsoft 365 data.
The platform's modern interface simplifies backup and restore workflows, making it accessible to administrators of all skill levels. This user-friendly design, combined with no training requirement, positions Alcion as an ideal choice for businesses seeking a straightforward backup solution.
Rapid Setup Process:
The quick setup process – from sign-up to the first backup in under five (5) minutes – exemplifies Alcion's commitment to efficiency and user convenience, making it a time-saving solution for your business.
Best for Breadth of Microsoft 365 Service Coverage
Great for businesses needing a broad range of Microsoft 365 services, including Microsoft Project and Dynamics 365, and catering to extensive backup needs.
Metallic leverages the established CommVault software, bringing its on-prem backup and recovery expertise into cloud-native front-end written for Metallic. Metallic is essentially the CommVault software, time-tested and reliable, repositioned as a SaaS product.
Although this approach steps on the familiarity and robustness of CommVault’s traditional software, it still is the same version of Commvault that runs in a datacenter.
Wide-Ranging Service Coverage:
Metallic stands out for its broad coverage of Microsoft 365 services, including support for additional applications like Microsoft Project and Dynamics 365. This breadth makes it a versatile choice for businesses with extensive backup needs.
CommVault’s Cloud-Native Existing Features:
The scope of Metallic's features is bound by what CommVault supports. While this ensures a solid and reliable feature set, it may limit the potential for cloud-native innovations.
Authentication and Cloud Compatibility:
Utilizing Azure AD apps for Microsoft 365 authentication ensures secure and seamless integration.
On-Premises and Cloud Integration:
Metallic's offering includes on-premises backup options via the Metallic gateway. This feature is particularly beneficial for businesses that prefer a hybrid approach, balancing cloud flexibility with on-premises data control.
Best for Advanced Restore Options in Complex Environments and Large-Scale Operations
Ideal for large corporations requiring intricate backup customization, detailed reporting, and the ability to handle complex, multi-faceted environments. Excels in detailed restore functionalities, including the ability to restore data to on-premises environments, crucial for such complex setups. Veeam's ability to integrate diverse storage solutions, while offering flexibility, also adds a layer of complexity in storage management.
What is Veeam Backup for Office 365? Veeam, recognized for its comprehensive backup solutions, presents a distinctive approach to Microsoft 365 backup and recovery. Veeam operates in a conventional setup where customers install the software on Windows servers, either on-premises or in a cloud environment. While it offers advanced features and flexibility, organizations considering Veeam should also evaluate the implications of managing its infrastructure, especially when comparing it to more cloud-native solutions. Furthermore, setting up Veeam, especially in large environments, demands careful management of multiple configurations and backup proxies.
Market Leader with a Comprehensive Backup Approach:
As a market leader, Veeam offers one of the most comprehensive backup solutions for Microsoft 365, catering to a wide range of complex backup scenarios. Its leadership is marked by a deep understanding of backup and recovery needs across various scales and complexities.
Legacy Foundation and the Shift Towards the Cloud:
While traditionally focused on on-premises solutions, Veeam is transitioning towards a BaaS (Backup as a Service) model, leveraging legacy software shifted into the cloud. This move aims to provide Veeam's robust backup functionalities delivered as a SaaS product via a front-end written for Veeam Backup for Office 365. However, it is essential to note that this still involves running Windows servers in the cloud, which may carry considerations for your security team as with traditional on-premises setups.
Handling complex backup and restore scenarios:
Veeam is particularly suited for larger corporations that require detailed, customizable backup solutions. Its granular backup and recovery capabilities allows users to selectively restore specific emails, documents, or other data from OneDrive, SharePoint, and Exchange Online. Its ability to handle complex backup scenarios and provide advanced restore options makes it a strong contender for organizations with complicated data backup and compliance requirements and large IT teams.
Security and Infrastructure Management:
Veeam's approach, involving the management of Windows servers either on-premises or in the cloud, continues to be a core aspect of its offerings. This infrastructure management model is a key consideration for businesses, especially in terms of security and resource allocation.
Additionally, Veeam provides flexibility in storage options, offering a choice of cloud and on-premises object storage vendors. However, this flexibility comes with its own set of complexities and management overhead. Businesses must carefully consider the additional resources and expertise required to manage these diverse storage environments effectively.
Cost and Resource Considerations:
Organizations considering Veeam must weigh the costs and resource requirements associated with maintaining backup infrastructure. This is especially true for smaller organizations or businesses with limited budgets.
Check out these Veeam Backup and Recovery for Microsoft 365 alternatives!
This consideration extends to setting up Veeam at scale, which can be a complicated process involving multiple backup proxies and other configurations. Particularly for organizations looking to implement Veeam in large-scale environments, it is crucial to account for the intricacies and potential challenges in deploying and maintaining such a setup.
Best for tailored backup strategies
Its container-based backup management allows dynamic resource inclusion, fitting for backup scenarios of medium-sized enterprises.
AvePoint's role in the Microsoft 365 backup solution market is part of a broader portfolio of Microsoft 365 management and governance tools. AvePoint's Microsoft 365 backup solutions is a small part of this large portfolio. While their suite of tools enhances their capability to cater to diverse needs, it also adds a level of complexity to their Microsoft 365 backup solutions, particularly for users seeking a focused backup tool.
Flexible Backup Options:
AvePoint introduces flexibility with its “containers” for backups, allowing for dynamic inclusion of resources. This feature aligns well with businesses seeking adaptable backup scenarios.
Comprehensive Microsoft 365 Service Coverage:
AvePoint's backup solutions encompass a wide array of Microsoft 365 services, making them a versatile choice for organizations with diverse Microsoft 365 utilization.
SaaS Solution with Setup Complexity:
While AvePoint is a fully hosted SaaS platform, it presents challenges in ease of use, particularly in ongoing management and navigation. The platform, while handling maintenance tasks and backup retries, tends to have a complex setup process that can be daunting, especially when factoring in varied licensing options and storage decisions.
The platform includes basic security measures such as ransomware protection through anomaly detection and has recently started enhancing its incident investigation and response mechanisms. However, it is important to note that AvePoint may not be as robust in certain advanced security aspects, like delayed deletion. It is also worth exploring deeper into how well AvePoint’s anomaly detection algorithms perform against ransomware strains. Modern ransomware often employs tactics to throttle the speed and extent of encryption, aiming to minimize the chances of detection. Understanding AvePoint’s detection capabilities in these scenarios can provide a clearer understanding of its security robustness.
Best for Automated Service and Resource Discovery
Rubrik's combination of automated resource discovery and user-friendly interface, complemented by competitive pricing, makes it a strong contender in the backup solution market, especially for businesses seeking both efficiency and security.
Rubrik’s approach to Microsoft 365 backup is different from its broader portfolio. It allows for backup hosting either within Rubrik’s own Azure account or the customer’s, offering a degree of flexibility in management and control. While this choice provides a tailored backup experience, Rubrik’s backend capabilities may require customers to engage support to perform certain tasks. Rubrik typically has a minimum requirement of 300 seats, making it less suitable for small to medium-sized businesses and it can become expensive.
Automated Resource Discovery and Protection:
Rubrik automates the discovery and protection of Microsoft Office 365 resources, streamlining backup processes and reducing manual workload, which is a significant advantage for businesses looking for efficient backup solutions.
User-Friendly Interface and Setup:
Rubrik is known for its intuitive user interface, simplifying the user experience. The setup process, while involving some initial configuration, especially for automating AD apps, is generally less complex than that of some competitors, making it accessible for a broader range of users.
Especially in its hosted variant, Rubrik minimizes ongoing management tasks, which is a boon for organizations seeking efficient and low-maintenance backup solutions.
Essential Microsoft 365 Service Support:
Rubrik covers all essential Microsoft 365 services, including Azure AD.
While it excels in many aspects, including ease of setup and competitive pricing, there are areas, such as advanced security functionalities, where other competitive backup solutions in the market shine.
Choosing the best Microsoft 365 backup solution is crucial for safeguarding your organization's data against loss, corruption, and cyber threats. With the diverse range of options available, each offering unique features and capabilities, it's important to compare Office 365 (Microsoft 365) solutions and assess your specific needs. Consider factors such as the size of your organization, the specific Microsoft 365 services you utilize, your security requirements, and budget constraints. Evaluate your options carefully considering factors like scalability, ease of use, recovery options, and cost-effectiveness.
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