Articles
Jan 18, 2024
11 min read

Best Backup Solutions for Microsoft 365 in 2024

Best Backup Solutions for Microsoft 365 in 2024

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.

What is the Best Backup Solution for Microsoft 365 (Office 365)?

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.

Evaluation Criteria: How We Assess Backup Tools

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.

At-a-Glance Microsoft 365 (Office 365) Backup Comparison

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:

  • The overall excellence of each solution,
  • Their suitability for businesses of different sizes,
  • Their alignment with specific organizational needs.

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.

Snapshot: Top Microsoft 365 Backup Solutions

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.

Solution Best for...
Alcion Backup as a Service for Microsoft 365 Best for Advanced Security and User-Friendly Backup as a Service
CommVault’s Metallic Microsoft 365 Backup Best for Breadth of Microsoft 365 Service Coverage
Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 Best for Cloud-to-on-premises Backup and Advanced Restore Options in Complex Environments
AvePoint Cloud Backup for Microsoft 365 (Office 365) Best for Tailored Backup Strategies as an add-on of a broader suite of products
Rubrik Microsoft 365 Backup Best for Organizations with a Hybrid Cloud Setup

Snapshot of Tailored Solutions: Microsoft 365 Backup for Every Business Size

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.

Best for... Solution
Small Businesses Alcion Backup as a Service for Microsoft 365 For small businesses, where simplicity, cost-effectiveness, and minimal management are key, Alcion is the ideal choice.
Alcion provides an easy-to-manage, all-inclusive SaaS solution, eliminating the need for additional infrastructure. Alcion's delayed deletion and ransomware detection features ensure robust security. Its open-source community edition, Corso, is particularly helpful for businesses with limited IT resources but a need for customization and control.
Medium-Sized Enterprises Alcion Backup as a Service for Microsoft 365 For medium-sized enterprises balancing advanced features with variable levels of user-friendliness, Alcion, Metallic and AvePoint are suitable choices.
Alcion offers advanced security features and an open-source option, suitable for businesses that are growing but still value simplicity.
AvePoint Cloud Backup for Microsoft 365 (Office 365) AvePoint's backup solution is offered as an add-on, and it is a small part of a portfolio of non-backup products for Microsoft 365 and as such adds a level of complexity to their Microsoft 365 backup solutions.
Rubrik Microsoft 365 Backup Rubrik, known for secure and automated backup management, is ideal for its integration with Azure Blob for immutable backups and automatic discovery and protection of resources, which are critical for larger organizations. Depending on the number of employees the solution may prove expensive compared to others.
Large Corporations with Modernized Environments Alcion Backup as a Service for Microsoft 365 In modern IT environments of large corporations, Alcion and Metallic stand out for their cloud-native capabilities, scalability, and advanced security.
Alcion with a SaaS-based architecture is ideal for modern, scalable and flexible data management. Its AI-driven security features offer robust defense against evolving cyber threats.
CommVault’s Metallic Microsoft 365 Backup CommVault’s Metallic offers extensive service coverage, including modern applications like Microsoft Project and Dynamics 365, making it a versatile choice for large corporations embracing cloud technology.
Large Corporations with Legacy Footprint Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 In the context of large corporations with a significant legacy footprint, Veeam and Metallic stand out for their ability to seamlessly integrate with legacy systems, offering robust backup and restore options tailored to complex IT environments.
Veeam's extensive backup and restore options and detailed reporting capabilities cater well to large-scale data and complex organizational structures. It’s also a good fit for customers requiring cloud-to-on-prem data backup solutions.
CommVault’s Metallic Microsoft 365 Backup Metallic, with its extended services like support for Microsoft Project and Dynamics 365, is great for enterprises expanding their backup needs with support for on-prem backup of legacy resources and a cloud control plane for on-prem and cloud resources.

Snapshot of Strategic Fit: Backup Solutions for Diverse Organizational Needs

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.

Best for... Solution
Ease of Use and Low Maintenance Alcion Backup as a Service for Microsoft 365 Ideal for simplicity and efficiency. Offers a user-friendly interface, automated maintenance, and a comprehensive SaaS backup solution.
Advanced Controls and Customizability Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 Suitable for complex needs. Provides extensive backup and restore options, robust search capabilities, and detailed reporting.
Balanced Flexibility and Comprehensive Coverage CommVault’s Metallic Microsoft 365 Backup A middle ground option. Features adaptable licensing, wide-ranging backup support, and a mix of traditional and cloud functionalities.
AvePoint Cloud Backup for Microsoft 365 (Office 365) For businesses needing a comprehensive coverage of services, offering fundamental backup functionalities.
Rubrik Microsoft 365 Backup Perfect for enterprises focusing on security and efficient management, offering automated backup processes and strong security features.

Core Insights: Navigating Key Categories in Microsoft 365 Backup Solutions

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.  

Main Feature set Strong Rest
Core Backup & Restore Veeam, covers all Microsoft 365 services (Outlook and Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive, Microsoft Teams), has versatile backup options, featuring advanced capabilities but requiring more hands-on maintenance, especially suited for organizations with specific backup needs and ideal for complex setups. Alcion’s comprehensive coverage of Microsoft 365 services (Outlook and Exchange Online, SharePoint, OneDrive, Microsoft Teams) with automated processes, AI-driven Intelligent Backups and intuitive interface for streamlined cloud-to-cloud backup operations and setup, making it a strong contender.

CommVault’s Metallic provides robust and broad Microsoft 365 service coverage, with support for a wider range of Microsoft services, extensive search functionalities and rich search and restore capabilities.

AvePoint's Microsoft 365 backup solutions is a small part of its Microsoft 365 management and governance tools portfolio. It supports various additional Microsoft services, flexible "containers" for backups, and automatic protection of new resources.

Rubrik covers the core Microsoft 365 services (Outlook and Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive, Microsoft Teams), backs up Azure AD, supports automated discovery and protection and offers detailed job tracking and management.
Total Cost of Ownership Alcion offers a clear, cost-effective, transparent SaaS model that minimizes extra expenses or extra infrastructure. This cost-effectiveness is achieved through an all-inclusive cloud backup pricing structure that covers essential backup features without additional charges for updates or maintenance. Alcion also offers hassle-free onboarding, with almost immediate backup functionality after setup, making it user-friendly for both initial setup and ongoing management. Rubrik offers a user-friendly interface generally less complex than that of some competitors, making it a strong contender. It also minimizes ongoing management tasks, especially in its hosted version. Pricing is more fitting to medium to large companies though. The setup involves automating AD apps for authentication, which may require some initial configuration.

Metallic provides a balance between administrative ease and control. It offers a SaaS-based backup model, making it relatively user-friendly. However, its setup process is moderately complex and requires specialized backup expertise to maintain and operate.

Veeam offers flexibility and functionality once fully configured. It becomes relatively user-friendly post-setup. However, its initial setup is notably complex, adds a layer of complexity in storage management and requires careful management of multiple configurations and backup proxies. As such, larger enterprises with dedicated IT teams who have the expertise and resources may be easier to navigate and manage these complexities. Ongoing management demands continual monitoring, which may be resource intensive.

AvePoint offers a fully hosted SaaS solution with complex ongoing management requirements. It handles maintenance and retries of failed backups efficiently. However, the complexity of AvePoint's setup can vary based on licensing and storage choices.
Data Security Alcion emerges as a strong contender with its robust security features. Alcion leads with ransomware and malware protection through AI assisted anomaly detection and integration with Microsoft Defender. Alcion takes proactive measures by automatically initiating backups upon ransomware detection and ensuring data immutability. In addition, Alcion implements delayed deletion, an additional two-week retention of backups post-deletion for further security. Rubrik presents a solution with robust security features, particularly in the ransomware and malware protection domains. It employs anomaly detection and offers comprehensive malware scanning. It also supports delayed deletion with Intelligent Data Lock.

AvePoint offers basic anomaly detection and has recently started enhancing its incident investigation and response mechanisms. However, it lacks clear support for delayed deletion and the ability to scan backups for malware according to its documentation. Additionally, it seems there is no integration with external XDR tools.

Metallic provides some level of ransomware detection, it lacks advanced incident response capabilities. It supports data immutability through WORM storage in Azure, but it seems it does not support delayed deletion. Additionally, its integration with external XDR tools is limited.

Veeam's Microsoft 365 backup solution lacks documented ransomware detection capabilities. Veeam focuses on immutability for malware defense, but also incorporates YARA rules for malware detection. Notably, Veeam does not provide automated incident response mechanisms and lacks support for delayed deletion.
Open Source Alcion stands out as the frontrunner in the open-source category with its offering of Corso, a free and open-source community edition of its Microsoft 365 backup solution. This commitment to open source reflects Alcion's dedication to the collaborative development environment and innovation within the open-source community. Metallic, AvePoint, and Rubrik, though they do not offer open-source options, focus on proprietary, feature-rich backup solutions.

While Veeam does not offer an open-source component, it does provide a community edition that supports backing up to 10 users. However, it is essential to note that this community edition is not open source but rather a limited-feature version of their commercial offering.

Best Microsoft 365 (O365) Backup Solutions

Alcion Backup as a Service for Microsoft 365

Best for Advanced Security and User-Friendly Backup as a Service

Alcion Backup for Microsoft 365

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.

User-Friendly Design:

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.

Commvault’s Metallic Microsoft 365 Backup

Best for Breadth of Microsoft 365 Service Coverage

Metallic Microsoft 365 Backup page

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.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365

Best for Advanced Restore Options in Complex Environments and Large-Scale Operations

Veeam Microsoft 365 Backup page

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.

AvePoint Cloud Backup for Microsoft 365 (Office 365)

Best for tailored backup strategies

AvePoint Microsoft 365 Backup page

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.

Security Features:  

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.

Rubrik Microsoft 365 Backup

Best for Automated Service and Resource Discovery

Rubrik Microsoft 365 backup page

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.

Simplified Management:  

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.

Selecting the Right Backup Solutions for Microsoft 365 (Office 365) for Your Business

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.

Ready to transform your Microsoft 365 backup process? Your first backup is just a few clicks away! Get started with a 14-day free trial.


Disclaimer: All company logos and trademarks used in this article are the property of their respective owners. They are used here for informational purposes only.

Georgi Matev
Author
Georgi Matev
Head of Product

Georgi Matev is the Head of Product at Alcion. Georgi has spent his entire career in Product Management for enterprise B2B and B2B2C companies in a number of verticals including storage and data protection, AI infrastructure, healthcare, and travel tech. Most recently, he held product leadership positions at Domino Data Lab and Kasten. Georgi holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BA from Harvard University.