At Ignite 2023, Microsoft announced the Public Preview for their Microsoft 365 Backup offering. For years, there has been a debate whether backups for Microsoft 365 are necessary or simply overkill. Until recently Microsoft avoided a more definitive stance on the subject and only addressed the topic indirectly through recommendations or their shared responsibility model. Their entry in this market is a decisively ends the debate and is a clear signal that Microsoft 365 data is a high-value target and is worth protecting.
At Alcion, we have been a part of Microsoft’s Partner program around this offering and have worked closely with their product team in the leadup to this announcement. In this capacity, we wanted to share our thoughts on the key use cases and capabilities for Microsoft 365 Backup and how they complement our Alcion offering.
We also have a demo video that shows a preview of the integration between Alcion and Microsoft 365 Backup. This preview video not only shows the seamless integration of Alcion and Microsoft’s 365 Backup APIs but also demonstrates the combined power of our AI-driven security and disaster-recovery capabilities when integrated with the newly announced APIs. If you would like to be a part of this preview program, please reach out to us.
Microsoft 365 Backup is an add-on service that provides backup and restore functionality for some of the key Microsoft services. The service is optimized for disaster recovery use cases where many resources need to be reverted to a previous point in time. Microsoft controls the internal representation of the data and the APIs that clients use, which allows them to realize certain efficiencies in terms of capturing and restoring data.
In addition to speed of recovery at scale, the other key capabilities of Microsoft 365 Backup are:
There was a lot of speculation on the topic before the announcement, but we can finally share more publicly!
The billing model for the service will be a pay-as-you-go model (additional to your Microsoft 365 licensing cost) based on the amount of protected data including the size of any deleted or versioned content held for restore. For example, consider a user account with a 10GB Exchange mailbox and a 40 GB OneDrive library. At the currently published rate of $0.15/GB/mo, that resource will incur a cost of $7.50/mo. At the data changes over time, the cost will likely increase depending on the velocity and amount of changes. SharePoint sites you protect will incur a separate cost based on this model.
Overall, this is a flexible model that gives users choice to only pay for what they want to protect. Unlike Alcion’s user-based pricing model, however, it can be challenging to properly estimate the size of the data and the rate of change which makes it difficult to budget and prevent surprising cost overruns. Lastly, partners like Alcion may have access to preferential pricing that we can extend to our customers.
Alcion has partnered with Microsoft for the last few months to explore how Microsoft 365 Backup can be incorporated in the Alcion solution to offer even better data protection and data security guarantees for our customers.
As the demo of our preview integration above shows, Alcion and Microsoft functionality co-exist to provide unparalleled comprehensive protection for customers from a single interface:
Alcion will also continue our work with Microsoft to improve how Alcion admin can more effectively manage the configuration and frequency of the protection points captured by Microsoft 365 Backup to bring cost transparency and containment controls.
General availability of Microsoft 365 backup is expected in the first half of 2024 and we plan on simultaneously launching our joint offering at that time. If you are interested in early private preview access, please reach out to us.
Microsoft has finally recognized that protecting Microsoft 365 content is critical and has introduced an add-on service to support disaster recovery at scale. At Alcion, we believe that this capability complements our offering very well and have demonstrated how it can be seamlessly incorporated in our product. We will continue partnering with Microsoft around the functionality and the licensing model around Microsoft 365 Backup during the preview period with the goal of making it a first-class option in Alcion subscriptions.
Over the coming months, we will share more examples of our ongoing work with Microsoft, discuss the pros and cons of collocating backups in the same environment as your primary data copy, how pricing for Microsoft 365 Backup might impact you, how access control and ransomware protection works with a combined system, immutable backups, compliance requirements, and more. If there is anything else you would like to know more about, please reach out on our website or on Discord!