Apr 23, 2024
15 min read

Veeam Backup vs Rubrik Backup: Protecting Your Microsoft 365 Data

Veeam Backup vs Rubrik Backup: Protecting Your Microsoft 365 Data

Veeam and Rubrik, two big names in backup and recovery, have solutions that don't just back up your Microsoft 365 data but also keep it safe from surprises.

In the spirit of full disclosure, it's worth noting that Veeam, although a competitor, has played a big role in driving innovation in the industry by leading the most recent funding round for Alcion, which shows how competitive yet collaborative the backup solutions sector can be.  

This article isn't about a head-to-head tech battle. Instead, we want to look at how the choices of each vendor shape Microsoft 365 backup and recovery.

What is Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365?

From our Microsoft 365 Backup solutions snapshot article: Veeam stands out in offering detailed and specific backup solutions for Microsoft 365, ideal for large organizations dealing with tricky backup requirements.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 is a market leader and recognized for its robust approach to safeguarding Microsoft 365 data, especially appealing to large companies navigating complex digital environments. Using Veeam means installing the software on Windows servers, which can be located either within a company's on-site setup or hosted on cloud platforms.

While it has advanced features and flexibility, businesses thinking about Veeam should also consider what's involved in managing its infrastructure, especially when comparing it to more cloud-focused solutions.

Plus, setting up Veeam, especially in big environments, requires careful management of multiple settings, emphasizing the need for thorough planning and execution in its deployment to ensure smooth operation and data protection.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 Features Snapshot

Core Backup & Restore

At its core, Veeam's approach allows for detailed, specific backups of Microsoft 365 data, including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, and Microsoft Teams. This specificity lets businesses perform precise recoveries, down to individual emails or documents, a key ability in minimizing work disruptions during data loss incidents.

However, the effectiveness of these features depends on a well-planned implementation. The need to manage backups across different Microsoft 365 services adds complexity, requiring a deep understanding of both the scope of company data and the specific recovery needs.

Security and Infrastructure Management

The platform's security and management capabilities are designed for enterprises with significant data protection needs. However, implementing these features requires a substantial amount of infrastructure management, including configuring backup proxies and servers.

Veeam's Microsoft 365 backup solution doesn't have documented ransomware detection capabilities. It focuses on immutability for malware defense but also uses YARA rules for malware detection. Veeam doesn't provide automated incident response mechanisms and doesn't support delayed deletion as well.

The trade off in this case is between the high level of security Veeam provides and the operational overhead involved in maintaining this security posture. You must carefully consider your ability to meet these requirements, ensuring you can effectively use Veeam's security capabilities without overextending IT resources.

Transition to Backup as a Service

Veeam is shifting towards a BaaS model, aiming to leverage its strong backup functionalities in a cloud-based service. However, this transition still involves running Windows servers in the cloud, which has similar considerations for security and management as traditional on-premises setups.

Monitoring and Management

To use Veeam effectively, you need ongoing monitoring for backups, restores, and capacity issues, which requires adjustments to system design. This level of active management is significant, reflecting the solution's software-based nature.

Total Cost of Ownership

The financial commitment to adopting Veeam includes not just the licensing fees but also the investment in necessary infrastructure and people.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 Pricing

Veeam's pricing structure is based on a per-user model, however, it's important to note that while the per-user fee provides a baseline, the total cost of ownership (TCO) can be less transparent due to additional expenses that may arise. Such expenses include infrastructure costs such as servers, storage, networking, and the management of these components.

What is Rubrik for Microsoft 365?

From our Microsoft 365 Backup solutions snapshot article: Rubrik's combination of automated resource discovery and user-friendly interface, complemented by competitive pricing, makes it a  contender especially for businesses with a hybrid cloud setup.

Rubrik is a comprehensive backup and recovery solution for Microsoft 365, focusing on core services like Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, and Teams. It allows for backup hosting either within Rubrik's own Azure account or the customer's, providing some flexibility in management and control. While this choice offers a tailored backup experience, Rubrik's backend capabilities may require you to engage support for 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.

Rubrik for Microsoft 365 Features Snapshot

Comprehensive Service Coverage

Rubrik's backup solution covers the main Microsoft 365 components like Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business, but also Microsoft Teams and Azure Active Directory.

Automated Discovery and Protection  

Rubrik automatically discovers and protects new Office 365 resources as they are created. This automation reduces the administrative burden on IT teams, ensuring that all data is protected by default.

User-Friendly Interface and Setup  

Rubrik has designed its interface to be intuitive and user-friendly. This design philosophy extends to the setup process, making it straightforward for organizations to deploy and configure their backup solution.

Efficient Management  

Rubrik's approach to backup management emphasizes efficiency, especially in hosted solutions. For administrators, this means less time spent on backup-related tasks and more time available for other priorities. The focus on efficiency, coupled with automated monitoring for backup and restoration failures, ensures that IT teams can maintain high levels of data protection with minimal resource allocation.

Total Cost of Ownership

Rubrik employs a tiered licensing system, providing pooled storage per user, which aligns with the needs of many organizations. However, details on the exact amount of storage included and the costs for additional storage are less clear, potentially complicating budget forecasting for total storage expenses. If you are considering Rubrik, you should remain mindful of potential additional charges, especially for high storage usage or extensive archived data.

Rubrik for Microsoft 365 pricing

Rubrik employs a tiered licensing system, providing pooled storage per user, which aligns with the needs of many organizations. However, details on the exact amount of storage included and the costs for additional storage might be less clear, potentially complicating budget forecasting for total storage expenses. If you are considering Rubrik, you should remain mindful of potential additional charges, especially for high storage usage or extensive archived data.

Who Uses Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 vs Rubrik for Microsoft 365?  

Veeam's advanced capabilities make it ideal for bigger companies that require detailed, customizable backup solutions. These companies often have specific backup needs and complex environments where the granular backup and recovery capabilities of Veeam can be fully utilized.  

Rubrik, on the other hand, is tailored for companies with a hybrid cloud setup. Rubrik is ideal for its integration with Azure Blob for immutable backups and automatic discovery and protection of resources, which are critical for larger organizations. However, depending on the number of employees, the solution may prove expensive compared to others.

Feature Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 Rubrik for Microsoft 365
Ideal Users Suitable for organizations that require in-depth, customizable backup solutions and have complex IT environments. Best for organizations that value streamlined, security-focused backups, especially those with hybrid cloud setups.
Operational Requirements Requires dedicated IT personnel and IT expertise for set up and ongoing management. Focuses on reducing the administrative burden, and although a bit less than Veeam, it still requires IT expertise.
Deployment Complexity Demands significant IT resources for detailed setup and backup management, challenging for organizations without dedicated IT staff. Simplifies backup operations with automated processes, reducing the manual workload and favoring ease of use.
Data Environment Designed for complex data environments where granular control over backup and restore processes is necessary. Optimized for hybrid cloud environments, offering a secure and efficient solution for a mix of on-premises and cloud resources.
Security and Compliance Provides robust backup solutions with advanced security features. Emphasizes secure backups with features like immutability, enhancing protection against ransomware and unauthorized changes.
Scalability Offers extensive scalability for growing data volumes, catering to organizations with expanding backup needs. Equally scalable, accommodating growth in hybrid environments with a focus on maintaining security and efficient data management.

Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 Vs. Rubrik for Microsoft 365: Features Compared

Core Backup & Restore Features

Certain core features are universally essential for any backup tool to provide robust data protection. These features not only define the operational efficiency and effectiveness of the solution but also its ability to meet the specific data protection needs of an organization.

For the TL;DR of this section check the table below.

Core Backup & Restore Features Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 Rubrik for Microsoft 365
Comprehensive Service Coverage Coverage across Microsoft 365 suite. Covers all essential Microsoft 365 services, including Azure AD.
Automated Service and Resource Discovery Requires more hands-on involvement. Has numerous exclusions and specific requirements. More automated approach.
Automatic Resource Protection A need for configuration to protect new resources. Periodic review and adjustment may be needed. Automatically protects new resources.
Intelligent Backup Solutions Does not offer intelligent backup scheduling. Does not offer intelligent backup scheduling.
On-Demand and Legacy Backup Scheduling Offers flexibility with manual initiation and configurable daily or interval-based backups. Separate backup jobs needed for different schedules. Supports on-demand initiation. Scheduling is tied to an SLA-defined RPO, determining backup frequency.
Search & Backup Browsing Capabilities Robust search capabilities, enabling detailed management and quick navigation through backups. Focuses on streamlined browsing capabilities.
Flexible Restore Options or Local Download Offers a wide range of restore options, including restoring to on-premises environments and various file formats. Standard restoration capabilities, with some limitations in exporting to external formats like PST or MBOX.
Operational Reporting Rich, real-time tracking and detailed reporting on backup jobs, suitable for larger environments. Streamlined reporting features.

Comprehensive Service Coverage  

Veeam offers extensive coverage across the entire Microsoft 365 suite. If your organization relies heavily on a wide array of Microsoft 365 services, including on-premises Exchange & SharePoint environments, Archived mailboxes, and OneNote, Veeam might be a good fit. However, there are some specific limitations to note, like Team chats, where it requires making a non-reversible change to the Veeam server, or some limitations when it comes to restoring OneNote notebooks and Team Chats due to API limitations.

Rubrik, also provides protection for Microsoft 365 services (Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, and Teams). It also backs up and recovers Entra (formerly Azure AD), but no announcements have been made that Rubrik will be backing up any other Office 365-related services.

All solutions, including Alcion, effectively cover essential services like Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams, addressing the majority of common needs.  If your organization leverages a broad range of Microsoft 365 services, Veeam's service coverage might be more aligned with your requirements.

Automated Service and Resource Discovery

This feature is about how efficiently the backup solution can identify what needs to be secured within your Microsoft 365 environment. It automatically detects new users, groups, sites, and data as they're added, ensuring that no critical information slips through the cracks without protection. It simplifies your setup and maintenance, significantly reducing the manual effort required to keep your backup strategy up-to-date.

With Veeam, you might find that there's a need for more hands-on involvement in configuring and updating your backup parameters to include new services and resources. Post-initial configuration, Veeam easily discovers the entire organization. Users can create multiple "backup jobs" with options for exclusions and different settings. Although Veeam offers comprehensive discovery post-setup, it has numerous exclusions and specific requirements. This means you'll have to keep a close watch on your Microsoft 365 environment to ensure new items are included in your backup schedule, and you need to have the resources to manage these complexities.

Rubrik, on the other hand, offers a more automated approach to service and resource discovery. Once set up, Rubrik works in the background to automatically detect and protect new elements in your Microsoft 365 setup.

Rubrik enables easy and automated discovery with minimal user input in a set-it-and-forget-it style. However, if you're looking for a solution that offers detailed control, even if it means more manual setup, Veeam could be the way to go.

Automatic resource protection

This feature ensures that as your organization grows and evolves, any new data, users, or groups added to your Microsoft 365 environment are immediately and automatically protected by your backup solution. It is key to maintaining continuous data protection without manually adjusting your backup settings every time there's a change.

In the context of Veeam, auto-backup for new users is possible with jobs covering the entire organization, which some customers may not choose for several reasons, such as scheduling, bandwidth, or storage constraints. Multi-job setups for resource management may not offer automatic resource protection. This is particularly true for Veeam customers who are running the software on older, repurposed hardware in their datacenter. The server they are running it on may not be able to keep up with the load, so they spread backups out across the day via multiple jobs. Such customers would not get automatic resource protection, even though the product supports it. In other words, you may need to periodically review and adjust settings to ensure new resources are covered and stay proactive in updating your backup configurations to encapsulate all new additions to your Microsoft 365 environment.

Once configured, Rubrik monitors your Microsoft 365 environment for any additions, automatically incorporating new users, groups, or data into the backup protocol. This automation spares you from the task of manually updating backup settings, ensuring that your expanding Microsoft 365 footprint is protected without interruptions.

For organizations with dynamic Microsoft 365 usage and frequent additions, Rubrik's automatic resource protection offers ease and efficiency. However, if you prefer a hands-on approach to ensure specific backup coverage, Veeam's flexibility may be a better fit.

Intelligent Backups

Intelligent backups optimize the management and scheduling of backups by aligning them with the actual usage and activity within your Microsoft 365 environment. This approach ensures backups are performed during periods of low activity, minimizing the impact on system performance and enabling efficient data protection without disrupting your operations.

Veeam offers extensive customization options for scheduling backups. However, it lacks the capability to autonomously adapt these schedules in response to changing usage patterns within your Microsoft 365 environment. To optimize backup timing, you may need to manually monitor activity trends and adjust schedules accordingly to circumvent times of high usage.

Rubrik automates certain aspects of backup scheduling, yet it stops short of providing the advanced capability to dynamically modify backup times in sync with real-time usage patterns.

Solutions providing this advanced level of intelligence, akin to what Alcion offers, represent a forward-thinking approach to data backup. By integrating automation with sophisticated analytics, Alcion customizes backup activities to align precisely with your organization's operational dynamics.  While Veeam and Rubrik provide robust backup solutions, they may not fully capture the depth of intelligent backup scheduling capabilities that Alcion delivers, underscoring the importance of selecting a solution that can adapt dynamically to your organization's unique needs.

On-Demand and Legacy Backup Scheduling

Veeam offers flexibility in backup scheduling. You have the control to initiate backups manually at any moment, which is particularly useful after major data additions or changes. In addition to on-demand backups, Veeam enables you to configure Microsoft 365 backups to run daily at specific times or at regular intervals within a defined window. This flexibility is particularly beneficial for organizations seeking to tailor their backup routines to match operational schedules or data traffic patterns. For instance, you can set up hourly backups between 8 AM and 6 PM, Monday through Friday.

However, if weekend backups are also required for example, a separate backup job must be created, as Veeam's current configuration does not support multiple distinct schedules for the same organizational backup within a single job. This limitation means that for continuous hourly backups throughout the week, the same schedule applies to both weekdays and weekends.

Rubrik takes a different approach to backup scheduling. While it supports on-demand backup initiation via API and UI, Rubrik modernizes the scheduling process by tying it to an SLA-defined Recovery Point Objective (RPO). Users can specify their desired RPO, and Rubrik's system automatically determines the necessary backup frequency to meet that objective.

For example, setting an 8-hour RPO would prompt Rubrik to initiate backups three times a day, ensuring data is protected within each 8-hour window. This approach effectively aligns the backup schedule with data protection goals, balancing operational demands and data security needs. Rubrik also offers granular RPO settings, catering to environments with rapidly changing data that require frequent backups to minimize potential data loss.

If you require detailed control over when backups occur, including the ability to respond immediately to data changes, Veeam's robust scheduling options will likely meet your needs. If you value ease of use and prefer a more set-and-forget approach to backup scheduling, Rubrik's streamlined process might be more aligned with your operational style.

Search & Backup Browsing

Efficient navigation and search capabilities within backup solutions are essential for quickly locating and restoring specific items, minimizing downtime, and ensuring rapid recovery processes.

Veeam provides robust search and browsing functionalities, enabling you to effectively search through backups and pinpoint individual items. Veeam's advanced search capabilities are particularly suitable for complex data environments, as they support intricate search parameters and combinations.

For instance, Veeam allows search within specific date ranges, filter emails by sender, and combining criteria to find emails from a particular sender, written within the last week, containing a specific keyword in the subject line. This functionality is invaluable for organizations that frequently need to restore individual data pieces and prioritize the ability to do so quickly and accurately.

Rubrik offers efficient search and backup browsing capabilities with a focus on simplicity and user-friendliness. While it supports searching email backups by various criteria such as subject, recipient, sender, and date range, Rubrik's approach is designed to streamline the data recovery process.  

Veeam and Rubrik both offer distinct approaches to search and backup browsing within the Microsoft 365 environment, with Veeam focusing on advanced search functionalities suitable for complex data retrieval needs, and Rubrik emphasizing simplicity and intuitiveness for straightforward data recovery.

Flexible Restore Options or Local Download

The flexibility to adapt to different recovery scenarios is crucial for backup solutions, ensuring that data can be restored exactly as needed, whether it's directly back to Microsoft 365, downloaded locally, or recovered to an alternate location.

Veeam offers a wide range of restore options, facilitating not only the restoration of data to its original Microsoft 365 location but also supporting alternative locations and local downloads.

These options include restoring to on-premises Exchange, in-place or to a subdirectory, alternate locations, exporting to desktop or PST files, email delivery, and backup-to-production comparison. This versatility is beneficial for organizations that require flexible recovery options, particularly in situations where data needs to be recovered to a different environment or retained locally for further analysis.

Rubrik, in contrast, streamlines the restore process, focusing on efficiency and simplicity. It primarily targets the restoration of items back to their original locations within Microsoft 365, prioritizing security and ease of use. However, Rubrik's offerings may be somewhat limited when it comes to local downloads or restoration to alternative locations like PST or MBOX files, which could be a consideration for users seeking more diverse restore functionalities.

Veeam and Rubrik offer different levels of flexibility in their restore options within the Microsoft 365 environment. Veeam excels in providing a wide range of restore possibilities, including direct, alternative location, and local restores, catering to diverse recovery needs. Rubrik focuses on simplicity and security, optimizing for direct restores back to Microsoft 365, and may offer fewer options for local or alternative location recoveries.

Operational Reporting

Operational reporting is essential for administrators to gain insights into backup activities, providing detailed information on the status, success, and any issues encountered during the backup process.

Veeam delivers comprehensive operational reporting, granting administrators an in-depth view of backup activities. Its reporting capabilities are detailed, providing reports with a robust user interface that covers various aspects of the backup process and offers real-time tracking of all backup jobs. Users can filter jobs based on status and manage them directly, including stopping in-progress jobs. Veeam's reporting features, such as detailing protected users and mailboxes, are particularly useful for organizations managing backups in batches.

Rubrik also provides operational reporting capabilities, focusing on simplicity and clarity. It offers a comprehensive view of all operational events, including backups and restores. Rubrik's ability to show real-time status and history of all jobs, along with additional events like security incidents, makes it effective for large-scale monitoring and responding to issues promptly.

Veeam and Rubrik both offer valuable operational reporting capabilities within Microsoft 365 backup solutions, with Veeam focusing on depth and detail, and Rubrik on clarity and simplicity.

Total Cost of Ownership  

When choosing a Microsoft 365 backup solution, it's crucial to look beyond the initial licensing costs and consider the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). This includes infrastructure, staffing, setup, and ongoing management expenses. By understanding the TCO, you can ensure the solution aligns with your budget and operational capabilities, giving you a clearer picture of the investment required.

For the TL;DR of this section check the table below.

TCO Aspect Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 Rubrik for Microsoft 365
Licensing Model Complex model challenging for cost forecasting. Factors in users, service level, and discounts. Excludes infrastructure costs. Tiered model designed for scalability. Accounts for increases in storage or users.
Infrastructure and Storage Cost Models Resource-intensive model requiring considerable upfront investment. Cloud-first, SaaS-based approach minimizing costs. Potential additional charges for high usage.
FTE Administration Cost Demands dedicated staff for backup administration. Lower FTE requirements for basic configurations. Advanced setups may require more time and expertise.
Software Updates and Security Patching Significant user responsibility for managing updates and patches. Demands dedicated attention. Streamlined experience with automated updates and patching.
Complexity of Setup and Onboarding Setup and onboarding can be complex, especially at scale. Moderately complex setup.
Overall Ease of Use and Ongoing Management Complex features requiring regular attention. Initial complexity affects long-term ease of use. Lower ongoing requirements, primarily monitoring backups and restores.

Licensing Model

The licensing model directly impacts the predictability and manageability of costs.

Veeam’s model factors in the number of users, service level, and potential discounts for long-term commitments, but it doesn't include infrastructure costs. This approach allows for customization to fit different organizational sizes and requirements. However, the complexity of this model can make it challenging to forecast costs, especially as your organization's needs evolve over time. Additionally, figuring out your TCO can be difficult, as the additional costs for servers, storage, networking, and ongoing management can vary significantly. While Veeam is available through MSPs, the specifics of the SaaS pricing are not clearly defined, which can contribute to uncertainty in overall cost estimations.

Rubrik, takes a different approach with a tiered licensing model designed to offer scalability as your organization grows. This model accounts for increases in storage requirements or user numbers, aiming to provide a flexible structure that adjusts as your organization expands. While this approach also presents challenges in cost forecasting, particularly with unforeseen increases in data volume or user base, its intent to scale with your organization's needs can offer a clearer path for growth, potentially making it a more flexible option for dynamic environments.

The licensing models of Veeam and Rubrik offer distinct approaches to managing costs for Microsoft 365 backup solutions. Veeam provides a customizable but complex model based on user count and service levels, requiring active management for cost predictability. Rubrik's tiered model focuses on scalability and flexibility, potentially fitting growing organizations despite challenges in forecasting costs.

Infrastructure and Storage Cost Models

It's essential to understand the financial implications of the backup solution's infrastructure requirements, including the costs associated with maintaining servers for the backup system and expenses related to storing your backups, whether on-premises or in the cloud.

Veeam presents a resource-intensive model that requires considerable upfront investment. For infrastructure, this means an on-premises deployment that includes servers, storage hardware, and potentially additional networking equipment, leading to significant costs (between $3,000 to $7,000 annually), especially when factoring in the suggested Azure VMs (F8 or F16) necessary for its operation. This infrastructure investment directly feeds into the storage costs, as Veeam demands active resource management from its users. This setup suits organizations that are equipped to handle complex storage setups and those ready to actively manage variable costs, but it places a considerable burden on resource allocation and cost management.

In contrast, Rubrik offers a model that minimizes both infrastructure and storage costs through its cloud-first, SaaS-based approach. By eliminating the need for customer-managed infrastructure, Rubrik significantly reduces the complexity and cost of managing backup solutions. Its storage model, leveraging pooled storage per user, is designed to efficiently meet average storage needs while offering a streamlined experience. However, you must remain mindful of potential additional charges that could arise from high storage usage or extensive archived data.

The choice between Veeam and Rubrik hinges on an organization's capacity to invest in and manage infrastructure and storage. Veeam requires a significant commitment to infrastructure and active management of storage, potentially leading to higher costs and complexity. Rubrik, leveraging a cloud-first SaaS model, offers a more streamlined and cost-effective approach, although careful consideration of potential additional storage costs is advised.

FTE Administration Cost

The expenses related to staffing needed for the administration of your Microsoft 365 backup solution is an important factor. It includes the cost of dedicated personnel responsible for setting up, managing, and troubleshooting the backup system, which is crucial in determining the overall cost-effectiveness of the solution.

Veeam requires a more hands-on approach to administration, necessitating dedicated IT staff or additional training for existing teams to effectively manage and optimize the backup processes. Administrators must continually monitor the performance of the server, storage, and network infrastructure, on top of regular backup and restore management. This comprehensive oversight means a higher time investment and greater resource commitment compared to simpler solutions.

Rubrik streamlines the backup management process with its focus on automation and simplicity. For the Rubrik-hosted solution, FTE requirements are relatively low for basic configurations. The system can automatically create and maintain Microsoft Service policies, although advanced configurations might entail additional maintenance for apps, potentially increasing the time and expertise required from administrators.

Veeam and Rubrik present contrasting approaches to FTE administration costs for Microsoft 365 backup software. Veeam's solution demands a significant administrative effort, making it a more resource-intensive option. Rubrik, offers a more streamlined administrative experience, potentially reducing the required administration costs.

Software Updates and Security Patching

Manual updates can increase IT workload and pose security risks, while automated processes ensure timely updates and reduce operational strain.  

Veeam places significant responsibility on the user for managing updates, necessitating active monitoring and application of patches to address both Windows and Veeam vulnerabilities. This requirement adds an additional layer to IT security tasks, demanding more dedicated attention to maintain a secure backup environment.

Rubrik offers a streamlined experience in software updates and security patching by automating these processes. This approach minimizes risks and administrative overhead, ensuring users benefit from the latest security measures without the need for continuous hands-on management.

Rubrik simplifies the process of software updates and security patching through automation, reducing operational strain and enhancing security. In contrast, Veeam requires more active involvement from the user to manage updates and patches, presenting a potential increase in workload and security risk.

Complexity of Setup and Onboarding

The ease and speed of setup can significantly influence the initial user experience and the rapid deployment of the backup system.

Veeam’s setup for Microsoft 365 backup is notoriously complex, requiring the installation and configuration of four distinct components, each with its own detailed settings. This intricate process, which includes over 100 mouse clicks and various technical inputs, demands considerable time and technical understanding. Creating multiple Azure AD applications for different functionalities, each needing separate naming and authentication, adds to the setup's complexity. These applications require self-signed certificates generated by Veeam, which will eventually expire and necessitate renewal, adding to ongoing maintenance tasks. After configuring Azure applications, attention shifts to configuring backup specifics, such as selecting data to backup, scheduling, and deciding backup destinations, including considering immutable backup options for enhanced security.

Complexity-wise, Rubrik is somewhere between Alcion and Veeam. Closer to Alcion in terms of ease but more complex than a single-button setup. Rubrik has a moderately complex setup, automating the creation and updating of AD apps for authentication, which reduces some of the manual configuration burdens seen with Veeam. However, manual configuration of additional apps is required for enhanced performance, which can increase the initial setup's complexity.

Rubrik offers a more streamlined and less complex setup experience compared to Veeam, with automated AD app creation reducing manual effort. Veeam, while offering granular control and customization, demands significant technical knowledge and time investment during setup, making its initial onboarding experience more challenging .

Overall Ease of Use and Ongoing Management

It's important to consider how user-friendly the backup solution is once it's up and running and how much ongoing effort is required to maintain effective backup operations. This consideration is crucial for ensuring that your backup strategy remains robust over time without imposing an undue burden on your team.

Veeam’s set of features comes with a complexity that may require regular attention and management to optimize backup processes and ensure data protection. Once configured, Veeam operates with a degree of user-friendliness, functioning akin to standard Windows applications, with backups executed automatically. However, the initial complexity in installation and configuration, involving numerous critical choices such as which authentication system you are going to use, affects its ease of use and how the product works in the long term. Veeam demands continual monitoring for backups, restores, and capacity issues, requiring adjustments to system design. This level of ongoing management is significant due to its software-based nature.

Rubrik emphasizes automation and user-friendly interfaces, potentially reducing the time your team spends on backup-related tasks. It is described as offering more efficient and straightforward management of Microsoft 365 backups, allowing for more focus on other operational priorities with less specialized training required. For ongoing management, Rubrik boasts minimal requirements, with no storage management issues thanks to its use of Azure Blob storage for its hosted solution. The primary tasks involve monitoring backups and restores for failures, suggesting a lower threshold for ongoing management compared to Veeam.

Rubrik's approach is geared towards simplification and automation, minimizing the burden of ongoing management and making it a more user-friendly solution post-setup. Veeam, while offering a comprehensive feature set that becomes more user-friendly once configured, requires a more substantial ongoing management effort, reflecting its software-based nature and the depth of its configurability.

Data Security  

When it comes to protecting your critical data, evaluating the security features of your Microsoft 365 backup solution is paramount.

For the TL;DR of this section check the table below.

Data Security Feature Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 Rubrik for Microsoft 365
Native Ransomware Scanning Lacks documented ransomware detection features. Includes features for detecting unusual patterns in backup data that could indicate a ransomware attack.
Malware Detection and Elimination Emphasizes immutability of backups as primary defense against malware, but may need additional measures for comprehensive protection. Offers in-depth scanning for malware using advanced techniques such as YARA rules, file hashes, or patterns.
Incident Response Capabilities Lacks documented features for both ransomware detection and automated incident response processes. Provides specialized incident response capabilities with a focus on OneDrive and SharePoint, but effectiveness may need further validation.
Backup Protection (Delayed Deletion, Immutable Backups) Offers conditional immutability requiring additional setups, but does not support delayed deletion. Integrates Intelligent Data Lock (IDL) to delay deletion of data source snapshots and ensures all Office 365 backups are stored as immutable objects in Azure Blob storage.
XDR (Extended Detection and Response) Integration Lacks documented integration with any XDR tools, indicating a potential vulnerability in utilizing external threat intelligence. Has selectively integrated with Microsoft Sentinel for Microsoft 365, allowing for incident communication and management through natural language processing (NLP).

Native Ransomware Scanning

Native ransomware scanning capabilities can help detect and mitigate the impact of such attacks on your organization.

Veeam for Microsoft 365 currently lacks documented native ransomware scanning capabilities. While Veeam provides comprehensive backup and recovery options, this gap suggests that organizations may need to incorporate additional measures or third-party solutions to specifically address ransomware detection within their backup strategy.

On the other hand, Rubrik includes features aimed at detecting unusual patterns in backup data that could indicate a ransomware attack. This functionality allows users to proactively investigate anomalies and take corrective actions, such as restoring data from a secure backup point, providing an extra layer of defense against potential ransomware threats.

Given the increasing sophistication of ransomware attacks, the presence of native ransomware scanning is a significant differentiator. While Rubrik offers some degree of proactive ransomware threat detection through anomaly detection in backup data, Alcion outpaces both with its unique AI-driven per-user and per-site scanning capabilities, offering superior ransomware detection designed to adapt and learn from ongoing activities.

Malware Detection and Elimination

Ensuring that your backups remain clean and your data integrity uncompromised is essential, making malware detection a critical component of your backup solution.

Veeam emphasizes the immutability of backups as its primary defense against malware, incorporating YARA rules for malware detection. However, this aspect may not be as developed as its immutability features, suggesting a need for additional measures or third-party solutions to comprehensively address malware detection and elimination.

In contrast, Rubrik offers an in-depth approach to scanning for malware using advanced techniques such as YARA rules, file hashes, or patterns. This comprehensive method aims to maintain backups free from malware and other compromises, representing a higher level of security preparedness and a proactive layer of defense against malware.

While both Rubrik and Veeam offer varying degrees of malware protection, with Rubrik providing more in-depth scanning capabilities, Alcion stands out with superior malware detection and elimination features, integrating seamlessly with Microsoft Defender for enhanced security.

Incident Response Capabilities

The way a backup solution responds to security threats, particularly ransomware and malware detections, is a critical aspect of its overall effectiveness.

Veeam lacks documented features for both ransomware detection and automated incident response processes, indicating a significant gap in its incident response capabilities. This suggests that users may need to incorporate additional security measures or third-party solutions to effectively manage incident responses.

Rubrik, while positioning itself as a data security company, demonstrates its strengths primarily in OneDrive and SharePoint through anomaly detection and response capabilities. Rubrik's system identifies encrypted files, helping users understand where restorations are needed. It employs "blast radius detection" and utilizes Natural Language Processing (NLP) tools for crisis management during critical moments, offering instructions in natural language.  

In comparison, Alcion with its proactive approach, automatically initiates backups upon ransomware detection and efficiently identifies unaffected backups for recovery, significantly enhancing recovery capabilities. Rubrik provides specialized incident response capabilities with a focus on OneDrive and SharePoint. Veeam presents a notable gap in incident response, lacking both ransomware detection and automated response processes.

Backup Protection Backup Protection (Delayed Deletion, Immutable Backups)

Delayed deletion prevents the immediate removal of backups, offering a safeguard against accidental or malicious deletion, while immutable backups ensure backup data cannot be altered or deleted for a specified period, protecting against ransomware and unauthorized changes.

Veeam offers conditional immutability, requiring setups such as Linux servers or S3 object lock for true immutability. These requirements add operational complexities and might entail additional costs. Notably, Veeam does not support delayed deletion, presenting a vulnerability where backups could be accidentally or maliciously removed immediately and permanently, lacking an added layer of protection against premature data loss.

Rubrik integrates Intelligent Data Lock (IDL) to delay the deletion of data source snapshots for a specified period, thus offering an enhanced safeguard against accidental or malicious deletions. Furthermore, it ensures all Office 365 backups are stored as immutable objects in Azure Blob storage, securing backups against unauthorized alterations and deletions, and providing a substantial level of immutability and data protection.

Alcion's Backup Delete Protection provides an extra layer of safety against external attacks and credentials compromise with an additional two-week retention of backups post-deletion. On the other hand, the choice between Veeam and Rubrik hinges on your organization's specific needs for backup integrity and protection. Rubrik demonstrates stronger backup protection capabilities through its use of Intelligent Data Lock, in contrast to Veeam's conditional approach to immutability, which requires additional setups.

XDR (Extended Detection and Response) Integration

A backup solution's ability to work seamlessly with broader security systems enhances your defense against sophisticated cyber threats. Such an integration allows your backup environment to benefit from comprehensive threat intelligence and responsive actions, bolstering your overall security posture.

Veeam does not have documented integration with any XDR tools, indicating a gap in this area. This gap highlights a potential vulnerability in Veeam's ability to utilize external threat intelligence for enhanced security measures. The absence of XDR integration may compel your organization to seek additional solutions or workarounds to achieve a comprehensive security approach.

Rubrik has selectively integrated with Microsoft Sentinel for Microsoft 365. This integration allows for incident communication and management through natural language processing (NLP), demonstrating Rubrik's targeted approach to security. However, Rubrik's XDR integration remains specifically focused on Microsoft Sentinel, without evidence of a broader scope of integration.

While Alcion excels with its integration with Microsoft Defender for XDR, offering a seamless connection that enhances detection and response capabilities without additional effort from the customer , when deciding between Veeam and Rubrik, consider how the integration, or lack thereof, with XDR systems impacts your security strategy.  

Open-Source Microsoft 365 Backup Solutions

Neither Veeam nor Rubrik engage in open-source projects for Microsoft 365 backup solutions, focusing instead on proprietary offerings. This means if you're looking for an open-source Microsoft 365 backup solution, you might not find direct support or engagement from these providers in the open-source community.

Alcion, on the other hand, stands out by offering a community edition that is both free and open-source named Corso. This edition not only provides a subset of the functionalities available in its commercial version but also supports native binaries and container images for various platforms, including Windows, Linux, and macOS. Currently, it backs up OneDrive and Exchange, with Teams and SharePoint support in active development. This initiative reflects Alcion's dedication to technological collaboration, innovation, and providing a scalable, secure backup tool for Microsoft 365 to users who prefer or require open-source solutions.

While Veeam and Rubrik do not engage in open-source projects for Microsoft 365 backup solutions, focusing instead on their proprietary technologies, Alcion stands out by embracing the open-source community.  

Alcion Backup as a Service for Microsoft 365: A Better Alternative to Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365 and Rubrik for Microsoft 365

From our Microsoft 365 Backup solutions snapshot article: Alcion, 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.

Transitioning from traditional backup solutions to Backup as a Service (BaaS) for Microsoft 365 can redefine how you manage data protection. Alcion Backup as a Service emerges as a compelling alternative to Veeam and Rubrik, tailored to meet modern organizational needs with a focus on security, efficiency, and ease of use. In addition to further strengthening this position we are proud that we are funded by Veeam itself. Read why Veeam led Alcion’s latest funding round.

Alcion stands as a top choice for businesses seeking not just data backup but a defense mechanism against modern cyber threats, especially ransomware.

Streamlined Integration and Intelligent Automation: Alcion's BaaS solution for Microsoft 365 simplifies the backup process through seamless integration and intelligent automation. Unlike the manual adjustments and monitoring required by Veeam or the simplified but less customizable approach of Rubrik, Alcion offers a balanced solution that automatically adapts to your organization's changing needs, reducing the administrative burden.

Intelligent Backup: Alcion introduces an innovative, AI-powered scheduling system that optimizes backup timing based on actual data usage and risk assessment. This ensures efficient data protection without unnecessary redundancy, a feature yet to be matched by Veeam or Rubrik.

Advanced Security Features: Alcion stands out with its native ransomware scanning and malware detection capabilities.  Alcion utilizes AI-driven detection and automated response capabilities to analyze user behavior and system activity, detecting and responding to ransomware attacks in real-time. These modern ransomware detection capabilities ensure that backups are initiated preemptively upon detection of a threat, securing data before it can be compromised .  

Efficient Incident Response: With rapid response features that surpass the capabilities of Veeam and Rubrik, Alcion's BaaS solution minimizes the impact of security incidents. Its integration with leading XDR platforms, continuous and automatic customer backups verification, combined with its advanced ransomware detection, enhances the overall security posture, offering a level of incident response that is seamlessly coordinated with broader security efforts.

Cost Efficiency: Alcion presents a clear advantage with its transparent per-seat pricing model, offering organizations a predictable cost without hidden fees for infrastructure or maintenance. Veeam's pricing structure, while robust, can introduce unpredictability in overall costs due to its infrastructure and management requirements.

What's next for your organization?

As you navigate among Microsoft 365 backup solutions, you've probably encountered Veeam and Rubrik as notable options. Veeam impresses with its detailed backup configurations and robust recovery options, while Rubrik shines with its automation and security-focused features.

If you're encountering challenges with them, grappling with the balance between automation and customization or evaluating the overall cost-effectiveness, exploring alternatives could be a strategic move.

If you find yourself weighing the pros and cons of these solutions, searching for a balance that neither fully offers, it's worth considering Alcion. Alcion's Backup as a Service for Microsoft 365, bolstered by Veeam's backing, stands out for its AI-driven intelligence, user-friendly interface, and robust ransomware protection, emerging as a compelling alternative.

Get in touch with our team or sign up for a free trial and get in the driver’s seat to see why you get so much more with Alcion.

Shilpi Srivastava
Shilpi Srivastava
Head of Corporate and Product Marketing

Shilpi is passionate about all things data, AI, and cloud. She is the Head of Corporate and Product Marketing at Alcion. Her early career as a systems engineer at JP Morgan Chase ignited a passion for data-driven solutions. Since then Shilpi has held marketing leadership positions at Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Pure Storage, bringing to market products and services spanning cloud infrastructure, data management, AI Ops, and cybersecurity. Now, at Alcion, she thrives on delving deeper into AI-driven innovation within the data protection space and sharing these innovations with the world.