Data Protection Centre/Microsoft 365/Microsoft 365 eDiscovery vs. Backup


In this article

  • What is Microsoft eDiscovery?
  • What is cloud backup?
  • Is eDiscovery a backup solution?
  • Why Microsoft eDiscovery should not be used as a backup solution
  • Why do you need backup?
  • Why use SysCloud for backup?

Microsoft 365 eDiscovery vs. Backup

26 Oct 2021
5 min read
Anju George

An alarming 85% of Microsoft 365 business customers had been negatively impacted by email breaches or data loss instances in 2020.  

Some IT administrators might be tempted to use Microsoft eDiscovery to secure their organizational data. While Microsoft eDiscovery holds help to preserve content indefinitely, it should not be confused with the data protection capabilities of a third-party cloud backup solution.

1. What is Microsoft eDiscovery?

Microsoft eDiscovery is a native discovery tool that helps organizations identify, preserve, and export ESI (Electronically Stored Information) to be presented as evidence in a legal proceeding.
Core and Advanced are two types of eDiscovery available in the Microsoft Compliance Center. Administrators can manage different cases, run searches, and create holds using the eDiscovery tool.

eDiscovery Hold is an eDiscovery feature that allows Global, Compliance or eDiscovery Administrators, and eDiscovery managers to preserve specific Microsoft content indefinitely- during which time, the content cannot be modified or destroyed. Click here to know more about eDiscovery.

2. What is cloud backup?

Cloud backup is a service that backs up critical data in a secure, remote server that’s available for restored any time. For example, SysCloud automatically backs up Microsoft 365 data on a secure cloud.

3. Is eDiscovery a backup solution?

Despite the data preservation capabilities, Microsoft eDiscovery is not a backup solution. Missing features like single-click restore, automated backup with snapshots, granular restore features etc., are a few reasons why organizations should not use eDiscovery as an alternative to a backup solution like SysCloud.

4. Why Microsoft eDiscovery should not be used as a backup solution

Below is a list of reasons why Microsoft eDiscovery should not be used as a backup solution.
  • In-place Preservation- When a file is put on hold using eDiscovery, it is simply preserved in its original location. This means, there is no second copy that gets moved to a different location. On the other hand, data backed up by a third-party backup solution moves to a secure, remote server.

  • Inaccessible by Users- Once a file is placed on hold, it then becomes inaccessible to the owners, collaborators, and administrators. This means, unless the eDiscovery hold is removed, it cannot be worked on or accessed by anyone in the organization.

  • Impossible to Restore- The only way to access any content put on hold would be to manually remove the eDiscovery hold. Once the hold is removed by an administrator, a Delay Hold is placed on the content for another 30 days after which the content can be accessed by the users. This is not a very efficient restore option. A third-party backup solution like SysCloud preserves all critical cloud data and has the backed-up files available for restore at any time. The domain administrator/users can restore any backed-up content at the click of a button.

  • No Granular Restore Features- While data gets protected when placed on eDiscovery hold, the preserved data cannot be restored to a specific point-in-time. A third-party backup tool like SysCloud allows organizations to restore backed-up data to a specific point in time. Sharing permissions and folder structures also remain intact when data gets restored, even to a different user.

5. Why do you need backup?

While cloud storage is more secure than on-prem, there are several reasons why an organization’s Microsoft 365 data might still be at risk. Below are a few: 

  • Data Loss- Content that is not placed on eDiscovery hold can be destructed. While deleted content can be retrieved from trash, it should be done within 93 days. After this, the data is permanently deleted and cannot be retrieved unless there is a backup in place.

  • Ransomware attacks- While data placed on eDiscovery hold cannot be affected by ransomware, the rest of the cloud data remains at risk. SysCloud’s Backup Data Insights feature monitors OneDrive files for the presence of ransomware before the attacker encrypts them. If already encrypted, SysCloud also identifies safe snapshots of the file to be restored.  

  • Phishing Attacks- While Microsoft eDiscovery holds can preserve Exchange online emails, it cannot detect or prevent phishing emails. Some cloud backup tools like SysCloud’ have the capability to inspect all Outlook accounts for phishing emails. Administrators can delete the flagged emails from the backup archives and from the user accounts.  

  • Second Copy of Data- Backing up business Microsoft data using a third-party backup tool ensures the availability of a second copy of the data for restore at any time. While eDiscovery hold preserves important data, it also leaves it inaccessible until the hold is removed.

  • eDiscovery is Not a Comprehensive Backup Solution- While Microsoft eDiscovery is an efficient tool to identify, collect, export, and preserve cloud content for legal purposes, it is not a comprehensive backup solution. Third-party backup tools like SysCloud are capable of automatically backing up Microsoft data. The tool also provides the capability to export or restore the backed-up content with just a few clicks. 

  • Outages- SaaS outages can leave users locked out of their files for hours, impacting business productivity. Unlike eDiscovery holds, backup tools like SysCloud can help organizations access their files during outages and continue work during the downtime. To read more about why Microsoft 365 data should be backed up, click here.

6. Why use SysCloud for backup?

  • Automated backup- SysCloud automatically backs up Microsoft 365 data, up to three times a day.

  • Multiple Microsoft Services Covered- SysCloud can back up data stored in Microsoft services like Outlook, OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams, Exchange, People, OneNote, Planner, Stream, and Whiteboard.

  • Backup Data Insights- SysCloud’s Backup Data Insights feature can detect ransomware, phishing threats, and flag compliance gaps in the backup archives.

  • License Cost Optimization- SysCloud automatically excludes deleted/suspended Microsoft users from billing, while retaining their data in the backup archives.

  • Restore Features- SysCloud provides advanced backup & restore options like point-in-time restore, and cross-user restore.

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In this article

  • What is Microsoft eDiscovery?
  • What is cloud backup?
  • Is eDiscovery a backup solution?
  • Why Microsoft eDiscovery should not be used as a backup solution
  • Why do you need backup?
  • Why use SysCloud for backup?

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