Choose the right Microsoft 365 backup solution

A question that often pops-up, once you have moved your documents to Microsoft 365, is how to backup your documents and their metadata, in case of a disaster recovery scenario.

On this page we describe what is included in the standard Microsoft 365 license and what you can do in order to increase your options the day something would happen to any of the components in your document management solution.

Microsoft 365’s recycle bin

All documents accessed through MetaShare are stored in SharePoint Online. If any document or any earlier versions of a document is deleted they can easily be restored from the recycle, up to 93 days after they were deleted. Restored documents will be restored with intact version history and metadata tagging. Deleted workspaces can also be restored up to 93 days of deletion.

There are however certain components in SharePoint that are not sent to a recycle bin when they are deleted. Some examples are:

If someone accidentally deletes any of these then it could be a tedious and expensive operation to restore your environment. Therefore you might want to consider looking at a 3rd party application for backup and restore.

Microsoft 365 Syntex Backup (Preview)

For improved disaster recovery and ransomware protection Microsoft offer Syntex Backup, currently in preview. This means that it is still and development and lacks some important features. For example, only selected sites will be backed up, new sites must be added to backup schedule manually. Unlike most alternatives, it is priced per storage instead of user (like most alternatives).

Things that you may want to consider

Apart from the procedure of backing up and restoring document and workspaces you might also want to consider:

  • Other Microsoft 365 and Azure functionality
    • Maybe you need to backup other thing in your Microsoft 365 than your files, maybe even Azure VM.
  • Redirected or offline restore
    • You may want to consider whether you have the need to be able to restore your data to a different location or even another online location or to your local data center.
  • Where to store the backups
    • Do you have specific requirements for where the backup files are stored, maybe you even want to store it locally or in another cloud service to have it redundant.

Third party backup applications

Below are some of the most common backup applications. Be aware that the devil is in the details when it comes to recovery, so we suggest you verify all your use-cases before selecting an application. Just because the specification says it is supported, the way it is supported may not be enough, e.g. even if the documentation says it supports restoring deleted site columns/metadata they may not support it if you don’t restore the whole site. In some applications not all column types can be restored.

  • AvePoint Cloud Backup for Microsoft 365
    • AvePoint has by far the most complete set of backup and restore functionalities.
    • You can backup your data to a built-in storage or Amazon S3, Dropbox, FTP, Microsoft Azure Blob Storage, and SFTP.
    • Has documented support for how to backup and restore SharePoint’s taxonomy database (SharePoint’s term store).
  • Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365
    • Has a free community version for up to 5 users.
    • You can backup your data in the location of your choice, on-premises, in a hyper-scale public cloud (i.e. Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services) or with a local service provider.
    • There’s no documentation available that the application supports backing up SharePoint’s taxonomy database (SharePoint’s term store).
  • SkyKick Cloud Backup for Microsoft 365
    • Only stores data to the default Azure data center.
    • There’s no documentation available that the application supports backing up SharePoint’s taxonomy database (SharePoint’s term store).
  • Veritas SaaS backup for Microsoft 365
  • Carbonite Backup for Microsoft 365
  • Barracuda Cloud-to-Cloud Backup

Functionality matrix

All of these support backup of OneDrive, SharePoint lists and libraries, as well as Exchange mailboxes. They differ however, in whether they support advanced functionality such as managed metadata, Microsoft Teams, Planner or backup to custom location.

In the matrix below we have tried to summarize the capabilities of some of these different backup applications:

TeamsManaged metadataPlannerCustom storage locations
Microsoft 365 Syntex Backup*2NoNoNoNo
AvePoint Cloud BackupYesYesYesYes
Veeam BackupLimited*1YesNoYes
Skykick Cloud BackupYesNoYesNo
Veritas SaaS BackupYesNoYes?
Carbonite BackupLimited*1YesYesNo
Baracuda Cloud-to-Cloud BackupNoNoNoNo
*1 Teams chats are not restored as chats, but rather as a HTML file in the team
*2 Microsoft 365 Syntex Backup is currently in preview and more features will be added in the future


The information on this page is based on information from the vendors’ documentation. As the products evolve, there might be capabilities that have changed since we compiled this information.

About us and MetaShare

Ways are leading experts in Microsoft 365, SharePoint and document management. Our groundbreaking solution, MetaShare, simplifies document management in Microsoft 365 and SharePoint. We belive that organizations should always consider their backup and restore needs.

Another of our many offers, is AvePoint Cloud Backup and professional services, because we belive that they are the only vendor that can meet all our customers’ needs.