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Q: As an MSP owner, I know how cloud backup serves a vital purpose for protecting my clients’ Microsoft Office 365 environment. How can I best convince my customers that cloud backup is required for Office 365 even if retention is included?

As most MSPs know, cloud backup provides tremendous value in a service offering designed to help secure an organization’s data. The trouble that some MSPs find with cloud backup for Microsoft Office 365 is convincing their clients and prospective customers of its value.

To figure out how MSPs can overcome this roadblock, SmarterMSP sat down with Kyle Marsan, Systems Engineer at Barracuda MSP. Kyle offered his tips on how MSPs can detail the positives that cloud backup offers, soothe customers’ concerns about their need for it, and ultimately convince customers that cloud backup is something their business can’t afford to live without.

The importance of cloud backup for Microsoft Office 365

Most people know that Office 365 has built-in redundancy and if Microsoft ever has a server go down, the customer will never even notice. However, what happens if a user deletes, changes, or misplaces a file and doesn’t realize that the built-in Microsoft retention period is a maximum of 93 days for emails and 30 days for Sharepoint and OneDrive data. This is a common user case we hear all the time.

Cloud backup not only offers the storage of critical business data in a secondary location to the Microsoft cloud, but also supplements the built-in Microsoft retention periods for Exchange, SharePoint, OneDrive, and Groups data.

I’m sure it sounds cliché, but anyone using Office 365 can benefit from backing up data. With the massive migration of data to the cloud, it’s easy to overlook the need for a secondary, separate copy of business-critical data. This is a concept everyone became used to with any on-premise servers that are hosted and the same is true for data that lives in the cloud.

Common obstacles to prepare for

The biggest obstacle MSPs face is explaining the value. Why do I need to add cloud backup for my Office 365 data, I thought Microsoft does this already? As I had mentioned, I have spoken with many MSPs where a customer’s user accidentally deleted a file and realized 2 months later that it’s not available anymore. It can take months to get that data back, or worst, the file is never seen again.

Another common obstacle is that customers may confuse a backup with an archive. Customers who must comply with various regulations will often subscribe to an archiving service. They often think that since there is an archive, they no longer need a backup. The archive and the backup serve very different purposes.

The backup contains all previously backed data and can quickly and easily restore back into the Office 365 tenant. An archive may only contain a portion of data that is required for preservation to meet regulatory requirements. In addition, you cannot easily restore data to Office 365 but instead can only search and export data to a personal folder file.

Making the pitch

If you have experienced these obstacles or have heard similar objections, below are some helpful tips to guide you through the cloud backup sales pitch for Microsoft Office 365 customers:

    • Importance of all business-critical data: Almost everyone understands the importance of email, but OneDrive and SharePoint are just as important. They often hold more business-critical data than email boxes. I often ask, “What happens if someone deletes a folder or makes a change to a file?” This is a great discussion opening question for cloud backup.
    • Office 365 storage limits: Just like on-premise Exchange servers, there is a limit to Office 365 storage. If an email or file is deleted accidentally and your organization is at your Office 365 storage limit, very often, Office 365 will remove the deleted items on or before the data retention period. Ask your customer about their Office 365 storage limits and their growth plans. Explain the data retention periods that Microsoft has to establish the value of a separate cloud backup service to provide additional security to their data.
    • Employee turnover: To preserve the data of an employee who has left the customers’ organization, your customer would have to keep the Office 365 license. However, with cloud-to-cloud backup services, the data is backed up and accessible even if the Office 365 license is removed. The data can be recovered regardless if the user exists in the Office 365 tenant. The customer can save both the license cost and the storage cost of that data sitting in Office 365.
    • Part of a multi-layered email security strategy: Email is still the number 1 attack vector and Office 365 is not immune to cyberattacks. Include cloud backup as part of your multi-layered email security service offering to show your customers that your service offering covers every aspect of email security to properly protect them from today’s email threats.  

As Kyle notes, pointing out the importance and unique capabilities of cloud backup will be of great help in your conversations with clients who remain on the fence about adding this service. Also, tying it together with other services in your portfolio during the pitch can help convince customers to add those other services as well, if they have not already.

Photo: one photo / Shutterstock

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Doris Au

Posted by Doris Au

Doris is a product marketing manager at Barracuda MSP. In this position, she is responsible for connecting managed service providers with multi-layered security and data protection products that can protect their customers from today’s advanced cyber threats.


  1. This is always a difficult concept until the client has lost something 30+ days old. The best traction I’ve used is that you may not realize what employees are doing behind the scenes until they’re gone and there’s a good chance they were up to things 30 days prior to your awareness!


  2. Thank you for this article, it was very insightful. This is a conversation we frequently have with clients and a battle for those that think data in the cloud no longer needs additional backups.


  3. Really liking these short-read blog posts.


  4. This is another one of the reasons I prefer Google Workspace. I can use their own built in Google vault for this, instead of using a 3rd party service.
    Plus the fact that Workspace is more secure out of the box compared to Micosoft 365, I don’t then have to try and sell customers additional security services to make their email secure.
    Although this does somewhat rely on them using gmail, as I don’t think the warnings show if you are using Outlook.


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