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SaaS Backups: Whose Job Is It Anyway?

The importance of backups for Microsoft 365 

By Sean Gill, Director of Client Strategy


More and more, companies are relying on Software as a Service (SaaS) applications to run parts, or all, of their business. 

You’re very familiar with SaaS applications, whether you realize it or not. In the SaaS model, users access software applications over the internet. Some common SaaS services you may use regularly include Google workspace, Microsoft 365, MailChimp, and Zoom. Learn more about Software As A Service!

The Business Benefits of SaaS Solutions 

With the SaaS model, businesses can easily access effective software solutions without taking on all the management tasks. SaaS providers manage their infrastructure and security, regularly implement updates, and ensure consistent uptime of their services.  

All of this is wrapped up and accessible to users through subscription-based usage fees. Businesses that subscribe to these services gain useful and flexible Cloud-based solutions along with the peace of mind of knowing that the backend systems have experts focused on maintaining them.  

This offers incredible bang for your buck and ease of management. However, the other side of that is knowing where the business continuity responsibilities end for the vendor and where they start for your business.  

Understanding Microsoft’s Shared Responsibility Model 

One of the largest market shares for a SaaS solution belongs to Microsoft and its 365 platform. Businesses of all types benefit from the productivity tools and security features that Microsoft 365 offers.  

With all the ease and benefits of SaaS solutions, many business owners assume that their data in Microsoft 365 is backed up and easily recoverable. But is that really the case? 

The answer is yes and no. Enter the Microsoft “Shared Responsibility” model. 

SaaS providers like Microsoft do maintain backups to a degree. They store data around the world to ensure availability of service and protect against disaster. However, these recovery capabilities are limited. Microsoft doesn’t protect against things like human error (someone accidentally deleting files), malicious software, or hardware failure. 

The responsibility of protecting client data is shared with the client themselves. It’s their responsibility to back up their data above and beyond Microsoft’s native recovery capabilities. Many SaaS vendors have similar limitations like this, with the remainder of the responsibility belonging to the users.

This may come as a surprise to business owners who may assume that all recovery and backup functions are an included service with their SaaS solutions.  

Effectively Protecting Your Data 

So, what can you do to ensure that your data is protected? 

SaaS providers recommend using additional third-party solutions for backups to ensure business continuity for valuable data. If your business runs on SaaS solutions for critical functions, it’s important that these are properly backed up.

CIO Solutions offers solutions specifically designed for this through our technology partner, Datto. Datto SaaS Protection works natively with the 365 platform. This tool can capture multiple backups daily of Microsoft 365 applications including Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams. This allows for granular restores directly back into 365 that go well beyond Microsoft’s native backup and restore capabilities to ensure your data is protected.  

It is important to know what you’re getting with SaaS solutions and where there are gaps for your business. Knowing this, you can implement the right tools to ensure your data is secure while benefiting from the flexibility and productivity benefits of SaaS.  

Additional Resources:  


Sean has been shaping the IT strategies of businesses across a wide range of industries and sizes for over 10 years. As a vCIO at CIO Solutions, he works with business leaders every day to create a clear IT vision, mature technology solutions, and ultimately, enhance business productivity and security through technology.

He and the rest of the Strategic Client Services team at CIO Solutions are constantly evaluating important trends in the industry and advising clients on best practices and long-term IT strategies for success.

Are you a current client of CIO Solutions? Contact your vCIO or Client Success Manager to continue the conversation! 

Not a client yet, but curious about maturing your IT? Let’s talk!