It’s not just cybersecurity experts who know about Microsoft. In a world of mammoth tech organizations, Microsoft is a major player. recently referred to Microsoft as the “most enduring tech superstar.” Microsoft has a wide range of products and services beyond its flagship Windows operating system, such as the cloud computing platform Azure and the popular video conferencing app, Teams. Teams was instrumental in launching Microsoft into new market territory when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and suddenly, all meetings were moved online.

Not all is as it seems with Microsoft, however. Our team of Nashville cybersecurity experts felt that it was time to share some Microsoft misconceptions that your organization may have potentially fallen for.

End User License Agreement Shortcomings

When it comes to software and technology, we often assume that our data is safely backed up and recoverable. However, Microsoft’s end user license agreement raises some important concerns regarding the protection of our personal information. Unfortunately, in the event of an intrusion, hardware issue, or accidental data loss, Microsoft does not provide any sort of backup or data recovery system for its users.

Users need to take matters into their own hands and regularly back up their important files to prevent any potential loss of information. Fortunately, by partnering with the right Managed Services Provider (MSP), who will proactively take the necessary steps to protect your data, you can rest assured that your important information will remain safe and secure no matter what happens.

Back-up Server for On-Premises Servers

Microsoft has made it possible for on-premises server users to access a cloud-based backup service through Azure. Instead of relying on providers like Shadow Protect or Veeam for on-premises backups, users can opt for the relatively inexpensive Azure backup service. This service allows for easy backup of on-premises servers, without the need for complex provider setups.

However, it’s important to note that if your on-premises server goes down, and you need to use the Azure backup, you cannot restore it to the on-premises server, you must use it within the Azure infrastructure. Which can add up. For example, if you’re using Microsoft Windows as the server, and you happen to have a SQL database, that could easily end up costing $500 to $700 or more per month to bring that server online.

The Transition from Exchange to Microsoft 365

When transitioning customers from Exchange to Office 365, it’s important to note the unique caveat in Microsoft’s licensing policy regarding shared mailboxes. Shared mailboxes provide a great way to archive old users needed for compliance without incurring licensing costs. However, it’s crucial to limit access to these critical mailboxes to ensure security.

One company downsized, and instead of quoting an Exchange Server for 250 users, they migrated 70 licensed users to Office 365 while keeping all other data in shared mailboxes. With 180 shared mailboxes, this approach saved them from local and cloud storage costs for all that email. It’s a smart and cost-effective solution that should be considered for similar scenarios. By taking advantage of shared mailboxes, companies can keep their old data while avoiding licensing and storage expenses.

Azure Hosting Considerations

When it comes to hosting servers in Azure, it’s important to not only rely on the Office 365 cloud for backups. In the case of a breach where an intruder gains access to your servers, they could potentially also have access to your backups if they are stored within the same cloud. It may not always be at the forefront of our minds, but breaches at an admin level do happen. We’ve seen it firsthand.

In a network that we were not managing, an intruder had access to the Office 365 cloud for six months before deleting both the server backups and encrypting the accounting server. If the backup had been stored outside of the Azure Cloud, it could have been easily recovered. It’s important to consider all possible scenarios and take measures to protect our data.

Fill the Microsoft Gaps and Stay Protected with Tech Squared

Don’t get us wrong. Microsoft is a fantastic product and tool, even with these nuances. But getting caught unaware can be an unpleasant (and costly) surprise for any organization.

All the more reason to partner with a managed IT services provider in Nashville like Tech Squared, who brings the expertise to navigate all the subtleties of the various products and tools that an organization uses in the pursuit of streamlined efficiency.

Book a consultation today and let’s discuss how our expertise can best support your organizational security and growth.