Backup and Recovery Policy of Microsoft Office 365 – Ultimate Guide

Written By Kumar Raj
Anuraag Singh
Approved By Anuraag Singh
Published On September 14th, 2022
Reading Time 9 Minutes Reading

Nowadays, Microsoft Office 365 is the most popular business productivity suite. Across the globe Office 365 usage has grown from 34.3% percent to 56.3 %. With the help of the Office 365 suite, users can work online, share many files or spreadsheets, work from their home or mobile devices. It is the perfect cloud solution for a business of any size.

Office 365 backup and recovery policy

But, one might be interested to know – What is Microsoft Office 365 Backup and Recovery Policy? Or How does this work? Or Does Microsoft Backup Office 365 ? Thus, in the upcoming section, we are going to discuss the backup and recovery capabilities of Office 365 and what are the options when you have lost or delete files from the Office 365 webmail account.

Know About Microsoft Office 365 Recovery and Backup Policy

From the beginning, it is important to note that MS Office 365 has built-in data security capabilities. Microsoft Online Services offers a solid service level agreement (SLA) and has a 99.9 % uptime guarantee. It covers the most common causes of application downtime such as data center outages. With an endless pool of resources, Microsoft has boasted multiple datacenters, located all around the world, hosting the network redundancy architecture. If there is a power outage at any data center, another can starts performing.

Database Availability Group (DAG) technology from Microsoft can protect the Exchange Online Mailbox data and ensures that you can access the whole data whenever you need it. In addition, the Enterprise Office 365 packages (E3 to E5) contain data loss prevention (DLP) and eDiscovery capabilities to make sure your business stays in compliance with policies and regulations. Moreover, Microsoft will provide protection from an incident that might happen at its data centers. Although it is not safe and secure from any other incidents:

  • When users have permanently deleted their Office 365 file by mistake and then, closed that application.
  • A dissatisfied employee intentionally destroyed some information that was helpful for an organization.
  • Someone who gains unauthorized access to business data or deletes files.
  • Office 365 Subscription plan expires

Office 365 Data Protection With Backup and Recovery Policy

    • Office 365 Retention Policy

retention policy

MS Office 365 leverages Exchange Online for mail, and desktop users will have the same capacities for maintaining the backup and recovery as they did with their own on-premises Exchange backup. Now, users can move to their mailboxes, look at the “Deleted Items” folder, and then, they can check the emails they want to retrieve.

  1. Check all the Deleted Items folder to display if your item is almost there;
  2. You can sort every item by their type to find all the deleted files;
  3. Choose the “Move” option to transfer it to the Inbox or any other folder.

You will not recover an item that has been permanently deleted from your Deleted Items folder. You would be able to search them in the Recoverable Items folder. Furthermore, there may be some rules for saving all the Deleted Items folder. Email messages can be saved for 30 days or many more, depending on how an administrator set up.

  • Retention Policy For Deleted Items Folder

Your all deleted items folder in Office 365 is specific to Microsoft default retention policy. It simply means that by default, the deleted items can be saved only for 30 days. But administrators can change the retention policy according to the particular account needs. Your MS Office 365 administrator can perform this by modifying the Default MRM policy.

  1. Go to the Office 365 Admin;
  2. Then, navigate to Exchange admin center;
  3. Select the compliance management from the menu bar;
  4. Go to Edit the retention policies.

An administrator can change the Default MRM policy to protect items for 7 days, or 30 days, one year, or other, depending on the company’s needs.
retention period

  • Office 365 Recoverable Items Folder

The Exchange Online admin can recover the deleted files from MS Outlook 365. One thing you have to remember is that only global administrators of Microsoft Office 365 with eDiscovery permissions may have the right to retrieve deleted items from the user’s mailboxes.

First, you should enable the eDiscovery permissions. Even with the help of these permissions, Microsoft may warn that recovered items from Exchange Online Mailbox might take a while (20 to 30 minutes), depending on how many items you are attempting to recover.

retention period
Once you have deleted a single message, it can be saved in Deleted Items folder – this is just like the Recycle Bin for MS Outlook. But what if an item is not available anymore? You will need to verify the Recoverable Items folder. However, this is a hidden folder in which all data resides after it has been eliminated from a Deleted Item folder.

  • Recoverable Items Folder Retention Policy for O365

Although there are a few things you must know about the Recoverable Items folder and how the data protection can work:

    1. You can search deleted emails in MS Outlook for 14 days by default in the Recoverable Items folder;
    2. Exchange Online administrator will increase this period of 30 days;
    3. You can save emails of Office 365 account for an unlimited period if Exchange Online administrator can enable the Litigation Hold.


  • Exchange Online Mailbox Litigation Hold

MS Office 365 data retention policy that makes it possible for an administrator to recover emails even after 30 days. This could be very beneficial when you wish to recover the important message. Litigation Hold mode will help the users of Office 365 with legal and compliance situations. But, it has proven the best way to save data permanently with the help of Office 365. If you must have Office 365 plans E3 and E4, an admin can set the retention policies to hold messages indefinitely using this mode.

recoverable items

When your account is available in Litigation Hold mode, email messages will be stored in the hidden folder known as Recoverable Items. Besides, items in the Recoverable Items folder cannot count the user’s mailbox quota. Make sure that the Recoverable Items folder has its own quota of 100GB. If the Recoverable Items folder is full, Microsoft Office will start to remove emails from this particular folder, starting with an older one. Thus, if the folder is full, hold onto your hats, you could not be able to recover your data.

You can also place a single mailbox on litigation hold or you can place all mailboxes of Office 365 on litigation hold. There are so many options that exist on Litigation Hold such as:

  1. Indefinite Hold: It means that all items will never be deleted. This is a very useful mode if you want to meet eDiscovery needs.
  2. Query-based Hold: This means that an organization can set the hold on every item based on various parameters like keywords, sender and recipient addresses, start and end dates, and message types.
  3. Time-based Hold: An admin can set the time period to save Office 365 items. The time duration of a hold will start from the date you receive or create the mailbox item.

Fill Gaps of Office 365 Policy By Opting SysTools

Still, Office 365 retention policy fails when data get deleted unknowingly or intentionally from someone else. Where SysTools fills the gaps to protect the Office 365 data. This SysTools Office 365 Mailbox Backup and Restore program helps to backup data on your local machine and recover them back to the Office 365 tenant in case of data loss.

It is designed in such a way to schedule mail backup that will automatically run in the backend. Users can also export backup emails into PST file format without any data loss using Advance filters.

Detailed Working Steps for Microsoft Office 365 Backup:

Step: 1 Download & Launch this tool on your computer, after opening select source and the destination backup platform like Office 365 & Outlook.

Step: 2 Enable all the required mailbox categories such as emails, contacts, calendars, and documents from the below list. Also, use the Date filter option for selective data backup based on a specific date range.

Step: 3 login with the account details of Admin such as Admin ID and Application ID and validate it by clicking on validate button.

Step: 4 Define the desired location on your computer for saving these resulting PST files.

Step: 5 Click on the desired Office 365 account and hit the Start backup button to initiate the backup process.

Bottom Line

Protecting your crucial data against data loss, file corruption and malicious attack are a top priority for Microsoft, and also becomes an integral part of Office 365 service. Thus, in this blog, we have discussed the backup and recovery policy of Microsoft Office 365 in detail. Else, users can opt for the above tool. It is the best solution that helps to secure Office 365 emails and other data on your hard drive without any difficulty.

Frequently Asked Queries

What is the use of DAG technology ?

Data Availability Group technology (DAG) is provided by Microsoft to protect Office 365 mailbox data. It also ensure the mailbox data is available at whole time so that it can access by the users whenever they needed it.

How many days the deleted item will be available in Exchange Online ?

According to the Microsoft default retention policy the deleted data of Office 365 will save only for 30 days. But the administrator can change the retention policy according the particular needs.

Is it possible to recover the O365 emails after 30 days ?

Yes, Office 365 administrator can recover the emails even after 30 by the data retention policy. In litigation hold mode the emails will be store in a hidden folder known as recoverable items. Which will help restore the emails after the 30 days.

can I save my mailbox item in never deleted mode ?

Yes you can protect your data by using the Indefinite Mode. In this mode the data will never deleted from your mailbox. This will also help yo to meet your eDiscovery needs.


By Kumar Raj

A versatile writer with the vast knowledge of technology helps to reduce the gap between a user and technology. Provides easy and reliable ways to resolve multiple technical issues, which users encounter in their day-to-day life.

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