South African companies are embracing Office 365 to free themselves from the need to manage an Exchange email and SharePoint solution on-premise.

But the move to Office 365 could present some compliance challenges, says Byron Horn-Botha, Lead: Arcserve Southern Africa Channel and Partnerships.

“A key issue is that while Microsoft does backup Office 365 environments, this is primarily for availability, not for end-users to restore mail boxes, emails and SharePoint items. In addition, there is the risk of an account – and all the data in it – being compromised. Compliance with consumer information protection legislation often demands the protection of data in its original format – wherever it is stored and managed, the secure destruction of that data at a specified time, and the right of consumers to request the data on record relating to them,” he says.

Horn-Botha notes that to comply with data security and consumer protection legislation, the company must not only backup and secure all communications and records, but must also be able to easily search its archives and produce whatever record is requested, must retain data for the stipulated period and must destroy data at the right time. This can prove challenging for Office 365 subscribers with thousands of mailboxes in question.

For IT admins and end users, email archiving is no longer used just to reduce the amount of storage on email servers or to keep a mailbox tidy: now it must support audit, compliance and customer service. Email trails now need to be complete and unaltered, securely stored and easily searchable.

Says Horn-Botha: “Using Office 365 Exchange online, the need for data reduction is not so much of an issue anymore as users get quite a lot of capacity. However, the most affordable subscription models offer limited features which may not meet all the company’s compliance needs. Another niggle using Office 365 are the search options, with many end users complaining about the time it takes to find emails.”

Arcserve solutions for Office 365 support simple, secure and cost-effective email backup and recovery, archiving, Legal Hold, role-based access and deduplication, allowing for unaltered audit trails and supporting GDPR compliance.