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How to Secure and Recover Office 365 Data (Case Study)

Case Study – Welnet

The Challenge

Welnet knew they had to re-examine their Office 365 backup offering as people started to work from home in record numbers.

“COVID-19 came around the corner and, like everyone else, we saw an enormous switch to Microsoft Teams,” said Casper Lammertink, Director, Welnet. “We saw people dropping documents and data in there and also started adopting the features and technology automatically within Teams. This could have posed issues with data security based on [how we were set up with our previous vendor].”

As one of the leading Dutch MSPs, Welnet knew their clients’ expectation was to have their data protected at all times.

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“Our customers see themselves as paying for a SaaS solution and everything around Office 365 is taken care of,” said Lammertink. “If the MSP doesn’t step up and make it clear that it isn’t all sunshine, they will assume they are covered by Microsoft when they aren’t.”

After careful consideration, Welnet decided to switch from Datto/Backupify to AvePoint Cloud Backup so they could provide their clients the most comprehensive backup coverage possible for Microsoft Teams and the Office 365 stack.

“The main reason we switched Office 365 backup vendors was because we saw the growth of Microsoft Teams and needed to determine how we were going to cover our customer’s data,” said Lammertink. “Things like private channels, Planner, SharePoint metadata/security settings are important and we saw there was a gap between Datto/Backupify and other products.”

Getting a customer back up and running quickly in the event of a larger data loss event was also a primary consideration.

“When restoring a larger amount of data, in a case like a disaster recovery or other scenario, you need more steps than normal for recovery with a lot of Office 365 backup solutions,” said Lammertink. “That means it doesn’t take you a few hours, it takes you a few days. That’s not the quality our customers expect from us.”

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Welnet also wanted a vendor that could integrate with their backup monitoring solution Backup Radar and that has multi-layer security permissions for the customer and the engineers.

“The former supplier could not keep up with the developments that Welnet expected on this level,” said Lammertink. “This made centralized management and security control much more difficult.”

The AvePoint Solution

Welnet evaluated about 5 different Office 365 Backup Solutions from vendors such as Veeam, Acronis, and Solarwinds.

“AvePoint Cloud Backup was the product that gave us the most coverage,” said Lammertink. “We did some investigation and we selected AvePoint, even though it wasn’t the least expensive option, because it was the most complete solution. It is what our customers and engineers expected of us, so we made that step.”

“Avepoint is a well-known player in Office 365 solutions in the enterprise market for a long time. However, it is not as well known in the SMB and MSP market. You can say we searched from another perspective in our journey to the AvePoint solution,” said Lammertink.

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Welnet was also attracted to some of Cloud Backup’s advanced features including AVA, the Microsoft Teams chatbot for end user self-service data restores.

“At first when the AVA chatbot was shown to me it seemed like a gimmick, but when you try the product and look at the reasoning along with the growth of Teams it makes for a very nice feature,” said Lammertink. “It lowers the demand on the service desk.”

Cloud Backup’s support for GDPR subject access requests and the “right to be forgotten” was also an attractive feature.

“It is a nice feature and it is a selling point,” said Lammertink. “If someone says they want to be forgotten and you accidentally restore their data from your backup into production, then you have an issue because it could be exposed to the outside world.”

AvePoint’s ISO 27001 certification, Bring Your Own Key support, encryption, and other security features further distinguished the product.

“Security was an important part of the selection process because we work on a certain level and so we need to ask that of our suppliers as well,” said Lammertink.

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The Bottom Line

Welnet has begun to transition several clients onto Cloud Backup with positive results. They plan to start with 500 seats and expand from there.

They are also planning to make Cloud Backup a non-negotiable part of their Office 365 package.

“Since the start of this year we have discussed not making Office 365 backup an option anymore, but a demand from our side to the customer, because it’s what the customer expects from us,” said Lammertink.

His advice for others considering their backup strategy is to put the customer first.

“My advice would be to look at it from your customer’s perspective. If you can only restore plain data you are missing a lot of points within the Office 365 environment. Ask what is the restore time? How stable is the product? How easy is it to have a data breach?” And most important: what valuable data do you think your customers expect you to bring back? You are their trusted advisor, so connect the dots for them,” said Lammertink.

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Welnet is a managed services provider (MSP) focused on serving the Netherlands SMB market. The Welnet team prides itself on serving its customers from A to Z and providing the absolute best solutions to ensure business continuity and better control within their collaboration environments. This is reflected in its ISO 27001 certification for its strong information security processes. The Dutch MSP has about 150 customers leveraging Office 365 that range from 10 to 150 users.

Read the full case study here.

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Michael S.
Michael S.
Michael is AvePoint's former director of content and communications.


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