BDO New Zealand Achieves Flexible Microsoft Office 365 – SharePoint Online Backup with AvePoint Online Services

Success Highlights

Automatically scheduled incremental and platform level SharePoint Online backups
Granularly restored important employee resources at the item, list, library, and site level for more than 870 users
Stored backup data according to organizational retention policies with the ability to easily configure backup settings
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Customer Location Auckland, New Zealand

Industry Professional Services

Platform Microsoft 365,SharePoint Online

Critical Needs

  • Flexible backup capabilities
  • Ability to perform point in time restores
  • Retain backups in archives in compliance with legal requirements

The Challenge

An accounting firm with more than 870 employees, BDO New Zealand looked to the Microsoft Cloud as a scalable collaboration platform for its end users. To optimise its SharePoint Online intranet for business operations, IT created 11 site collections – one for each member firm. IT also set up industry-specific team sites and site collections for each of the organisaton’s specialties: advisory, tax, and audit. While its SharePoint Online portal includes components for productivity such as Yammer integration, document templates, and workflows, it wasn’t always smooth sailing for the IT team.

During migration, a corrupt site template was accidentally deployed in BDO New Zealand’s production environment – essentially deleting all of the content the company already migrated to SharePoint Online. “Unfortunately, we could not recover any of that data because there was no content backup for Microsoft to retrieve,” said James Dickinson, Chief Information Officer at BDO New Zealand. “It wasn’t a catastrophe since our users weren’t yet working in the environment, but it opened our eyes to the necessity of a disaster recovery plan.”

With vital employee resources, training documents, and team sites living in its environment, BDO New Zealand began looking for a third-party SharePoint Online backup solution that would give IT more control than Microsoft offers natively.

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AvePoint Online Services ensures there is no potential to lose any of our SharePoint Online data in the future.
James Dickinson
Chief Information Officer, BDO New Zealand

The AvePoint Solution

To meet its SharePoint Online backup needs, BDO New Zealand implemented AvePoint Online Services (AOS), a fully-hosted Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution for Office 365 management. “We evaluated a couple of solutions that would meet our needs,” Dickinson said. “In choosing AOS, we not only gained more flexible control over our SharePoint Online backup. We also gained a true business partner in AvePoint. The team did everything they could to make sure we were taken care of every step of the way.”

Out of the box, SharePoint Online automatically takes backups every 12 hours and retains them for just 14 days. With AvePoint Online Services, BDO New Zealand has the ability to automatically schedule both incremental and platform-level backups of its SharePoint Online content, ensuring no data is ever lost. “Within an hour of implementation, we ran a site backup,” Dickinson said. “AOS is easy to use and very intuitive.”

In addition to customising its backup schedule, BDO New Zealand also gained the ability to granularly restore lost or deleted content. Where Microsoft natively allows for data restores at the site collection level, AvePoint Online Services supports data recovery at the item level – ensuring no work completed after the recovery point objective is lost. “It’s great to be able to granularly restore at the site, library, list, and list item level,” said Alexander Bondin, System Administrator at BDO New Zealand. “Out of the box, SharePoint Online backup comes with a lot of limitations. With AOS, we can achieve a much higher level of granularity through functions like filter policy and incremental backups.”

While the organisation is still getting more employees ramped up on SharePoint Online, it has the option to invite external users to collaborate in certain workspaces in the portal. If they do choose to incorporate external users, BDO New Zealand is then subject to government legislation. With AOS' backup capabilities, IT can configure backups to be archived according to organisational and legal needs. Ultimately, this will demonstrate compliance with government-mandated retention policies. “Our investment in AvePoint Online Services is extensible across this secondary use case,” Dickinson said. “If we open our portal to external users, we will be responsible for recording a 10-year history for certain document types. Having this information archived through AOS backups will help us in case of an audit.”

As BDO New Zealand’s business grows, SharePoint Online will scale to grow with it, and AvePoint Online Services' backup capabilities provide peace of mind that it will never have to worry about data loss. “After the critical data loss we experienced when first deploying SharePoint Online, we knew we needed an ‘insurance policy’ to protect our data,” Dickinson said. “AOS ensures there is no potential to lose any of our SharePoint Online data in the future.”

The Road Ahead

When Microsoft’s native SharePoint Online backup and restore capabilities were not enough to recover data lost during initial deployment, BDO New Zealand turned to AvePoint Online Services' data protection capabilities. The organisation’s IT team ensures they always have access to business content in the cloud because of AOS' automatic backup and granular restore capabilities. “Where Microsoft gives us a ‘framework’ backup, AvePoint Online Services ensures our content is backed up and always available,” Dickinson said. “If, for whatever reason, a tenant became corrupt, we now have the ability to spin a new one up and populate it with content from our backup – meaning no business disruption and no data lost.”

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