Not-for-Profit Foundation Recovers Microsoft Office 365 Data 92% Faster with AvePoint Online Services

Critical Needs

  • Restore lost or corrupted Exchange Online data granularly with full fidelity
  • Perform incremental and platform backups for data protection
  • Manage SharePoint Online environment without the need for on-premises infrastructure

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Success Highlights

  • Restored Office 365 – Exchange Online content granularly with full fidelity in five minutes: 92% faster than before
  • Scheduled automatic backups at the item through platform level, ensuring continuous availability of important data
  • Implemented a Software-as-a-Service solution to manage, protect, restructure, synchronize, and report on its SharePoint Online environment
quote There’s nobody else out there who does what AvePoint does to simplify Office 365 management. quote
IT Manager

The Challenge

To enable collaboration on grants, proposals, and projects for end users, a not-for-profit foundation based in the northeast United States used on-premises instances of SharePoint and Microsoft Exchange. With these environments, administrators often ran into issues managing Microsoft Exchange. “I had a backup system in place for our on-premises Exchange server, but the process was very painful,” said the foundation’s IT manager. “I couldn’t restore anything at an item level. I’d have to restore entire mailboxes, which would take up to an hour of my time. It wasn’t very helpful or efficient.”

Backups and restorations weren’t the only problem areas for the foundation. “I consistently had issues with Exchange server services,” the IT manager said. “When Microsoft automatically installed updates, the services wouldn’t start. I’d have to go in remotely and manually start them. It got to be a pain.”

In order to simplify backup, recovery, and maintenance of Exchange Server, the foundation looked to the cloud.“Our main reason for moving to Office 365 was to get rid of the Exchange Server on premises,” the IT manager said. “With SharePoint Online, our program staff also has a place to collaborate on projects, share meeting notes, and work easily offsite.” While eliminating the in-house server, Exchange Online still used the same backup capabilities as Exchange 2013 – meaning it offered no data recovery at the item level. While looking at third-party solutions, a demo of DocAve Online from AvePoint showed how easy and fast it is to restore a single email in Exchange Online.

The AvePoint Solution

To address immediate business needs, the foundation implemented AvePoint Online Services (AOS), an Azure-hosted Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution for Office 365 management. Specifically, the foundation uses AOS' Backup and Restore functionality to protect and quickly recover all content in Office 365 – including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business.

“After viewing the demo, I saw how easy it is to perform a granular restoration,” the IT manager said. “Before AvePoint Online Services, we had to create a separate container for the user’s data and restore the entire mailbox. It would take anywhere from half an hour to over an hour. Now, it only takes five minutes, and I can restore at the item level.” The foundation also houses critical data in SharePoint Online. With collaboration at the heart of the foundation’s daily operations, administrators are now equipped to quickly restore important content for end users, eliminating any disruption due to long recovery times.

The foundation also sees time-saving benefits with AOS' backup scheduling and reporting capabilities. “We now run daily backups and receive daily job reports for Exchange Online,” the IT manager said. With backups running on a scheduled basis, administrators stay informed through automated email reports that let him know jobs were completed successfully.

Having a SaaS solution for Office 365 management has proven to be a highly valuable time-saver for the foundation. “With AOS, managing Office 365 is so much easier,” the IT manager said. “There was no server installation required, and it saves me the headache of managing Exchange Online with tools hosted in house.”

Though the foundation still maintains an on-premises Windows SharePoint Server (WSS) 3.0 deployment with less than one gigabyte (GB) of data, it plans to go all-in with the cloud in the near future. With AOS, the foundation is empowered to maintain the same level of control over SharePoint Online as it would with SharePoint on-premises. When data is moved from file servers to the cloud, the foundation has AOS' full-fidelity restructuring and granular deployment capabilities available to easily customize its Office 365 architecture. “I want to make it very simple for the users to know where to go to get their files,” the IT manager said. “I don’t find it easy to map drives in Office 365 with the tools provided by Microsoft.”

In order to get its on-premises SharePoint content to the cloud, the IT team also plans to use AvePoint’s DocAve Migrator. DocAve Migrator provides an efficient, cost-effective solution for migrating business-critical content from various electronic repositories into the latest, feature-rich releases of SharePoint, including SharePoint Online. “With DocAve Migrator, I’ll be able to easily move data from our Meeting Workspaces in SharePoint to SharePoint Online containers that I can create on the fly,” the IT manager said. “It will be a much simpler process than what I envisioned and a real time saver.”

The Bottom Line

Having migrated to Office 365, the foundation eliminated challenges caused by the need to maintain its on-premises Exchange server. Now in the cloud, the foundation benefits from AvePoint Online Services' ability to go beyond Exchange Online’s native backup and recovery capabilities, decreasing recovery time from more than an hour to just five minutes – a 92 percent improvement. Not only is the foundation successfully completing faster data restoration, but it also has the ability to recover content with full fidelity through a fully cloud-based solution backed by AvePoint’s 24/7 global technical support team. “Any time I need help, AvePoint has been there, which is key,” the IT manager said. “There’s nobody else out there who does what AvePoint does to simplify Office 365 management.”