Bob Milliken
Bob Milliken

Last week I introduced you to Microsoft’s Office 356 and all of the reasons why it might be a good fit for your business. Let’s be honest, Office 365 is a good solution, however, and as good as it may seem, it does come with some drawbacks.  But first, to the good points …

Office 365 is easy to setup and manage. With Office 365 you can literally take your office with you and work from any device wherever you have an Internet connection. Like its desktop counterpart, Office 365 gives you all of the tools you need to brand your business and look professional, and because you are already familiar with office, there’s little new to learn.

Office 365 comes with 1Tb (1 terabyte is the same as 2 x 500 GB hard drives) of cloud based storage, called OneDrive – a cloud based file storage synchronization and sharing service. While this is a great feature, it is also a huge problem for Canadian businesses as your data is stored in Microsoft US based servers – and that just isn’t workable for some of us (I am told that this will change in early 2016).  Regardless, there are other, much better services for File storage synchronization and sharing available that will solve this problem and let you continue to use the other highly useful functionality of Office 365.

Moreover, the ability to share and work with documents in the cloud from anywhere with an Internet connection makes it tempting to think of OneDrive (other similar service) as the perfect solution to putting an end to information silos, data backup, data sharing through email or USB sticks (shudder), or file version chaos, and you are not mistaken for making this assumption. But if you think that OneDrive could be a replacement for enterprise endpoint backup, you may want to rethink that scenario.

File sharing isn’t the same as endpoint backup. OneDrive (and the others) are cloud storage services where users can sync and save files, and access them later from any device with a web browser. Endpoint backup, on the other hand, allows users to recover from any adverse event—device failure, malware attack, theft, file loss—by providing access to previous versions of documents.  OneDrive may look like a good backup solution, but it is far from being equivalent to an enterprise endpoint backup.

In the end, no one expects to need to restore lost files—and no one wants to think about the day that they will have to—but the need for true endpoint backup is real.

Office 365 could be a great good solution for your small business. But don’t confuse it with an enterprise backup strategy.

Bob Milliken is the president of Cascadia Systems Group. Connect with Bob at, or give us a call – 604.270.1730. Your comments are appreciated –