Technology

How To Backup Office 365 Calendar: Manual vs Cloud Backup

If you found yourself here, then most probably you are looking for a way to backup Office 365 calendar. This is a right thing to do since many organizations rely on Microsoft Office 365 functionality during their business processes. One of these useful features is the calendar. Employees are scheduling their meetings with customers or team members, appointments and marking their work time. But what if your colleague accidentally deletes the entire recurring series of meetings or a Microsoft outage resulted in Office 365 data loss? Such incidents can slow down or even destroy the external and internal communication for some time, so it is good to know how to protect yourself from it.

Basically, there are two ways to backup Office 365 calendar: using native Microsoft solutions or via third party cloud backup solution. While implementation of separate cloud backup is always a good idea, it is also good to understand how to do it manually and what are the limitations of an Office 365 in-built restoring system. 

Export Calendar items from Outlook in Windows

Open your Outlook application and choose the account that you want to backup (in case if you have multiple accounts). Choose the File section, then Open & Export and then select Import/Export. Now you should see the Import and Export Wizard window that offers you several options. You need to select Export to a file and then click Next. Choose Outlook Data File (.pst) on the following screen. After that, you need to select a folder to export data from, so select Calendar (you can expand it and select a specific calendar item). The following screen will offer you to change the default location to save the information in the PST file and decide how to handle duplicate files. Finally, .pst file is created, and now you can transfer it to another PC, save it on Dropbox or Google Drive or store it on an external hardware.

As you can see, this process is quite simple, although it has some uncomfortable limitations:

  • This is a manual process so if you’d like to rely on the native Microsoft export functionality, you have to do backup regularly by yourself. Microsoft doesn’t have any automated solutions for that.
  • Calendar data exported to a .pst file still remains vulnerable to data theft, accidental deletion or hardware corruption. There’s no encryption to this file, and you need to take care about data storing. 
  • The data stored in the .pst file may be inaccurate or outdated because native Microsoft 365 backup features do not save the structure and hierarchy of the exported data. Such documents are mostly great for litigation hold, but it is almost useless for granular recovery of specific calendar items.

Cloud backup of the Office 365 calendar

If you look for a more functional and reliable solution, you may want to rely your Office 365 data on third party backup tools. Such software has a wide range of features and it is designed for fast and comfortable recovery. The main benefits of it are the following:

  • Version management. Whenever you need to restore a specific meeting from the series in order to find some attachments in it, the backup tool should have a version management functionality. The unlimited cloud storage size and automated backup should help you to recover events from any point in time.
  • Cross-user functionality. In case you need to restore a calendar event to another user or export your employee’s data to your own storage.
  • Regulatory policies. Make sure that your potential cloud backup service is safe, secured and compliant. As far as your organization should follow different policies like GDPR, HIPAA or any other local regulatory laws, you may want to double-check how the calendar data is encrypted and who has access to it.
  • Ransomware and malware protection. The safest cloud backup service should be able to restore encrypted or lost data from any point-in-time in a few minutes.

This is what you should look for when you are looking for a reliable backup solution. It will help you to keep business processes uninterrupted and make sure that you are aware of how your data is stored and where at any moment.

While Microsoft provides only archaic manual methods of backing up Office 365 calendar via exporting everything in a .pst  file without saving internal structure and hierarchy, a comprehensive backup tool gives much more safety and takes more responsibility regardless of your Office 365 data security. It is good to know how to use manual Microsoft tools as well in case of any possible inconvenience and, at the same time, third party’s backup relieves too much stress by offering very comfortable and practical solutions.

So don’t hesitate to take a closer look at how exactly your calendar is stored right now, who can edit it and which employees have more prioritized appointments in order to have a better understanding of what kind of service or how much cloud storage space you need. It will definitely help you find an appropriate solution for your Office 365 calendar backup.

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