Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO

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Recently, NAKIVO Backup & Replication v9.2 was released to the masses. It has one new really important feature to note – Office 365 backup. We took a look at the NAKIVO Backup & Replication v9.2 beta release here. However, now that v9.2 is GA, we want to take a closer look at the Office 365 backup functionality. How does it work? How is it configured? In this post, we will look at how to backup Office 365 email with NAKIVO Backup and Replication v9.2.

Office 365 Email Backup

Backing up email in Microsoft Office 365 is extremely important. Often, among backup vendors, you may find the emphasis being placed more so on backing up OneDrive where file storage resides.

However, it is easy to forget that email is still the primary communication channel for most businesses today both internally and externally. So, imagine a situation where you Office 365 email is down. How well would your business function? Would communication be hindered? Most likely, if you make use of email as a primary communication platform, your business continuity will be adversely affected.

Backing up email will ensure that if an end user unintentionally deletes messages from their inbox, or maybe even all the messages in their inbox, you have a copy of their email data stored safely away in your backup repository.

On-premises and Office 365 Email Backups with NAKIVO

One of the great things about the NAKIVO solution is that you can consolidate both the on-premises backups of virtualized environments and physical servers/workstations with the backup of your Office 365 email under the umbrella of one solution.

This means you don’t have to juggle multiple solutions, interfaces, skill sets, and logins to cover the bases of protecting your data as it exists in today’s hybrid environments.

The-combined-NAKIVO-appliance-contains-both-on-premises-backup-and-Office-365-email-backup-functionality Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
The combined NAKIVO appliance contains both on-premises backup and Office 365 email backup functionality

The NAKIVO solution is one of the easiest data protection solutions to stand up. Literally, using the virtual appliance download, you can have a backup appliance up and running in minutes, and start creating your backup jobs. Now, with the addition of Office 365 Exchange Online email backup, the same is true with protecting your Office 365 user accounts and the associated email inboxes. Again, all of this functionality is accomplished with the download of a single virtual appliance.

Configuring NAKIVO to Backup Office 365 Email

Let’s now get our hands dirty and dive into configuring NAKIVO to backup Office 365 email. In the walk through below, I will be using the VMware vSphere virtual appliance download of NAKIVO Backup & Replication v9.2 to configure Office 365 email backup.

There are two parts to getting the configuration up and running for NAKIVO to backup your Office 365 email. This includes:

  • NAKIVO Backup & Replication v9.2 configuration
  • Configuration of API application in Azure
  • Configuration of API application permissions

First of all, let’s take a look at the configuration of Office 365 email backup in NAKIVO. The first thing we need to do is actually add the Office 365 environment to our NAKIVO appliance inventory. To start this process, click the “settings cog” in the upper right-hand corner of the interface > click Inventory > Microsoft Office 365 account.

Adding-Microsoft-Office-365-account-to-NAKIVO Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Adding Microsoft Office 365 account to NAKIVO

This launches the Add New Microsoft Office 365 Account wizard. Here you have information specific to your environment that needs to be filled in. This includes:

  • Tenant ID
  • Azure Client ID
  • Azure Client Secret

This information is information we need to get from the Azure portal. What I did was just left my NAKIVO screen up and open at this step. The steps needed to complete the configuration on the Azure size amount to about 5 minutes worth of work as long as you have the permissions to your Azure Active Directory backing the Office 365 environment.

Adding-the-client-and-tenant-details-from-Azure-for-Office-365-email-backup-with-NAKIVO Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Adding the client and tenant details from Azure for Office 365 email backup with NAKIVO

Configuring Azure Active Directory for NAKIVO API access

There is a bit of manual work that needs to be accomplished when getting your Azure Active Directory configured so that NAKIVO can access Office 365 at the API layer.

Click the App registrations blade under the Manage group. Then click Register an application.

Register-an-application-in-Azure-Active-Directory Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Register an application in Azure Active Directory

Name the application and select who can use this application or access this API. In their documentation, NAKIVO shows the Accounts in any organizational directory (Any Azure AD directory – Multitenant) and personal Microsoft accounts (e.g. Skype, Xbox) selected. Then click the Register button.

Naming-the-new-Azure-application-to-register-with-Azure-AD Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Naming the new Azure application to register with Azure AD

Once you have registered the new application, you will be taken back out to the Overview screen showing the client ID and the tenant ID. As you saw above, this is 2 out of the 3 pieces of information needed to connect NAKIVO to Azure Active Directory.

Tenant-and-client-ID-are-displayed-after-creating-the-new-application Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Tenant and client ID are displayed after creating the new application

Next, we need to give the API application the permissions needed. Click API permissions > Add a permission.

Adding-API-permissions-to-the-new-application Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Adding API permissions to the new application

Select Microsoft APIs > Microsoft Graph.

Choose-Microsoft-Graph-to-add-permissions Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Choose Microsoft Graph to add permissions

Select Application permissions as our application will run as a background service or daemon without a signed-in user.

Choose-application-permissions Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Choose application permissions

As documented by NAKIVO, the permissions needed include:

  • Mail – Mail.ReadWrite
  • User – User.Read.All
Adding-mail-permissons-for-the-new-NAKIVO-API-application Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Adding mail permissons for the new NAKIVO API application

You can add both in the same screen before you click the Add permissions button.

Adding-user-permissions-for-the-new-NAKIVO-API-application Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Adding user permissions for the new NAKIVO API application

Next, we need to Grant admin consent for the additional permissions. Click the button.

Grand-admin-consent-to-accept-the-newly-added-permissions-for-the-API Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Grand admin consent to accept the newly added permissions for the API

After clicking the Admin consent button, you should see the Granted

Admin-consent-granted-for-new-permissions-added Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Admin consent granted for new permissions added

Now that the new API application is added and permissions have been assigned and granted, we need to create a new secret key for use in connecting NAKIVO to the Azure Active Directory environment.

To do this, click the Certificates & secrets button and then click the New client secret.

Create-a-new-API-applciation-secret-password-for-authentication Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Create a new API applciation secret password for authentication

On this screen, simply enter a description and a term length for the client secret.

Add-a-description-and-select-a-term-length Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Add a description and select a term length

Copy the secret value you see generated on the screen. As directed, this will be the only time it is displayed where you can see/copy it, so make sure you record this in a safe place.

Copy-the-new-client-secret-created-in-Azure-Active-Directory Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Copy the new client secret created in Azure Active Directory

Finishing NAKIVO Office 365 Account Configuration

Now that we have completed the steps listed above in Azure Active Directory that is backing the Office 365 environment, we can finish out the configuration in NAKIVO. All three pieces of information that we provisioned in the steps above will be plugged into the NAKIVO wizard.

Enter-information-from-the-Azure-Active-Directory-API-application-into-NAKIVO Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Enter information from the Azure Active Directory API application into NAKIVO
Office-365-users-will-be-displayed-after-connected-NAKIVO-to-Office-365 Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Office 365 users will be displayed after connected NAKIVO to Office 365

NAKIVO Office 365 Repository

After you have connected your NAKIVO Backup & Replication v9.2 appliance to Office 365, you will no doubt want to create a backup job as soon as you can.

If you notice that creating a new backup job is greyed out, it could be due to the type of repository you have configured with NAKIVO when initially deploying the appliance.

Some notes from NAKIVO about the Office 365 repository:

Microsoft Office 365: Select this repository type for Microsoft Office 365 related activities. Advanced options aren’t available for this repository type.

Important

  • A remote Transporter assigned to the Microsoft Office 365 repository must be installed/updated manually otherwise this type of repository will be unavailable. 
  • For Microsoft Office 365 repositories only local folders are supported as a location. 

Creating an Office 365 Email Backup Job

Select the source Office 365 mailbox for backing up in NAKIVO. Creating the Office 365 backup job in NAKIVO will feel very familiar to those who are already used to using NAKIVO for VM backups. It is great to see they stuck with their normal workflow as this will be intuitive and familiar across the board – either for VMs or Office 365.

First, select your source mail box. If you want to simply backup everything, select the global tree node (this will be named whatever you named your Office 365 backup environment. If you select this node, any additional mailboxes added to the environment will automatically be added to the backup.

Select-the-source-Office-365-mailbox-for-backing-up-in-NAKIVO Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Select the source Office 365 mailbox for backing up in NAKIVO

Select the Destination which will be the Office 365 type repository you have configured in NAKIVO.

Select-the-destination-repository-for-the-Office-365-email-backup Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Select the destination repository for the Office 365 email backup

Choose the backup schedule.

Configure-the-schedule-for-the-Office-365-email-backup-job Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Configure the schedule for the Office 365 email backup job

Configure your retention policy.

Configure-retention-policy-for-Office-365-email-backup-in-NAKIVO Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Configure retention policy for Office 365 email backup in NAKIVO

Set the job options and then finish out creating the job/run the job as well.

Configuring-Office-365-NAKIVO-backup-job-options Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Configuring Office 365 NAKIVO backup job options

Recover Office 365 Email with NAKIVO

After you have created the Office 365 backup job in NAKIVO and have at least one successful backup run, you can now recover Office 365 email items. Let’s look at this workflow.

Once you kick off a recovery process on your Office 365 email in NAKIVO Backup & Replication v9.2, you will get the normal workflow that you are accustomed to with virtual machines using NAKIVO.

The first part of the process is to select the backup job that contains the data you want to restore as well as the restore point you want to use.

Select-the-source-Office-365-backup-job Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Select the source Office 365 backup job

Next, select the Recovery Account from the drop down.

Select-the-recovery-account Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Select the recovery account

In the 3. Objects step, select the exact objects you want to recover. This could be all emails, or only a specific email as shown below.

Select-the-Office-365-email-objects-to-restore Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Select the Office 365 email objects to restore

In the 4. Options step, you can see that you have the option to recover Office 365 email items to a different mailbox than the source mailbox. This is a great feature for migration purposes if you want to migrate email from one inbox to another.

Click the Recover button to begin the recovery process.

Office-365-email-recovery-options Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Office 365 email recovery options

The next screen simply states the recovery process has started. You can monitor the progress in the Activities screen in the NAKIVO console.

Recover-Office-365-email-operation-starts Backup Office 365 Email with NAKIVO
Recover Office 365 email operation starts

Wrapping Up

It is great to see NAKIVO Backup & Replication add the Office 365 backup functionality to their already solid product that is gaining popularity in the enterprise backup market.

With NAKIVO Backup & Replication v9.2, you can backup Exchange Online email. As shown, there is a small bit of configuration that needs to be done on the Azure Active Directory side of things to get the API application configured for NAKIVO to communicate. Keep in mind the need as well for the Office 365 repository type.

Once this is in place, you can quickly get an Office 365 backup job configured and email data backed up quickly. Recovery is a breeze as well with the similar workflow that you have when restoring a virtual machine.

Download a fully-featured trial version of NAKIVO Backup & Replication v9.2 here.

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