syscloud

Introduction

With over 250 million monthly active users worldwide, Microsoft (Office) 365 remains the industry giant in cloud workspaces.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has driven thousands of businesses to migrate to a virtual office space where employees collaborated through cloud productivity apps.
Even though the freedom to WFH (work from home) saved many companies from going out of business during the pandemic, this did not come without risks. As more and more users rely on personal devices and networks for work, critical business data on the cloud have become more vulnerable than ever.

According to S&P Global Market Intelligence, more than 70% of businesses that depend on cloud productivity apps like Microsoft 365 do not have a backup solution in place. Many simply assume that their cloud providers keep a safe copy of their data, without realizing that they take no responsibility for it.

Therefore, having an Office 365 data backup is an absolute necessity for any business running on the cloud.
Choosing the right backup solution is never easy. To help you find a solution that fits your business needs, we have put together a comprehensive article that compares all the industry-leading Microsoft 365 backup solutions in the cloud backup market.

1

Market Drivers

Backing up cloud data has always been ‘the smart thing’ to do. Now, with most businesses adopting a work-from-home model, keeping a backup of your cloud data has become an absolute necessity.

Market Drivers
  • “While almost all SaaS vendors explicitly state that protecting data is the customer's responsibility, infrastructure, and operations. (I&O) leaders usually send critical data to those providers without any plan for ensuring data resiliency. Back up SaaS data or risk losing customers, partners, and employees. Stop leaving the door open to data loss, and start proactively protecting cloud data before it's too late. “- Forrester

  • COVID-19 and the shift to a WFH model have drastically increased the shift to a cloud-first model for office productivity apps. Even on-premise Microsoft Office users have migrated to Office 365 in droves with the monthly active user base surpassing 250 million in April 2020.

  • “Criminal groups are increasingly switching to COVID-19 themed lures for phishing and exploiting your consumers’ and employees’ concerns over the pandemic and the safety of their loved ones. There’s also evidence that remote working increases the risk of a successful ransomware attack significantly. This increase is due to a combination of weaker controls on home IT and a higher likelihood of users clicking on COVID-19 themed ransomware lure emails given levels of anxiety.” - KPMG

  • Microsoft 365 occasionally experiences outages. If your business runs on Microsoft 365, then even a brief data outage can impact your business productivity.

    On 28th September 2020, many users were unable to login to Microsoft 365 and other services like Microsoft Teams, Office.com, Power Platform, and Dynamics365. Many users from the US reported having trouble accessing their admin center dashboards and other services on 7th October 2020.

2

Vendors & Capabilities

In this evaluation, we compared 6 cloud data backup vendors (including SysCloud) for business productivity apps like Office 365. 

Note: We have focused only on cloud backup apps and left out vendors that back up Microsoft 365 data on-premise at customer locations or those using specialized hardware.

Vendors & Capabilities

SysCloud scored 180.03 in our evaluation and stands #1 among the vendors included in this comparison study.
We offer a comprehensive feature set and advanced data protection capabilities that are not available in other products.

Best feature:Intuitive dashboard that makes it easy to identify high-priority action items for administrators.

Major drawback: Does not send reports by email.

AvePoint scored 170.02 points in the evaluation and stands #2 among the competitors. AvePoint offers reliable backup and restores and supports a wide range of services. 

Best feature: Backup runs 4 times a day by default, where the industry standard is 3 times/day. They also have features to meet GDPR, CCPA, governance, and compliance laws.

Major drawback: AvePoint falls behind in restore features. They do not offer features like PST or Mbox export for emails and archive preview before the restore.

CloudAlly scored 145.50 and is ranked #3 in our evaluation.
CloudAlly delivers fast backup and restore speeds and offers customizable, granular backup operator roles and end-user self-service options.

Best feature: They support several cloud services like Salesforce, Dropbox, and Box apart from G Suite and Office 365, all in one account.

Major drawback: No point-in-time restore option and backup settings for organizational units.

Spanning stands #4 in comparison with a score of 128.05 Spanning gives administrators a user-level dashboard and dark web monitoring to detect stolen credentials.

Best feature: Detailed user-level dashboards available for every user.

Major drawback: Offers only 1x backup.

Afi scored an overall 124.52 in our evaluation and stands #5 among the competitors. Afi has a comprehensive and advanced feature set.

Best feature: Ransomware detection feature in the backup archives. 

Major drawback: Lack of admin control options to exclude content types and configure retention periods for users.

Backupifycame last in the rankings with a score of 108.57. Backupify offers fast data restores and easy license cost optimization options. Best feature: Provides an option to export files in encrypted format for all services.

Major drawback: No feature to detect threats in the backup archives like ransomware, phishing, and compliance violations.

3

Qualifying Criteria & Test Environment

The criteria for choosing these vendors are given below. The vendor should be:

cloud backup
i

A cloud backup provider

OneDrive
ii

Supports backup for at least OneDrive, Mail, Contacts, and SharePoint

All 4 cloud backup solutions except Afi and Backupify were installed on the same test domain with 20 users with 4 SharePoint Sites, 4 Group & Teams, OneDrive, and Exchange files with a total storage of 1.4 TB. The domain included emails, text documents, media files, spreadsheets, and native files and folders. 

Note: Afi benchmarked SysCloud and other backup products while prohibiting others from using Afi for competitive benchmarking. We chose to take the high ground and instead of stopping anyone from evaluating SysCloud, we attempted to benchmark SysCloud by relying on publicly available information on Afi and Backupify to comply with their respective terms of service.

4

Evaluation Criteria

For this evaluation, we used 13 broad performance metrics that take into consideration data management requirements that are common across a diverse set of industries.

Evaluation Criteria
performance

Following are the performance metrics we used to rank the solutions

Backup Speed

Backup Speed

First-time backup speed: The time taken to back up all the data in the domain(s) the first time after the app is installed.

Incremental backup speed: The time taken to backup incremental data on a daily basis after the first time backup is completed.

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Backup Success Rate

Backup Success Rate

The ratio of the number of successful backups to the total number ofbackups over the entire period of the evaluation.

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Restore Speed

Restore Speed

The time taken to restore a file from the backup archives.

Restore Success Rate

Restore Success Rate

The ratio of successful file restores to the total number of restoresinitiated from the backup archive.

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Advanced Archive Search Options

Advanced Archive Search Options

Available search options to locate files in the backup archive.

License Cost Optimization

License Cost Optimization

The option to delete users from Microsoft 365 to optimize license costs.

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Data Archive Location

Data Archive Location

The choice to archive data in your own or preferred country.

Data Storage Platform

Data Storage Platform

The data center in which the backup is stored.

Backup Data Insights

Backup Data Insights

The ability to provide visibility to customers as to what kind of data isbeing backed up to their archives by providing ransomware, phishing and compliance checks on the archives.

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Backup Apps Coverage

Backup Apps Coverage

The apps supported by the vendor for backup.

Information Management

Information Management

The dashboard features and customizable reports.

Backup Security

Backup Security

The security of the data archived by the backup solution.

Feature Set

Feature Set

The various features available for users to easily backup, restore,and export data within the app.

View More

5

Evaluation Results

The results of our evaluation are as shown in the table below. Each evaluation criterion is given a score and the overall score was used for the final ranking.

Evaluation Results
Feature
Maximum Score
SysCloud
AvePoint
CloudAlly
Spanning
AFI
Backupify
Backup Speed1410.191410.610.6Not availableNot available
Backup Success Rate14141413.7213.3Not availableNot available
Restore Speed80.2580.260.18Not availableNot available
Restore Success Rate8887.927.92Not availableNot available
Locating Lost Files5533243
License Cost Optimization77772.177
Data Archive Location5555555
Data Storage Platform7777770
Backup Data Insights12.695.4003.60
Backup Apps Coverage34.431.5634.434.434.434.434.4
Information Management2927.0222.0411.8313.3412.9921.63
Backup Security8888886
Feature Set484834.1736.7624.2842.5231.54
Overall Score200180.03170.02145.5128.05124.52108.57

6

Vendor Comparison

The in-depth, feature-based, product review of all 6 Microsoft 365 backup apps are given below. 

Vendor Comparison
Backup Speed

Backup Speed

We evaluated two types of backup speed benchmarks:

First-time backup speed

First-time backup speed (16794 files)

Incremental backup speed

Incremental backup speed

AvePoint performed the best with a speed of 33 mb/s followed by CloudAlly and Spanning with 25 mb/s for both first-time and incremental backups.

SysCloud came last in the ranking with a speed of 24 mb/s.

Vendors
First-time Speed (MB/s)
Score
Incremental Speed(MB/s)
Score
SysCloud246.12244.07
AvePoint338.4335.6
CloudAlly256.36254.24
Spanning256.36254.24
AFINot availableNot availableNot availableNot available
BackupifyNot availableNot availableNot availableNot available
Backup Success Rate

Backup Success Rate

We evaluated all the vendors for the backup success rates which is the ratio of the number of files backed up successfully to the total number of files that were included in the backup request. The backup success rate was calculated for both the first-time and incremental backup cycles.
SysCloud and AvePoint had 100% success rates for both first-time and incremental backup. CloudAlly scored a 98% backup success rate while Spanning scored the least with a success rate of 95%.
Large organizations or customers with large data volume may care about backup success rates as even a small percentage of missing files can have negative consequences.

Vendors
First-time Success (%)
Score
Incremental Success (%)
Score
SysCloud1008.41005.6
AvePoint1008.41005.6
CloudAlly988.23985.49
Spanning957.98955.32
AfiNot availableNot availableNot availableNot available
BackupifyNot availableNot availableNot availableNot available
Restore Speed

Restore Speed

We evaluated the time taken to restore data. In our evaluation, AvePoint stood first with a restore speed of 11mb/s followed by CloudAlly with a speed of 0.37 mb/s.

Vendors
First-time Speed (MB/s)
Score
SysCloud0.350.25
AvePoint118
CloudAlly0.370.26
Spanning0.250.18
AfiNot availableNot available
BackupifyNot availableNot available
Restore Success Rate

Restore Success Rate

Restore success rate is the ratio of successful file restores to the total number of restores initiated from the backup archive. In our evaluation, AvePoint was the only vendor that showed a 100% restore success rate other than SysCloud.

Vendors
First-time Success (%)
Score
SysCloud1008
AvePoint1008
CloudAlly997.92
Spanning987.84
AfiNot availableNot available
BackupifyNot availableNot available
Locating Lost Files

Locating Lost Files

The ease of locating files from the archives is essential for smooth and effective data restoration. 
SysCloud scored the highest followed by Afi in locating lost files, with advanced and granular search options. They are the only two vendors that provide keyword content search functionality, where users can search for keywords present in the archive content.
Spanning came last in the ranking. Spanning offers fewer search options, they only provide search by user option and keyword search in the meta description.

CategoryMaximum Score
SysCloud
AvePoint
CloudAlly
Spanning
Afi
Backupify
Search by User

1
Granular Search Filters

2
Keyword-based Content Search

2
License Cost Optimization

License Cost Optimization

Keeping track of all the users that are active or deleted from the Microsoft 365 domain is a headache, especially in large organizations. Automated suspension or deletion of users that are deleted from Microsoft 365 makes it easier for administrators to optimize and manage licensing costs. 
We evaluated the vendors based on whether they allow admins to automatically or manually remove the licenses of users who are deleted from Microsoft 365.
All the vendors except Spanning performed well in this category. Spanning does not have an option to automatically identify and suspend deleted Microsoft 365 users.

Feature
Maximum Score
SysCloud
AvePoint
CloudAlly
Spanning
AFI
Backupify
Automated User Removal - Identify suspended users and automatically remove their license while retaining their backup archives.4.9
Manual User Removal - Manually remove users based on customer requests.2.1
Total77772.177
Data Archive Location

Data Archive Location

Archiving backup data in more than one data center is crucial to keep the backup data safe. We evaluated vendors based on data archive location. Any vendor that has more than one archive location was given a full score. All the vendors scored equally in this category.

CategoryMaximum Score
SysCloud
AvePoint
CloudAlly
Spanning
Afi
Backupify
Archive Location

5
Data Storage Platform

Data Storage Platform

We have evaluated and graded each vendor based on the platform in which the data is stored. Vendors using a public cloud service like Amazon Web Services (AWS) received a higher score as it is more secure than storing data in a private cloud.
All vendors except Backupify store their backup archive in AWS.

CategoryMaximum Score
SysCloud
AvePoint
CloudAlly
Spanning
Afi
Backupify
Data Storage Platform

7
Backup Data Insights

Backup Data Insights

We evaluated all the vendors based on their ability to identify phishing and ransomware threats, the presence of sensitive data, and compliance violations. 
SysCloud scored the highest followed by AvePoint for data audits features. Apart from SysCloud, Afi is the only other vendor that provides ransomware detection features in the backup archive.
SysCloud’s Backup Data Insights feature delivers value to the customers in the following ways:
1.Identifying and alerting the customer of the ransomware files in OneDrive and generating a safe snapshot for restore before the attack.
2.Detect phishing emails in the archive and send alerts to admins with the option to delete it from the archives as well as from Exchange for all affected users.
3.Flag the presence of sensitive or compliance-related data like PCI, HIPAA, and notify users when archive data containing sensitive information is restored or exported. 

CategorySubcategoryMaximum Score
SysCloud
AvePoint
CloudAlly
Spanning
Afi
Backupify
External Threat
Ransomware

Ability to identify ransomware in the backup archives.
3.6
Phishing

Ability to identify phishing content in the backup archives.
3.6
Privacy & Compliance

Ability to identify sensitive data including PCI, HIPAA, to name a few, in the backup archives.

5.4
Backup Apps Coverage

Backup Apps Coverage

We have evaluated and graded each backup vendor based on the Microsoft 365 apps they support. We selected 7 primary apps and services that we believe are widely used in most organizations. 

Feature
Maximum Score
SysCloud
AvePoint
CloudAlly
Spanning
AFI
Backupify
Outlook8.5
OneDrive8.5
People2.9
Calendar2.9
SharePoint Online2.9
Team Sites5.8
Teams Conversations2.9
Total34.431.1534.434.434.434.434.4
Information management

Information management

Dashboard functionality and types

DashboardMaximum Score
SysCloud
AvePoint
CloudAlly
Spanning
Afi
Backupify
Backup Status

2.088
Restore Status

2.088
Export Status

2.088
Number of Items Backed Up

2.088
Total Size

2.088
Threats

2.436
Action Required

2.436
Errors

2.088
Domain-level Dashboard

2.9
User-level Dashboards

2.9

Reports & Audit Logs

CategoryMaximum Score
SysCloud
AvePoint
CloudAlly
Spanning
Afi
Backupify
Audit Logs

1.856
Configurable Reports by Email

1.972
App-level Reports

1.97
Product Security Features

Product Security Features

Security
Maximum Score
SysCloud
AvePoint
CloudAlly
Spanning
AFI
Backupify
SOC II Type 2 Audited2
Virtual Private Cloud2
AES Encryption2
TLS Security Encryption2
Total8888886
Feature set

Feature set

In this section, we have evaluated the backup and restore features offered by each vendor to make the process easier and reliable. We chose 21 important features that ensure a smooth backup and restore process along with advanced monitoring options for admins.

Backup features

Backup FeatureMaximum Score
SysCloud
AvePoint
CloudAlly
Spanning
Afi
Backupify
Multitenancy

Backup multiple domains and services in the same account.
2.88
Backup Preview

Preview the file before restoring/exporting it.
2.88
Instant Alerts for Backup Failure

Instant alerts via email/in-app messages for administrators.
2.88
3x Backup/day

Ability to backup 3 times a day and access multiple snapshots.
2.88
OU Level Backup

Set backup based on organisational units.
2.88
Content-based Inclusion/Exclusion

Filter data based on content format or file size before starting the backup.
2.592
Auto Backup New Accounts

Automatically identify and add new Microsoft 365 users to the backup.
1.728
PIT Restore

Restore a previous version of a file.
2.88
Hold Backup for Suspended Accounts

Retain the backup archive of a user deleted/suspended from Microsoft 365.
1.152
SSO Integration

Single sign-on to log into the backup app.
2.304
2 Factor Authentication

Having added security features.
1.152
Configurable Retention Periods

Configure data retention based on users, organizational units and domains.
2.592

Restore Features

Restore FeatureMaximum Score
SysCloud
AvePoint
CloudAlly
Spanning
Afi
Backupify
PST Email Export

1.872
Mbox Export for Email

1.44
Instant Download

1.44
End-user Self Service Recovery

1.44
Restore Progress

1.44
Offline Export

2.88
Nested Email Structure Preserved

1.44
Cross User Restore

1.44
Restore to Separate Email Label

1.008

Admin Controls

CategoryMaximum Score
SysCloud
AvePoint
CloudAlly
Spanning
Afi
Backupify
Backup Operator Role

Admins can assign a role to other users that provides access to backup/ restore data without being able to view archives.
4.8

7

Concluding Remarks

Concluding Remarks

SysCloud performed the best with advanced feature sets, admin controls, and backup protection features while AvePoint came second with high backup & restore speeds and compliance protection options.

All the other apps fell short because they had limited feature sets and lacked the flexibility demanded by the customers.

SysCloud provides a simple and intuitive user experience, with advanced data management and security features

Concluding Remarks

FREE TRIAL

For a first-hand experience, you can simply start a free trial for 30 days. To learn more about SysCloud visit our website or contact sales.