Beware a Microsoft Office 365 - OneDrive outage, what you must to do protect yourself

No cloud service is perfect, no matter what the company says. Here’s what you must do to protect yourself from breakdown of your OneDrive, SharePoint, Teams or Microsoft 365 cloud storage.

Microsoft pushes use of OneDrive to store all your documents and images.  That suits Microsoft’s strategy but isn’t necessarily a good thing for customers.  Microsoft 365 occasionally goes ‘off the air’ temporarily.  At worse, your account could be deleted with all the files gone in a puff of cloud.

You need to protect yourself against a cloud storage breakdown – temporary or permanent – Windows or Mac computers.

Everyday Backups goes into a lot more detail about backups of cloud storage and social media, with step-by-step instructions.

Sync / copy everything locally

The key to protecting from cloud storage breakdown is to sync (copy) all your cloud folders to your computer.

This protects you from many problems.  Slow or broken Internet access or problem with the cloud store itself.

You can choose to sync everything in OneDrive to your computer. If disk space is an issue, select the folders to synchronize.

Install the OneDrive app (if it’s not already there) go to Settings | Account then ‘Choose folders’.

It’s the same on Mac computers, install the OneDrive program and under Preferences you’ll find the same Account | Choose folders option.

That gives you an automatic second copy of everything in OneDrive that you can access anytime.

If the cloud connection stops, use the local copy until the cloud reappears.  When that happens, OneDrive will sync any changes back to the cloud.

SharePoint / Teams

Documents saved in SharePoint (including Teams) can also be synchronized to your computer using the same OneDrive app.

Go to OneDrive settings | Account | Add an Account then login to the Teams / SharePoint account. Finally choose the folders you want to sync to your computer.

OneDrive for Windows/Mac lets you add multiple business accounts for syncronization.

Not just a backup …

Syncronizing OneDrive/SharePoint/Teams files isn’t just backup protection. Having copies on your computer gives faster and more reliable access to those files because they’re already on your computer. Very handy, especially with large files like videos or PowerPoint.

With a slow, unreliable or non-existent Internet access, you can keep working.

File History / Time Machine

The next step protects you against accidental deletion or change of files on OneDrive.

A vital document in the cloud, it’s deleted and you need it back.  Or you want a previous version of an existing document.  OneDrive may have a copy of the deleted file or a past version, depending on which OneDrive plan you have.

Your protection is to use File History in Windows or Time Machine on a Mac.

File History is a great feature in Windows 8.1, 10 and 11.  It automatically makes a backup and keeps versions of files in the Documents, Pictures and other Libraries.

Time Machine has been in macOS for many years.

Add the OneDrive folders (the ones you synced above) to the File History protected folders.  That will give you an automatic backup and versioning of your cloud storage.

Full Backup

Having a local copy of your cloud storage lets you include those files in any full backups you do.  Yet another protection against the worst case scenario.

Everyday Backups goes into a lot more detail about backups of cloud storage and social media, with step-by-step instructions.

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