How do I backup documents in SharePoint?

A question that often pops-up, once you have moved your documents to Microsoft 365, is how to backup your documents and their metadata, in case of a disaster recovery scenario.

On this page we describe what is included in the standard Microsoft 365 license and what you can do in order to increase your options the day something would happen to any of the components in your document management solution.

Microsoft 365’s built in backup and recovery

All documents accessed through MetaShare are stored in SharePoint Online. If any document or any earlier versions of a document is deleted they can easily be restored from the recycle, up to 93 days after they were deleted. Restored documents will be restored with intact version history and metadata tagging. Deleted workspaces can also be restored up to 93 days of deletion.

There are however certain components in SharePoint that are not sent to a recycle bin when they are deleted. Some examples are:

If someone accidentally deletes any of these then it could be a tedious and expensive operation to restore your environment. Therefore you might want to consider looking at a 3rd party application for backup and restore.

Things that you may want to consider

Apart from the procedure of backing up and restoring document and workspaces you might also want to consider:

  • Other Microsoft 365 and Azure functionality
    • Maybe you need to backup other thing in your Microsoft 365 than your files, maybe even Azure VM.
  • Redirected or offline restore
    • You may want to consider whether you have the need to be able to restore your data to a different location or even another online location or to your local data center.
  • Where to store the backups
    • Do you have specific requirements for where the backup files are stored, maybe you even want to store it locally or in another cloud service to have it redundant.

Third party backup applications

Below are some of the most common backup applications. Be aware that the devil is in the details when it comes to recovery, so we suggest you verify all your use-cases before selecting an application. Just because the specification says it is supported, the way it is supported may not be enough, e.g. even if the documentation says it supports restoring deleted site columns/metadata they may not support it if you don’t restore the whole site. In some applications not all column types can be restored.

  • AvePoint Cloud Backup for Office 365
    • AvePoint has by far the most complete set of backup and restore functionalities.
    • You can backup your data to a built-in storage or Amazon S3, Dropbox, FTP, Microsoft Azure Blob Storage, and SFTP.
    • Has documented support for how to backup and restore SharePoint’s taxonomy database (SharePoint’s term store).
  • Veeam Backup for Microsoft 365
    • Has a free community version for up to 5 users.
    • You can backup your data in the location of your choice, on-premises, in a hyper-scale public cloud (i.e. Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services) or with a local service provider.
    • There’s no documentation available that the application supports backing up SharePoint’s taxonomy database (SharePoint’s term store).
  • SkyKick Cloud Backup for Office 365
    • Only stores data to the default Azure data center.
    • There’s no documentation available that the application supports backing up SharePoint’s taxonomy database (SharePoint’s term store).
  • Veritas SaaS backup for Office 365
  • Carbonite Backup for Microsoft 365
    • Can currently restore teams chats only as HTML.
  • Barracuda Cloud-to-Cloud Backup

Functionality matrix

In the matrix below we have tried to summarize the capabilities of some of these different backup applications:
Backup application's functionality matrix


  1. The information on this page is based on information from the vendors’ latest documentation. As the products evolve, there might be capabilities that have changed since we compiled this information.