Office 365 Offline Backup? (Non-profit Client)

I’m starting a new arrangement with a local charity in the coming days, they’ve asked me to take over their ad-hoc IT needs due to various issues with their previous provider.

One of the tasks they’ve had left over is to get an offline backup sorted out for their Office 365 instance. My understanding is that they used to host Exchange and Sharepoint on-prem, with the physical server still being present but turned off (I’m getting more details on what’s actually there as I think it could be very useful for some future projects). They’ve now moved wholly to 0365 (I don’t know if that’s true for the logins to the systems themselves, I have a horrible feeling they’re local accounts only).

In an ideal world, I’d get the client to buy a Synology NAS and use the cloud backup tools to do this. However, budget is obviously quite a big issue for a charity like this. So far, they’ve bought a consume 4TB Seagate Backup Plus drive; because it comes with ‘free’ backup software.

I explained to my contact (who is also a friend) there that this probably won’t be enough as these types of drive are generally for backing up a single workstation rather than a whole O365 instance.

I’m hoping for some low-cost solutions that could potentially run on this unused server or a similar unused system to act as a backup host with the data being written to the external drive they’ve purchased.

Bonus points for open-source, but given the nature of O365 I’m going to guess that’s not likely.

Any thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Firstly, I would check that they are using Microsoft’s Charity licensing. Free E3 licenses and very reduced pricing on Office Pro.

Secondly I would let me know if you find a solution because I’m also interested!!!

Thanks! I’ll check on the Office 365 licensing, free E3 is a very nice deal from our friends in Redmond!

I’ll definitely let you know what I find.

I do a lot with Scouts and Guides and found that out a couple of years ago. Makes a real difference and means I don’t have to host the email for free for them!

Have you found a solution for them yet? I’m working with setting up a school backup for office staff, and I’m using synology (ds218) for their network share drive and backup needs.

The plan (trying out now) is to use hyper backup from synology to backup to google drive (they have service with them), but can easily use office 365 onedrive to store an encrypted vault backup of their nas data.

To protect them from ransomware or corrupt files backed up, it looks like I also have to implement snapshot of data every 3mo’s (i’m thinking). I also have versioning enabled to save the latest version daily of their data. what’s left to figure out is how many versions and when to start overwriting the earliest backup - i think it goes out for 4yrs for their <30G of data on a 1T capacity for online backup.

Still figuring out how far out to have their data backed up and also # of snapshots and frequency kept as well for ransom/corruption restoration purposes…

I’ve found some options, but they’re all pricey and need Windows Server.

Just for clarity, this isn’t a case of backing up local data to Office 365, or rather OneDrive, it’s to have a disaster recovery backup of their Officce 365 tenant on a local storage setup.

My current plan is to repurpose their old Dell PowerEdge tower as a Linux server, with Syncthing taking a one way backup from the admin’s PC with OneDrive and Sharepoint folders synced locally.

ah, ok… so the concern is to backup data AND configuration for services like sharepoint, teams, etc that go w/the current organization’s setup for office tenant?

If you want to reach out to Synology to see if they want to sponsor a project you can do that here


Thanks, Tom,

I’ve reached out to Synology, let’s see what they say. If it’s a no, then at least I tried.

My goal with this thread was to see if anyone had some great open source solution they’d found that I could run on a Linux server. Sadly, I just can’t find anything like that; the only options are really expensive subscription services that require an agent installed on an always on Windows system (Server in most cases).

My running, non Synology, idea is to have one of the staffers PCs keep all of the key Sharepoint folders synced and then use SyncThing to sync those local folders to the Linux server. This, of course, means that only the company Sharepoint document folders are really backed up.

Maybe I need to learn enough about Office 365’s APIs to figure out if someone could ever build a TrueNAS plugin to do the same thing as Synology are offering with Active Backup.

Thanks for everyone’s input.


Maybe TrueNAS Scale has a solution among the many VMs and Dockers. I do like your Syncthing idea with a TrueNAS.