The Files Restore feature is currently arriving for some Office 365 subscribers that have elected to receive "targeted" product updates. It'll get delivered to all Office 365 tenancies by the end of next month, Microsoft promised.
IT pros can use Files Restore to bring a SharePoint document library back to a past state within a 30-day time span. A particular date can be selected for when to go back, or there's a slider that'll move the document library's state back in increments of days. The Files Restore feature can be used in cases when files get inadvertently deleted by end users or when files got corrupted, or even after a malware attack, Microsoft's announcement suggested.
The SharePoint document library is a common element of other Office 365 applications, and so the Files Restore feature also protects shared files in "Teams, Outlook groups and Yammer groups connected to Office 365 groups and uses the same recovery capabilities that protect your individual files in OneDrive for Business."
OneDrive for Business apparently was the first Office 365 application to get the Files Restore feature as it was rolled out back in January. Files Restore for OneDrive for Business can be controlled by end users. However, Files Restore for SharePoint was just described as being controllable by "administrators and site owners."
There may be occasions when organizations using SharePoint Online will need to restore data from an earlier period than just the 30-day period, and that's when backup and restore will be needed. It was one of the topics fielded in this April 26 talk on "The Intrazone," a Microsoft podcast that focuses on SharePoint topics.
During the Intrazone talk, senior SharePoint product managers Mark Kashman and Chris McNulty interviewed Matthew McDermott on SharePoint backup and restore. McDermott is a principal technical marketing engineer at Spanning Cloud Apps and a Microsoft MVP known for his SharePoint search expertise. Spanning Cloud Apps offers cloud-to-cloud backup solutions for Office 365, Google G Suite and Salesforce.com services.
McDermott explained that Office 365 will perform a "soft delete" of user data when an employee's Office 365 account has been ended. The user account can be "rehydrated," but after 32 days the data gets deleted. Spanning Cloud Apps offers a service that allows the data to be restored beyond that 32-day period. The service also offers restore protection that goes beyond the standard 93 days of the SharePoint Recycle Bin's file retention period. The company can also restore account data across users, which might be done when a new employee takes over a previous employee's work.
McDermott also talked about SharePoint search. He noted that there's a distinction between the search and discovery processes in SharePoint, and described Microsoft Delve as being useful for enhancing the discovery aspect. Despite artificial intelligence being used to enhance search in SharePoint, McDermott still favors the use of metadata tagging by end users as being a good practice to bolster search results in SharePoint. He downplayed relying on the use of SharePoint's default metadata tags by end users as all documents will tend to get the same tags. Good practices to improve search include properly titling SharePoint documents, using version control for documents and applying custom metadata tags, he indicated.