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In SharePoint on premises, we could backup and restore at will.

It was common to schedule nightly full backups, and differential backups more frequently. We could restore wherever we wanted.

With SharePoint Online, backups are scheduled every 12 hours, and only stored for 14 days. (My recommendation is 30 days.) To restore a site collection, a service call must be placed to Microsoft technical support. The only supported restore option is a full site collection restore. The restore uses the same URL, so you will loose all the data that is currently hosted at that URL.

These facts are deal breakers for my corporation to move to SharePoint Online. There is no way I could sell backups every 12 hours, and loss of data upon restore.

What is Microsoft doing to remedy this glaring issue?

Are there any third-party tools that will allow for much more frequent differential (and full) backups, and with choice of which URL we restore to?

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    These are some of the things you give up moving to a hosted environment, it isn't for everyone, which is why hybrid is so popular. Critical data and process remains on prem where basic collaboration is moved to the cloud. – Eric Alexander Feb 9 '15 at 14:38
  • I'm using DocAve Online by AvePoint as our backup and restore solution. – Susan Anspaugh Feb 23 '15 at 1:08
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To my knowledge, Microsoft isn't doing anything to implement custom backup operations. But you never know with Microsoft, especially with its new CEO Satya Nadella who has proven to be a true leader.

The only option today is to use a third party tool of your choice. There are several to chose from, and they use the same access: Office 365 REST API. Another option would be to build a backup tool yourself, if you find the resources.

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