Set up Microsoft 365 Backup (Preview)


Microsoft 365 Backup (Preview) is now available worldwide in all commercial cloud environments. General availability is expected to be mid-2024. This preview feature is subject to change and limitations as defined. Before you begin, read the Microsoft 365 Backup preview terms and conditions.

Get started with Microsoft 365 Backup by following these simple three steps in the Microsoft 365 admin center.

Diagram showing the three-step setup process for Microsoft 365 Backup.

Step 1: Set up pay-as-you-go billing

Microsoft 365 Backup is a pay-as-you-go offering that charges based on consumption, unlike traditional seat-based licenses. To set up pay-as-you-go for Microsoft 365 Backup, you will need to have this information:

  • Valid Azure subscription. An Azure subscription provides a logical container for your resources. Each Azure resource is associated with only one subscription. Creating a subscription is the first step in adopting Azure. To learn more about Azure, see Azure fundamental concepts.
  • Resource group. A resource group provides a logical grouping of resources within an Azure subscription.
  • Region. The region in which you want to register the service.
  • Owner or contributor. Name of an owner or contributor role on the Azure subscription.

Once you have the information on this list, you are ready to set up pay-as-you-go billing for Microsoft 365 Backup.


You must be a SharePoint Administrator or Global Administrator to be able to access the Microsoft 365 admin center and set up Microsoft 365 Backup.


Microsoft recommends that you use roles with the fewest permissions. This helps improve security for your organization. Global Administrator is a highly privileged role that should be limited to emergency scenarios when you can't use an existing role.

Step 2: Turn on Microsoft 365 Backup

To turn on Microsoft 365 Backup, you'll need to go to the Microsoft 365 admin center.

  1. In the Microsoft 365 admin center, select Setup.

  2. Under Files and content, select Automate content processes with Syntex.

  3. On the Automate content processes with Syntex page, select Go to Syntex settings.

  4. On the Syntex page, in the left navigation, select Storage. From the list of products, select Backup Preview.

  5. By default, the feature is turned off. On the Backup panel, select Turn on to enable Microsoft 365 Backup for your organization.

  6. Review the applicable terms of service for Microsoft 365 Backup and select Confirm.

    Screenshot of the Turn on Backup panel and the Confirm button.

Step 3: Create backup policies to protect your data

Now that you have enabled Microsoft 365 Backup for your organization, follow through to create policies and start protecting your content.

  1. Go to the Microsoft 365 admin center.

  2. Select Settings.

  3. Select Microsoft 365 Backup from the list of products.

    Screenshot of the Microsoft 365 admin center panel showing Settings and Microsoft 365 Backup.

Set up backup policies for OneDrive, SharePoint, and Exchange

To use Microsoft 365 Backup for OneDrive, SharePoint, or Exchange, you need to create a backup policy for each product. A policy represents the backup plan defined by admins for protecting the Microsoft 365 data of an organization.

A policy contains details of what data (OneDrive accounts, SharePoint sites, and Exchange mailboxes) to protect. Although you see the retention period and backup frequency (which defines the restore point objective), those settings aren't currently variable or modifiable.

Select the OneDrive, SharePoint, or Exchange tab for steps to create a backup policy for that product.

Follow these steps to set up a backup policy for OneDrive accounts using Microsoft 365 Backup.

  1. Go to the Microsoft 365 admin center.

  2. Select Settings.

  3. Select Microsoft 365 Backup from the list of products.

  4. On the Microsoft 365 Backup page, in the OneDrive section, select Set up policy.

    Screenshot of the Microsoft 365 Backup page with OneDrive highlighted.

  5. On the Overview page, review the backup features for OneDrive, and then select Next.

    Screenshot of the Overview page for OneDrive.

  6. On the Protection scope page, you can set up OneDrive user accounts using any or all three ways. A protection scope is the scope of user accounts within OneDrive that you want to protect with Microsoft 365 Backup.

    Screenshot of the Protection scope page for OneDrive with the options highlighted.

    a. Under Add via search, select Choose accounts to see user accounts that can be added via search. On the Search and select accounts panel, select the accounts you want to add to the policy.

    Screenshot of the Search and select accounts panel on the Protection scope page for OneDrive.

    b. Under Add via, select Distribution lists or Security groups, or both. The distribution list and security group are flattened when added, meaning the policy won't update dynamically if the groups or distribution list are updated later.

    Screenshot of the Add via Distribution lists and Security groups on the Protection scope page for OneDrive.

    c. Under Import from file, select Upload CSV to import user account details via CSV upload.

    Screenshot of the Import from file section on the Protection scope page for OneDrive.

  7. On the Review OneDrive backup policy page, review the information to make sure it's how you want it, and then select Create policy (or Update policy if it's an update).

  8. The backup policy for OneDrive is created.

    Screenshot of the OneDrive backup policy created page.

Admin roles and backup management privileges

Only tenant-level admins can create and manage backups using Microsoft 365 Backup for their users. End users don't have the ability to enable backup or restores for their user account, distribution lists, mailboxes, or sites. It’s important to note that your admin role determines which products you can manage with Microsoft 365 Backup. In the future, we might introduce a Backup admin role that can control the entire tool.

Admin role OneDrive SharePoint Exchange
Global Administrator
SharePoint Administrator
Exchange Administrator


  • Protection units – SharePoint sites, OneDrive accounts, or Exchange Online mailboxes backed up by the Microsoft 365 Backup tool.

  • Restore point – A prior point in time from which you can restore a version of your content and metadata. If the protection unit from a prior point in time is identical to the present state of your data, then a restore from that point will have no impact on your current data.

  • RPO – Recovery point objective, or how close in time the most recent restore point is to an impacting event.

  • RTO – Recovery time objective, or how fast a restore to a prior point in time can complete.