Synology Active Backup for Microsoft 365

In today’s digital era, cloud platforms like Microsoft 365 (M365) have become indispensable tools for businesses of all sizes. These platforms offer a suite of applications and services designed to enhance productivity, collaboration, and efficiency. Whether you’re a small business owner or part of a large enterprise, understanding the benefits and drawbacks of these cloud platforms is crucial. Here’s a brief overview of what makes them easy to manage.

  • Centralized Management: These platforms provide centralized admin consoles that make user management, security settings, and application control straightforward. This is particularly useful for IT administrators who need to manage multiple users and devices efficiently.
  • Seamless Collaboration: Real-time collaboration tools, along with shared document editing capabilities, enable teams to work together effortlessly, regardless of their location.
  • Scalability: These platforms can easily scale with your business. Whether you’re adding new users or expanding your storage needs,both platforms offer flexible plans that can grow with your organization.

Backup Challenges

Despite the many advantages, backing up data on these platforms can be challenging. Microsoft 365 offers built-in backup solutions, but they may not be sufficient for all businesses. Managing backups manually can be complex and time-consuming, and ensuring comprehensive coverage for all data types (emails, files, chat logs) can be daunting.
Even Microsoft recommends to use third-party backup solutions to back up your data.

We strive to keep the Services up and running; however, all online services suffer occasional disruptions and outages, and Microsoft is not liable for any disruption or loss you may suffer as a result. In the event of an outage, you may not be able to retrieve Your Content or Data that you’ve stored. We recommend that you regularly backup Your Content and Data that you store on the Services or store using Third-Party Apps and Services.

Introduction of Synology Active Backup for Microsoft 365

To address these backup challenges Synology Active Backup for Microsoft 365 offers a robust and easy to use solution for FREE with all their NAS boxes. This tool provides:

  • Automated Backup: It automatically backs up all your M365 data, including emails, contacts, calendar events, and files from OneDrive and SharePoint.
  • Centralized Management: You can manage all your backups from a single dashboard, making it easier to monitor and control your data protection strategy.
  • Flexible Restore Options: Synology Active Backup allows for flexible restore options, whether you need to recover a single file or an entire mailbox.

You can use Synology Active Backup for Microsoft 365 with your Business, Enterprise, or Education plan to protect all your sensitive data.

Installing Synology Active Backup for Microsoft 365

Installing Active Backup for Microsoft 365 is straightforward. Login to your Synology NAS and open Package Center. Search for Microsoft and you will find the right packages.

After the packages is installed you have 2 new applications.

  • Active Backup for Microsoft 365: This is the admin console where you can create backup tasks and monitor these tasks.
  • Active Backup for Microsoft 365 Portal: This is the recovery portal where administrators and users can restore their own data to the original tenant.

When you start Active Backup for Microsoft 365 for the first time you need to active it first. To do so you will be forwarded to the login page where you sign in with your Synology account. After that the package is successfully activated.

Create a backup task

After everything is setup, you can start to create a new backup task within Active Backup for Microsoft 365.

You need to choose an endpoint and a certificate password that is required to authenticate your NAS with the Microsoft server.

After that you need to log in with your M365 admin credentials, accept the permissions in M365 and at your NAS.

If everything is correct, the system will generate the Azure AD application.

After the creation was successful, you can download your personal certificate for this connection. ATTENTION: If you click back after creating the application, you will need to go through the entire process again and create another Azure AD application.

Now you can continue with the backup task creation. Give it a meaningful name and select the backup destination. If you have not already created a new shared folder you would need to create one and start-over with the whole process. Also enable the Active Backup for Microsoft 365 portal so other users except administrators can restore or export backup data by themselfs.

Select which E-Mail/User you would like to backup. In my case I have only one user. I have also deselected for demo purposes the OnDrive. otherwise the backup would have downloaded several hundred GB.

You can configure the system to automatically back up specific types of accounts and services upon creation.

For the final step just select your backup and retention policy preference.

Click done if the summary for this backup task is correct.

If you receive an error during the backup it is most likely that the volume where ou installed Active Backup for Microsoft 365 doesn’t have enough space free to start the backup. The reason for this is that nearly all Synology applications have a hardcoded limit of 10GB. That means that a minimum of 10GB must be free otherwise the apps are not working. And because I have a seperate volume just for packages that is smaller than the 10GB I received this error. The easy workaround is to resize the volume, so that you have 10GB free again.

Restore mails through the Active Backup for M365 Portal

Having a backup doesn’t guarantee that you can restore any items. To ensure you can restore data from your backup, regularly perform restore tests. For instance, to test my backup, I logged into my M365 account and deleted an email.

For the restore task you need to log into the Active Backup for Microsoft 365 portal. I haven’t made a backup of my OneDrive so in initial portal I see the message “No backup data in OneDrive”. If you want to restore an e.mail now you need to click on the circle with the 4 dots in the upper right corner to see all other Services that are available for restore.

There we choose Mail – select the Inbox and then the Mail we have recently deleted and click on restore. You could also either restore just this e-mail item, all e-mail items or the whole mail box.

For the restore policy we have also some options. In my case I choose Original folder (overwrite existing emails). This will restore the deleted mail to it’s original folder.

The restore process takes some seconds and then we can see the mail in the Inbox again.

Remove App registration from Microsoft 365

During the initial configuration of Active Backup for Microsoft 365 the app created an App registration in Azure. Unfortunately for me it created two because I used the back button. To remove the obsolete App Registration you would need to log into Azure – Manage Microsoft Entra ID – App Registrations – All applications and remove there the correct Application (client) ID.


Active Backup for Microsoft 365 is a great tool if you want to backup your Microsoft 365 account or accounts. It is easy to use and easy to setup. With the portal you can also give non-administrator users the possibility of a self-service to restore their own items. Unfortunately I cannot give any insight how this app scales in an enterprise environment. For smaller companies or startups this is a good combination of storage and backup for their M365 accounts.

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