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How Microsoft 365 Versioning Protects Against Ransomware

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is malicious software that encrypts your important files or folders which can then be held to ransom. Apparently this is on the rise worldwide. Once your data is encrypted you’ll have to pay for the key to decrypt it again.

The key to dealing with this situation without paying for it is obviously to have a current back up of your data, or if you have Microsoft 365 you’ll be able to access the most recent version of your files (before they were encrypted).

What is Versioning?

When you create a document using an application from the Microsoft 365 suite (for example Word or Excel), your changes are automatically saved. Each time you work on this document a new version is created with the changes you made during that session. You can then access all of those prior versions at any stage which is very helpful in all sorts of situations.

How do I access these prior versions?

If you have Microsoft 365 you will already know that you can access your data via either your computer or the online portal since your data is stored in the Cloud (online). On your local computer you will find the file via File Explorer; right-click on it and select Version History. In the web portal you’ll find the version history by clicking on the ellipsis (3 little dots) to the right of the file name.

What if my file is deleted? 

As well as your computer’s recycle bin, Microsoft 365 has a recycle bin available via the web portal which holds deleted files for 93 days. If you have MS365 for your business there is a secondary recycle bin as well, accessible by account administrators only, where it would be safe from even a disgruntled employee with their own account. The fact is that MS365 is so well protected by Microsoft that the most likely scenario for an attack is from someone to whom you have deliberately allowed to have access, and the hidden secondary recycle bin protects you from sabotage from within as well.


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