Data and Access Security: What Happens if I Don’t Renew Office 365 and the Subscription Expires

Reading Time: 3 minutes
what happens if i don't renew office 365
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Many businesses ask what happens if I don’t renew my Office 365 subscription. Although Office 365 is a market leader in collaboration and productivity tools, it can compromise your data when the subscription expires.

This isn’t ideal, nor is it something businesses want to go through, as renewing the subscription is the only way to access these applications and the data on them. But what exactly does read-only mean?

We’re here to tell you how you’re compromising data and access security by not renewing your Office 365 license. In addition, we will get into the specifics of what options you’ve got left.

So with all that said, let’s start.

What Does Read-Only Mean?

Once your Office 365 license expires, you don’t lose access to Office applications. Instead, Microsoft gives you 30 days to renew the license. If you don’t do it by then, your account will enter a read-only mode for 90 days.

Read-only means you can only read data from Office applications. You cannot use Office applications to generate new data, such as creating new documents, sending emails, or making changes. During the 90 days, you will be locked out of your account. Only administrators can access data, meaning new or existing employees won’t be able to access their accounts and applications.

After the 90-day period, Microsoft removes all accounts from its services. So if you’re a functioning business that relies on Office applications, you don’t want to enter the 90-day period.

You cannot create new data, and Microsoft will delete all of your data after the 90-days. Not even a global or billing administrator can retrieve lost data. It’s gone forever. With this, you’re compromising vital data.

What To Do If Your Office 365 Subscription Expires?

When your Office subscription expires, you enter the 30-day grace period. Then, until the 90-day period ends, you have two options. The first option is to renew your license. This returns everything to normal, and users get access to Office files and apps, and you can create new accounts.

The second option is not to renew. Depending on which stage of the Office expiry you are in, you still might have time to backup important data. Remember that global or billing admins can still access data. If you’re not thinking about renewing, now is the time to backup data.

Microsoft will then start to delete data from its servers. The deletion process doesn’t happen fast; it takes time. You can ask Microsoft to speed up the deletion process within three days. This is a sensible option if your business is shutting down and you have no use for the data.

But one thing to note is that you won’t be able to retrieve the lost data. So instead, if you’re thinking of renewing your Microsoft Office license after the 90-day period, you can’t. Instead, you will start from the beginning with no data on any Office applications. This means you have to buy a new license essentially.

How You’re Compromising Data By Not Renewing Your Microsoft Office License?

Companies put a lot of emphasis on data these days. Data becomes more valuable than money, so data security should be a top priority. Letting your license reach the deprovishioned state is one way to compromise data.

Since Microsoft will begin deleting data, you run the risk of losing the data prominently. Not only does Microsoft prevent administrator access to perform backups, but you’re locked out of your account.

And if you’re thinking about renewing after the 90-day period, you won’t be able to as you’ll need to buy a new subscription. So how exactly are you compromising data? Besides the apparent deleting process Microsoft performs, you enter reduced functionality mode between the 30-day and 90-day period.

During this period, an employee cannot access their Microsoft account or MS Office applications. All your data is locked, and only administrators can access it. For employees to gain access to their accounts, you will need to enable recurring billing.

By renewing your business subscription, you gain access to all data only if you do it before the 90-day period expires. Renewing means you get access to company data and customer data. In addition, you can perform backups through the admin portal and don’t need to worry about a new subscription.

Ultimately, it works in your best interest to not allow the 30-day period to end. You want to renew your subscription to gain access to data and applications such as Outlook, SharePoint Online, Teams, etc.


So, what happens when my Office 365 subscription expires? You enter a 30-day grace period followed by a 90-day period with limited functionality. After the 90-day period ends, Microsoft will begin deleting your data, and you won’t be able to renew your subscription.

A smart move would be not to let your Office 365 subscription expire and instead renew to gain access to data and applications.