Why G Suite Backup Has Become So Essential
G Suite has become an indispensable resource for millions of businesses. But when companies fail to back up the data in those applications, they leave their operations at risk.
While there is no built-in G Suite backup, there are simple solutions that can protect your emails, files, contacts and other data stored in Google. And as we discuss below, it’s never been more important to have that SaaS backup in place.
A brief explainer on G Suite
G Suite is a collection of SaaS-based productivity applications from Google. It’s basically all the same services that are offered to personal users, but packaged together for businesses:
- Gmail for business
- Shared calendars
- Docs (Sheets, Slides, Forms, etc.)
- Chat and video conferencing
All of these services run in the cloud, so there’s no need for businesses to install any software or build out infrastructure to accommodate all the file storage and sharing capabilities. That’s a huge cost benefit for businesses, but it also comes with an inherent risk …
The problem with SaaS
SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions like G Suite present a potential problem: your data is stored in the cloud, on the SaaS provider’s servers, leaving you with little to no control over how that data is protected.
With an application like Gmail, for example, email messages are never stored on the user’s own machine or your company server. They stay in the cloud. As such, they never get backed up in the way they might if you were using a traditional email server that’s protected by an on-site BC/DR system. So if messages ever go missing from Gmail, they can’t be retrieved from an onsite backup as other data can.
Would Google ever lose your data?
Probably not—at least not permanently.
While even Google has experienced some major data-loss incidents in the past, it’s rare for the company to ever lose a user’s data permanently. There are numerous safeguards in place to prevent such a disaster, including redundant backups across its global network of data centers.
Redundancy on steroids
Just how safe is your data in G Suite?
In a white paper explaining the security of its cloud services, the company writes:
“Google designs the components of our platform to be highly redundant. This redundancy applies to our server design, how we store data, network and Internet connectivity, and the software services themselves. This ‘redundancy of everything’ includes the handling of errors by design and creates a solution that is not dependent on a single server, data center, or network connection.”
Additionally, in the event of failure with hardware, software or networks, data is automatically shifted from one facility to another, so that availability is never disrupted.
In other words, Google’s got your back in case their systems ever do somehow compromise your data.
But Google isn’t the problem. You are.
With all due respect, you’re an accident waiting to happen. We all are.
Human error is the single greatest cause of SaaS data loss and it’s the top reason why G Suite backup is so important. Roughly 80% of businesses say they’ve lost SaaS data, according to one report. And in another survey, 47% of businesses said their SaaS data loss was due to users accidentally deleting data.
Emails, contacts, files, data within spreadsheets – it’s all at risk of being deleted, and once it’s gone, it’s typically gone for good.
Will Google save you then?
Generally speaking, no – not if the data loss is caused by the user. When a user tells the application to permanently delete data (whether intentional or not), Google deletes it from its servers as directed.
Even if Google still has that data on its own backups somewhere, you won’t have access to it except under very rare circumstances. And without your own backup for G Suite data, that data will likely never be retrieved.
More common causes of G Suite data loss
Accidental deletion is only one of several ways that companies lose data within G Suite. Other common causes include:
- Overwritten data: Users inadvertently write over data, whether it’s within certain documents like a spreadsheet or by accidentally uploading older versions of documents to replace newer ones.
- Deletion / corruption by malware or hackers: While Google has its own security mechanisms to prevent cyberattacks, your SaaS data can still be compromised by malware when the infection originates on your own systems before being uploaded to the cloud. More on this below.
- Malicious deletion: In a survey by Aberdeen Group, 7% of businesses said their SaaS data loss was caused by employees deleting it intentionally.
- Applications overwriting data: Third-party applications and extensions can easily overwrite important data when they’re not configured correctly or when they’re created by untrusted developers.
Here’s an example scenario
At organizations that rely heavily on G Suite, mishaps often occur when an employee leaves the company. For security, Google advises deleting that user’s account entirely. This leaves no chance that the former employee can access the organization’s data.
But whoops – somebody forgot to move the data from that account before it was deleted. That means all their important email messages, communications about projects, calendar items, Drive files and other data are suddenly gone.
In an ideal situation, the data would be moved to the appropriate personnel before a new employee takes over their responsibilities. But if that step is skipped and the account is deleted, you won’t be able to retrieve the data unless you have a G Suite backup that you can restore. Even G Suite’s own data export tool won’t let you export data for deleted users. If the account is deleted, the data is history.
Ransomware in the cloud
Is it possible? Ransomware in the cloud?
Sure is. And it’s more common than you might think.
A ransomware infection typically originates on a user’s computer, for example, when an infected attachment is opened. And in many cases, that infection will then spread outward, encrypting other files and folders across the network.
But remember that Google Drive allows you to sync folders on your computer to the cloud. So if files are encrypted in your local Google Drive folder, they’ll be encrypted in the cloud folder too, overwriting the clean versions. Yet another reason to have a backup.
Selecting the right G Suite Backup solution
“Okay, we get it! G Suite backups are important! So how do we do it the right way?”
That is the million-dollar question.
Several backup tools for G Suite exist, but not all of them are created equal. If you’re comparing your options, here are a few important features to look for:
- Automatic backups: If backups need to be performed manually, you run the risk of forgetting to do them. Not to mention, this process is unnecessarily time-consuming. Make sure your backups can be performed automatically, so you don’t even need to think about them.
- Multiple backups a day: The more frequent the backups, the less data you’ll lose in a disaster. Look for solutions that can be scheduled to perform the backup at least once a day, for every user.
- Ability to recover individual files or entire backups: If you only need to restore a single deleted file or folder, you shouldn’t have to revert the entire user’s account to a previous point in time.
- Full data restoration: When you recover data, what does it look like? Is it merely a raw data export? Ideally, your solution should offer full restoration, so that data is restored directly within the user’s account with little to no effort.
- Data retention options: Opt for tools that give you control over how long your data is retained and which versions of backups you can restore.
- Search capabilities: IT administrators know the frustration of searching for missing files and messages with little guidance from users. Look for solutions that have robust search capabilities to help you find that missing data more quickly.
Back up your Google data 3x per day with Backupify
For G Suite backup, we recommend Backupify from Datto. It’s a cloud-to-cloud SaaS backup solution, meaning that it replicates data from Google’s cloud to Datto’s cloud.
Some of the core features and benefits we like about it:
- Backups up to 3 times a day (automatically)
- Customizable data retention period
- Robust search function
- Instant data restoration (to user’s account or admin’s device)
- Secure data encryption
- HIPAA compliance
The teams at Backupify perform ongoing vulnerability management and testing to ensure the security of its cloud data. And ultimately it’s all backed by the BC/DR expertise and security that Datto is known for.
Some other options to compare
Backupify isn’t the only name in the game. Comparable options are available from other providers like Veritas, Spanning, StorageCraft, Veeam and NetApp.
Be sure to look closely at the features and functionality of each option, as some vary pretty significantly. Use our list of recommended features above (see “Selecting the right G Suite Backup solution”) as a guide for choosing a solution that fits the needs of your business.
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