G Suite (Google Apps) Backup and Recovery Policy

JANUARY 11TH, 2017

The cloud has been adopted by millions of businesses around the world. The benefits of easy collaboration, accessibility and reduced costs are enough to convince anyone to hop on the cloud train. But working on the same file as your co-workers may lead to disaster.  So let's explore some of the issues posed by Google Apps... err, G Suite (name changes are always confusing) backup and recovery abilities. Thirty two percent of the companies that are using SaaS services have reported data lossLet that sink in for a moment. The top cause for data loss it is human error. And this becomes a scary statistic, when 16% of the documents uploaded to the cloud contain sensitive information.  The human "oops moment" is followed by hacking incidents, closing accounts without regard for data, and malicious actions that lead to lost files and folders. And if it can happen to Apple co-founder Steve Wozniaki to lose data, it can happen to you. Apps like Google Docs or Google Sheets have versioning capabilities. Once you change a document, you will be able to revert to a previously known version if something goes wrong. However, nothing can bring back a document after a disgruntled employee has removed it.


G Suite (Google Apps) Data Retention Policy

G Suite / Google Apps policy is very specific about G Suite data backup & restore. So here are the most important issues that G Suite users need to be aware of:

  • G Suite will empty your Trash folder automatically, every 30 days;
  • Deleted Gmail emails after Trash has been emptied cannot be recovered or restored;
  • G Suite cannot prevent end-user errors that result in accidentally deleted files and folders.

Google Drive is Not a Backup

Google Drive is one magic tool that has made life easier for millions of professionals. It has a local folder that can be used for working offline. Unfortunately, many users mistake Google Drive for a backup. But when this folder is synced, what is saved to the local drive is a pointer of where the document is online, in the cloud, not the document itself. So if you have deleted a file from the cloud, you may not be able to find it in your local folder anymore. The list of issues that might occur with Google Drive sync is long, so data loss can happen even due to a bad sync. Moreover, Google Drive retention policy is the same as Google Apps: after you delete a document, you can recover only for 30 days after deletion. Users who have exceeded their Google Drive storage quota will no longer be able to restore their data. The amount of free storage each user gets depends on the type of account they have. Free accounts, for example, are limited to 30GB of space. If you’re interested in keeping Google Drive files safe, Google Vault is available – this is a storage service from Google which is available with the Google Suite for Business. [caption id="attachment_24377" align="aligncenter" width="325"]


Image: ViWOInc.com [/caption]

Google Vault Backup and Recovery

Google Vault will offer some level of protection and eDiscovery services such as:

  • Email and chat archiving—admins can set retention rules to control how long email messages and history-on chats are saved.
  • Legal holds—Place legal holds on users (or on content, based on dates and terms) to preserve emails or chats indefinitely. This helps to meet legal or other retention regulations.
  • Drive file search—You can search by user account, organizational unit, date, or keyword. The search will include different file types.
  • Email and chat search—You can search your domain’s email, history-on Hangouts, and on-the-record Google Talk chats by user account, date, or keyword.
  • Export—Export specific email, on-the-record chats, and files from Drive to standard formats for additional processing and review.
  • Audit reports—You can use Google Vault audits to report on user activity.

Again, all of these are specific eDiscovery capabilities that make it easier to implement data protection for Google Suite. However, they will still need maintenance from company staff – most of whom may not have the time or the expertise to dedicate to G Suite backup and disaster recovery operations. Having BDR cloud backup service outsourced will mean you can avoid the uncanny situation where the CEO is scrambling to get back some emails that customer support has deleted a while ago.


Why You Need to Backup G Suite Data

All the above are strong reasons to backup your G Suite data, even if it's in the cloud. SaaS applications are nothing more than software built for collaboration and easy accessibility. They are not designed to store data 'forever' or for seamless backup and recovery, in case of data loss. For that, third party cloud backup software will offer peace of mind and speedy recovery in case you need it.

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