How secure is your data?
To what extent do Google’s native tools support backup and recovery?
IT professionals are often under the misapprehension that there is no need to back up cloud services such as G Suite.
However, to think that a SaaS vendor like Google can always restore the data you store in its cloud is a perilous presumption.
Put simply, Google backup does not exist.
SaaS vendors are unable and unwilling to protect your data in all eventualities.
Section 6 of Microsoft’s own Services Agreement states: “We recommend you regularly back up your content and data . . . using third-party apps and services.”
In the numerous terms of service for Google, G Suite and its individual apps, you will find no acceptance of responsibility for preventing data loss, only a disclaimer for:
• loss of profits, revenues, business opportunities, goodwill, or anticipated savings
• indirect or consequential loss
Google’s total liability is limited to the greater of £500 or 125% of fees paid in the last year.
Without the protection of third-party software, there are many scenarios that will jeopardise the files, spreadsheets and private information that you have in G Suite.
Here are seven reasons why it’s crucial to have a diverse backup strategy:
Retain control with a custom-made solution
To be wholly dependent on a single vendor such as Google is a gamble for any organisation.
Without full control of your data, the capability to act straight away once an issue becomes apparent may be taken out of your hands.
In January 2020 Google Drive suffered a server failure, leading to widespread service disruption all around the world.
Users were left waiting for an hour before hearing they could again access Google Drive, including Docs, Sheets and Slides.
If business continuity is important to the head of your organisation, then as an IT manager you need to show you can get everyone back up and running quickly when things go wrong - not receive a stark reminder that Google does not provide backup.
Unless you have a separate backup strategy, you are left powerless with
no option but to wait until Google recovers . . . and it’s worth noting that the outage was their second in a week.
2) Set your own retention policies
G Suite will empty your Trash folder automatically every 30 days - and deleted Gmail emails cannot be recovered by the user after Trash has been emptied.
Admins can restore permanently deleted items 25 days after permanent deletion and via Audit API, if they have that capability, for an extra five days - after that the data is gone.
G Suite Basic comes with 30GB storage per employee, while G Suite’s Business, Enterprise, Education and Teams editions provide unlimited storage (1TB if 4 or fewer users).
Google One offers the option of additional storage, but no matter how much you buy, you'll still be stuck with 30 days of version history.
If you need to keep files safe, there is Google Vault, a storage service available with G Suite that gives admins the capability to set retention rules on how long email messages and history on chats are saved.
However, a member of staff will need to keep on top of this and that means finding someone with the expertise to dedicate to backup and disaster recovery operations.
As an admin, you can restore lost data (except for email drafts or data from the Trash) for up to 10 users in Gmail and/or Google Drive, but this method of data recovery only works on data deleted within the last 25 days.
Far more preferable is a data management service that allows you to set retention policies very easily as part of a unified solution and whose sole purpose is to ensure that your data can be recovered directly back to G Suite, regardless of the state of your live data.
3) Address compliance issues
There’s no way G Suite can see where end-users might have accidentally or maliciously deleted files and folders.
Google Drive retention policy is the same as Google Apps, so after a document is deleted, you have only 25 days to recover it.
What if, during legal action months or years later, your organisation suddenly finds it needs those deleted files?
It might prove very difficult to comply with regulations that stipulate data is retained within certain time frames.
When data is on many different laptops, issues arise around complying with the General Data Protection Regulation.
Ensuring timely recovery is not the only challenge, addressing Subject Access Requests will be difficult and time-consuming if data is distributed far and wide.
However, you can have it all in one place, if a third-party backup provider is protecting your G Suite data as well as whatever else you hold dear.
Just one of the reasons why Gartner, IDC and Forrester recommend using a third-party backup provider to protect G Suite.
4) Recover everything in the event of deletion
What happens when users accidentally or intentionally delete or overwrite files?
G Suite provides very limited built-in data protection. There are no backups of contacts, no recovery of individual Gmail messages or Drive files against deletions, overwrites and against cloud ransomware.
If you delete a user, whether you meant to or not, that deletion is replicated across the network.
A deleted user's account is unrecoverable after just five days
An administrator can restore a deleted user account for up to 20 days after date of deletion.
After 20 days, the Admin console permanently deletes the user account, and it can’t be restored, even if you contact Google technical support.
Once an item is purged from the mailbox database, it is unrecoverable.
This could have far-reaching effects if a rogue employee deletes incriminating emails or files.
There is also the issue of being able to recover information without overwriting any changes you may have made after the recovery time.
A non-destructive recovery provided by a third-party backup provider lets you search for time-specific data and recover it – without worrying that users will lose later drafts of the same files.
Google can only protect you from data loss up to a certain point, and can’t take the place of third-party data management solutions.
5) Prevent delays due to data loss
Mistaken overwrites and migration errors can lead to loss of data, loss of time and loss of money.
Even if retrieval is achievable, the process may be lengthy and complex - and there is also the inflexibility of destructive entire restores.
An administrator will need to be in communication with the user in order check whether files and/or messages appear in user’s Gmail/Drive and confirm the recovery.
Restoring large amounts of data may take several hours and the administrator alone will not be able to see whether the recovery is complete. That will necessitate checking with the user to see if it is done, or if it's still in progress.
Google concentrates on providing availability and cannot be expected to focus elsewhere on extended retention or old user data.
Being solely reliant on Google Support for help recovering lost data can be very time consuming.
The best way to avoid an issue impacting severely on business continuity is to find a third party that offers streamed, on-demand access to data at a moment’s notice.
6) Protect against ransomware attacks
Even if your files are stored on the Google Drive cloud, your data could be infected by malicious viruses.
Ransomware can infect your users' machines and encrypt the information stored on their computers, including Google Drive files and other G Suite data. However, a third-party can protect your Google Drive files by guaranteeing recovery from ransomware with isolated, offsite protection.
Regular backups will help ensure a separate copy of your data is uninfected and that you can recover Google data quickly to an instance before the attack.
The best data management providers offer streamed, on-demand access to all data instantly.
7) Separate roles as security standard
Companies nowadays require a separation of roles as a security standard.
Having your backup in the production platform allows for a single point of failure.
Google administrators could also potentially assign themselves full access to search and export from G Suite mailboxes and labels.
This would enable them to delete a file. Without third-party backup, you might find that file, depending on the retention policy, may be irretrievable.
G Suite: What is backed up?
Protect G Suite data within your organisation, directly from Google’s cloud, all through an intuitive web interface.
Extend retention and cater for deleted users with a diverse backup strategy that addresses compliance issues as well as simplifying your data backup systems with one central, easy-to-use system.
InstantData™, Redstor’s unique streaming technology, provides on-demand access to your data, wherever it is stored.
Gain borderless visibility of your entire data estate at any time, on any device. Our web-based control centre gives you a centralised view of multiple sites, wherever you are.
Manage by exception and easily evidence compliance.
Redstor’s data management solution includes role-based access control and auditing, which helps companies to comply with current and upcoming data protection laws, while also allowing a different department or administrator to hold the rights for restores.