Imagine that your internal bookkeeper manages invoices via Google Sheets since they’re free and easy to share. After a year, he or she decides to leave the company and you remove their G Suite account. You sign in the next month and notice that all of your invoices from last year are gone!
Unfortunately, Google Drive only lets you restore data that was permanently deleted up to 25 days ago. The time limit has already passed and the data is gone forever. Google Drive is a great way to share data, such as invoices, but it’s not designed to be a robust data backup solution.
Let’s take a look at some of the issues with using Google Drive for data backup, how to find better solutions and how to protect your data on Google Drive.
Google Drive isn’t designed to be a robust data backup solution — in fact, you should backup Google Drive data!
Google Drive Isn’t a Backup
Google Drive is an excellent cloud storage tool for small businesses. It makes it easy for colleagues to share files, can scalable to nearly any size and there are built-in protections against data loss resulting from a hard drive failure or natural disasters — all for an affordable monthly price.
Many people use Google Drive to backup and sync their personal computers. If their computer dies, they can restore their files from Google Drive onto a new computer. They can also access their files across different devices, such as a home computer, work computer, smartphone and/or tablet.
Google Drive works great for these purposes, but it should never be used as a backup solution for a business.
There are three key reasons why:
- User error: Accidental deletion is the number one cause of data loss for small businesses, and Google Drive doesn’t protect against it. If a file is deleted from a computer, Google Drive will sync and remove the file. There’s also nothing stopping a user from accidentally (or intentionally) deleting a file on Google Drive that you or others need.
- Ownership: The files on Google Drive are owned by a single person and shared with others. If the owner leaves or deletes files, it could affect many people in the organization. Companies cannot easily backup files created by employees using Google Drive because that’s not the intended use.
- Malware & viruses: Google Drive doesn’t protect your files against malware or viruses. For example, if your files are encrypted by ransomware on your computer, Google Drive will sync the encrypted files and you will still lose access to them. You could also inadvertently share infected files on Google Drive, which could put everyone at risk.
Small businesses should consider a separate backup solution that addresses these concerns. In an ideal scenario, the backup solution will automatically backup files on a regular basis and scan them to ensure they don’t contain malware or viruses — all in addition to being affordable for small businesses.
How to Backup Google Drive
Companies that create and share documents on Google Drive need to back up Google Drive. If a file is accidentally deleted or malware infects some files, these backups should provide a quick and easy way to restore the data and avoid any costly downtime or data loss issues.
Google provides a free tool to backup Google Drive and other services called Google Takeout. Using the tool, you can easily select what Google data you want to export and download an archive of that data on demand. You can even customize the archive format based on your requirements.
The problem with Google Takeout is that you need to download archives on a regular basis. In addition, you must ensure that the hardware you’re storing the archives on isn’t susceptible to malware, viruses or hardware failure. These tasks can quickly become overwhelming in a business.
Many backup solutions provide automated backups for Google Drive and other cloud storage services. You can simply set the backup frequency and rest assured that the backups are automatically processing in the background — you’ll always be safe!
What’s a Good Backup Solution
There are many different companies that offer data backup solutions. On-premise solutions enable you to backup data on hard drives that you control, while cloud backup services automatically back up data online. These services have various features and price points, depending on your business.
There are several things to consider when analyzing backup solutions:
- Cost: Small businesses should find solutions that offer an affordable monthly price per employee. That way, you can scale up or down the services as needed rather than buying more than you need or growing out of a small service.
- Security: Data should be encrypted throughout the backup process and at the final destination (e.g. data center). Before backing up data, it’s also important to ensure that it’s not infected with malware or viruses.
- Automation: Backup solutions should be as easy to use as possible for end users. By automating the process, you can ensure that everyone has their data backed up and avoid relying on employees to remember on their own.
- Performance: Backups should be fast and painless, which means fast and low-latency networks. Try out a backup service before committing to see its performance.
The Bottom Line
Google Drive is commonly used as a backup solution, especially after the launch of Backup and Sync. But contrary to its name, Backup and Sync isn’t designed to protect you against data loss. You are still vulnerable to accidental deletion, malware, viruses and a host of other problems.