Do I Need To Back Up Google Docs? Absolutely.
For those who are familiar with Microsoft Office’s suite of products, Google Docs is a revelation. Doing work in a Google Doc means that everyone on your team can collaborate on the same document in real time. You can easily track changes in Google Docs, you can import a Microsoft Office file into Google Docs and work on it there, and unlike Microsoft Office, Google Docs don’t crash all the time (and even in the unlikely event of a crash, your changes are saved in real time).
While Google Docs seems like an ideal solution for the modern workplace – a workplace that thrives on collaboration and considers “silo” a dirty word – failure to back up Google Docs could have dire consequences.
Wait, what? Google Docs are susceptible to permanent deletion without a backup?
It’s true. This revolutionary platform with all of its incredible innovations is not without holes, and those holes could lead to lost work if not considered. Here are a few reasons why you might want to think about backing up your Google Docs:
- Hackers. The Syrian Electronic Army seems to be breaking into accounts with alarming frequency, Anonymous is gaining increased notoriety, companies are taking out cybersecurity insurance policies and the Chinese and American governments are having summits about hacking. In short: it’s real and it’s a problem. A hacker can go in and delete your company files, change them, corrupt them, or otherwise ruin the hard work that you’ve stored in the cloud. (And if you think storing all of your files locally is safer, then you should do so on a machine that can’t access the internet, since that’s where hackers are getting in. Not using the internet sounds totally feasible, right?)
- Local sync. In Google Drive, there’s a tool that allows you to keep a local copy of your files as well as a copy online. Sounds great, right? Well, if you create a Google Doc online, it will show up in your local Google Drive folder, but what shows up is a link to the file on the network, not the actual file itself. So you could back up these files in a more traditional manner, but what you’ve backed up is a pointer, not the actual file itself.
- Collaboration. The best part about Google Docs is the collaboration capabilities, no question. But this new collaboration worldview is not without confusion. For example, let’s say you’re working on a project with someone else and you’re both sharing a Google Doc. The other person finishes their part of the project and deletes it from their Google Drive, thinking that since they’ve handed it off to you and you’re both sharing it, you’ll still have access. That’s not the case. The Google Doc will disappear from everyone’s Drive, leaving the project unfinished.
These are just a few of the possible scenarios to be on the lookout for. Fortunately, backup for Google Docs does exist in the form of Spanning Backup for Google Apps. Here are just a few ways that we can save your Google Docs:
- Restore one thing – or everything. If a user deletes a shared file from Drive, you just need to restore that single file. Or, if a hacker gains access to your account and deletes everything, you’ll need to be able to restore it all. Spanning Backup allows you to do both, and if you end up restoring all of the Google Docs in your account, you can do so and keep the same folder structure intact.
- Cloud-to-cloud backup. We store all of your files in the Amazon Web Services cloud because while it’s extremely unlikely that something would happen to wipe out all of Google’s servers, it’s even more unlikely that something would happen to Google AND Amazon.
- Back up the real file. We only back up the actual Google Docs files – the ones with the content in them – not the local files that point to them. When you restore a file, you always know you’re getting the real deal.
- Shared Settings. If you’re worried about someone re-deleting a shared file once you’ve restored it, you have the option to restore it with or without the sharing settings intact.
- Not just Google Docs. In addition to backing up all of your Google Docs files in Google Drive, Spanning Backup for Google Apps also backs up Gmail, Google Calendars, Google Contacts and Google Sites. If you’re using Google Docs, you might be using one or all of these other applications as well.
While Google Docs is one of the best things to happen to the modern workplace, it’s not 100% bulletproof. To use it to its fullest potential with trust, be sure to backup your Google Docs so that if something goes wrong, you can get right back to work.