New Restore Options, Admin Audit Log

Spanning Backup's New Restore Options It’s a truism in the data protection business that backup is easy and restore is hard, but that restore is also critically important. Without it, backups are practically useless. Spanning Backup’s restore functionality is already the best in the business, but today it gets even better.

Our competitors have the brass to sell their “backup” products with restore functionality that’s often shockingly weak and in some cases missing altogether. (If you’re at Dreamforce this week, ask them to show you how to restore data from their new Salesforce “backup” product.)

At Spanning we take a different approach. We not only back up your Google Workspace data, but also provide powerful tools that enable you to restore that data when you need it. And today we’ve added several new options to give you even more control over and visibility into that process.

First, we’ve added cross-user restore. That’s what we call the ability for an admin to restore data backed up from one Google Workspace account into another.

While we’ve heard this requirement from customers for a long time, our answer has always been, “As a security measure, Spanning Backup will only restore data into the Google Workspace account from which it was backed up.” In general, we prefer to err on the side of security and never want Spanning Backup to be useable as a vector for data leakage or theft. But working with some of our largest enterprise customers we’ve come up with a way to add cross-user restore while still maintaining rigorous security.

Spanning Backup’s new cross-user restore function can only be used by administrators, but also we need to protect against the possibility that a rogue admin could attempt to surreptitiously access or steal data. So we’ve added an in-app admin audit log which maintains an immutable, detailed record of administrator actions. The admin audit log is now part of the Spanning Backup admin dashboard.

Two common use cases for our new secure, auditable cross-user restore feature include restoring data from archived users and conducting e-discovery investigations.

Let’s say one of your users leaves your company and no longer has a Google Workspace account, but you need to retrieve data from that user that’s still stored in Spanning Backup. With cross-user restore, you can sign into Spanning Backup with your admin account, impersonate that user, and restore the data into any other account in your Google Workspace domain.

In another common scenario, a legal or HR user needs to collect data from one or more employees’ backups, usually in support of an investigation. In this case, an administrator can sign in, impersonate the user from which the data needs to be collected, and restore it into the account of the person performing the investigation. Note that in this scenario it’s desirable to restore the data itself (e.g., a set of documents from Google Drive) but not the sharing settings for that data, so we’ve added that option as well.

The second major restore option we’ve added allows users and admins to choose whether or not to restore sharing settings for Google Drive documents and attendees for Google Calendar events.

In normal “oops, restore” use cases, users will likely want to restore docs sharing settings and event attendees—that way the restored data will mirror the original exactly. But in both for the investigation scenario described above and for testing, it’s very useful to be able to disable them so that restored docs and events show up only in the account to which they’re restored.

These powerful new restore options and the in-app admin audit log give Spanning Backup customers even more control and visibility. At Spanning, we continually work to improve the functionality and experience of our products, including the parts we hope you’ll never have to use.