Top 5 Reasons You Need Google Workspace Backup Software: Sync Error

In the age of the consumerization of IT, our personal and professional lives are increasingly merging, relying on multiple devices, accounts, and applications to keep us connected, informed, and productive. Each tool we use is extremely important not only to our personal communications and social lives, but also to our companies’ bottom lines.

This means that we want and expect these several accounts, devices, and applications we juggle to work together seamlessly so we can be as productive as possible. It also means a great deal of syncing – the process of linking these various resources so that data is available and accessible across them all. The problem is that in spite of the invaluable benefits this technology offers, these tools and processes are still relatively new, which means that there are frequently bugs to work out – bugs like sync errors that can wipe out your most important data if you aren’t protected.

Everyone has a sync error story

Although not formally researched, sync errors are one of the most common problems reported by users of cloud applications like Google Workspace. There are countless forums where people in crisis turn for help retrieving their data after a sync malfunction of some sort wrecked their Contacts, Gmail, Drive, Sites, or Calendar data. In a forum thread titled “Google Drive deleted all my files” one user reported:

“I installed Google Drive yesterday. Today it stated ‘sync complete’, but had only synced 1GB of about 75GB. When I went into my videos folder, all the folders were empty! All my videos from the last 2 years, the entire life of my daughter, had disappeared. All the memories of her as a infant – gone! Please help. I need some way of recovering this.”

In fact, sync errors are so pervasive that Google even has a webpage dedicated to “Error messages for sync problems.” If you see this error: “This file points to an invalid online Google document,” Google lists the following as the most likely reason: “The original Google document is no longer available online (e.g. your Google document was deleted while you were offline or paused a Google Drive sync).” This may understandably leave you wondering, “Well, who on earth deleted it while I wasn’t online? I certainly didn’t pause any sync!” Even worse, you may receive this error: “An unknown issue has occurred.” And the likely reason: “Something unexpected has happened.”

Considering the limited usefulness of that wisdom, you’ll want to make sure your data is fully protected from loss with a backup and recovery plan, so that even when you see these errors, there is no cause for panic. Sync errors may make your important information inaccessible, but with backup software for Google Workspace you can quickly restore your files and get back to work with minimal delay.

How sync errors lead to data loss

As Google aptly puts it, “something unexpected” can happen at any time in cloud due to weak connectivity and a host of other glitches that come with using online technologies. Sync errors happen for a variety of reasons, some of which can result in the loss of information you need most. Here are some of the most common ways a sync error can lead to data loss in cloud applications:

  • Adopting a new device, updating an existing device, or syncing an existing device with your app. Many smartphone users complain about files, contacts, and emails disappearing (sometimes by the hundreds) when they sync a new phone with their account information; and several devices, like the Blackberry and iPhone, are reported to drop contacts and more upon updating. Sometimes when you have duplicate contacts between your phone and Google account, one list can override or delete the other list when you are updating your device or re-syncing that device with your Google Workspace account or other cloud application.
  • Incomplete or bad syncs.  This can happen when you close your laptop before you are fully synced, lose connectivity while syncing, or if something goes wrong while converting between file formats (from Microsoft to Google Drive, for example).  Often, these types of sync errors cause files to become corrupted, rather than deleted altogether – but this still means that your original data is inaccessible to you.
  • Third party integrations and syncs.  Integrating third party apps and services can cause an overwrite or complete deletion of your information. How could this happen? Suppose you are using Wrike, a project management application that strives to bring all your professional applications together in a manageable fashion. You decide you need to integrate your Wrike account with Google Workspace. You’ve got lots of business contacts, calendars, and other data stored in Wrike, and you want your Google Workspace to work seamlessly with Wrike. But perhaps when you try to sync your calendars stored in Wrike with Google Workspace, instead of adding these calendars or updating the events that may be duplicated between the two, the sync may instead wipe out your Wrike data in favor of the Google Calendar or replace your entire Google Calendar with only the event information stored in Wrike. Without a backup plan, there’s no way to get these calendar events back.
  • Deleting unnecessary applications. When you decide you no longer need an application and want to remove it from your smartphone or computer, you may be surprised to find that that action may also delete your original data in addition to the copies that were stored (synced) in the application. A recent blog post from Alan Davies describes exactly that:

“OK, I admit it, I was fiddling. Fiddling with some new calendar apps on my phone, and when I decided that I no longer wanted one, I deleted it. And it told me that deletion would also delete my Calendar, and I didn’t believe it. How could an App be so dumb as to delete my data when all I really wanted to do was get rid of the App from my phone? Well I was wrong, and after clicking on ‘Ok,’ I’d lost all my Google Calendar. And the truly surprising thing was that Google has no restore capability.”

How backup saves you from data loss due to sync errors

Without a backup and recovery solution to help restore your data to Google Workspace, information that is altered or deleted when sync errors occur cannot be returned to its original state. Backup software acts like a time machine that can bring back previous versions of your critical information; when a sync error wipes out half of your business Contacts, or your Drive files are corrupted for reasons you can’t explain, backup and recovery lets you retrieve a trusted copy of your information and restore it to your cloud applications so you can get back to business as usual fast. You don’t have to dread that you’ve lost an entire customer list due to an overwrite while syncing a third party or rewrite an entire report that mysteriously vanished. Having a backup and recovery solution brings your information back the way it was before the sync issue ever happened.

Sync errors are just one of a few notable frustrating ways to lose data in cloud applications. You’ve already learned how hacking and insider threats can lead to data loss without backup and recovery. In the next article in this series, you’ll learn about human error, a leading cause of data loss in SaaS applications. But, if you’re already ready to start investigating backup and recovery solutions, learn what to look for to best protect your company by reading the 9 Essentials for a Complete Cloud-to-Cloud Backup Solution.