Why Google Drive makes backup even more important

drive-logo.png Right after Google launched Drive last April, I decided to do some testing. I installed the Google Drive software on a spare Mac in our office, connected it to my Google Workspace account, and within minutes had all of my work documents available on the new machine. I uploaded some huge files, moved folders around, and made changes to some Word and Excel documents. Everything worked as advertised. Satisfied, I cleaned up by dragging the whole mess into the trash, emptying the trash, and uninstalling the software.

I was blissfully unaware I had just destroyed all of our corporate documents.

Later that day I signed into Google Drive from my own computer to look up an employee’s stock option grant. Strangely, my Drive was empty. I assumed I had signed into my personal Gmail account by accident, but when I checked I found that no, I was looking at my corporate Google Workspace account. A shot of adrenaline surged through my body as I realized what had happened: when I deleted all of my files on the testing machine, I had deleted them in the cloud too. I felt the blood drain out of my face.

Since its launch five months ago, Google Drive has seen explosive growth. Our internal numbers show that business users are uploading terabytes of files every day. This comes as no surprise, since for businesses using Google Workspace (5 million and counting) Drive is not only tightly integrated with their existing email and administrative functions, it’s also free. Google Drive is quickly becoming the new standard for storing and collaborating on documents in the cloud.

Google Drive and other cloud technologies offload many mundane IT responsibilities (and costs) to a cloud provider, which is proving irresistible to senior IT managers. But the siren’s song of reduced costs and fewer headaches can drown out an important truth: data protection and availability still is (and always will be) a core responsibility of corporate IT.

Fortunately for me, I work for a company that has rigorous IT controls in place—controls compliant with the SSAE-16 standard. That means we’re required to back up our data—and we do. We also happen to be in the business of protecting data in the cloud. I was able to sign into Spanning Backup and restore the entire contents of my Google Drive within minutes. Crisis averted.

The lesson here is simple: even sophisticated users can make mistakes, and with the never-ending deluge of new technology it’s easier than ever. Much of this new tech—like Google Drive—brings with it the promise of huge productivity gains. But without the proper protections in place, it can also bring disaster.

Bottom line: backup is a core responsibility of IT. With Spanning Backup, Google Workspace customers can rest assured that their responsibility is being met.


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