Gmail Backup and Recovery

Spanning Backup for G Suite

GMAIL BACKUP AND RECOVERY

If you’re looking for a deep dive into Gmail backup, recovery and security, you’ve come to the right place. You might be surprised to learn that there are good use cases for third-party Gmail backup and recovery tools like Spanning Backup for G Suite. Don’t worry — when it comes to recovering from email data loss, we have you covered.

The Q & A below will help you understand:

  • Why you should protect your domains’ Gmail
  • What Google offers for native Gmail data protection
  • How Gmail can be lost due to human error, sync errors, accidental deletions, malicious acts, and malware
  • How Gmail can be lost due to accidental or malicious account deletion
  • How you can protect Gmail from loss and recover lost Gmail quickly
  • What an automated Gmail backup and recovery tool should provide
  • What you can do today to protect your Google email from accidental or malicious loss

WHY SHOULD I PROTECT OUR DOMAIN’S GMAIL? ISN’T GOOGLE SECURE?

Google, and Gmail, are secure — in fact, the security offered by Google is one reason G Suite Gmail has been so widely adopted. (More than four million organizations use G Suite, and the growth of Gmail adoption has been exponential. As of late 2018, there were more than 1.5 billion Gmail users!)

But despite G Suite and Gmail being proven secure over time, Google can’t protect you from you. When a user or admin “tells” Google to do something, even if it’s in error, Google must perform the requested action. Google can’t tell that the request will lead to unwanted data loss.

As Google notes, “You have a limited time from when the data was permanently deleted to restore files and messages. After that, the data cannot be recovered and is gone forever.

Common threats to Gmail include:

  • Accidental or malicious data deletion.
    Once a user permanently deletes Gmail data — by emptying the Gmail trash bin, for example — there’s no easy way to get it back.
  • Sync errors.
    Even simply syncing Drive with your laptop or PC can result in unintentional sync errors that destroy or overwrite your data.

For more details on why you should protect your domain’s email, see this blog post.

WHAT DOES GOOGLE OFFER FOR NATIVE GMAIL PROTECTION?

The Trash provides a staged deletion that may prevent some accidental data loss. When an email is deleted in Gmail, it goes first to the user’s Trash, where it is available for restore from Trash for up to 30 days. After 30 days, an admin can restore the email for 25 days — after that, “the data cannot be recovered and is gone forever.” In addition, if storage limits are exceeded, or if the user or an admin empties the user’s Trash, that Gmail may now be “hard deleted” and it may not be possible for the admin to restore it.

Some admins choose to use Google Vault for Gmail retention. While Vault is a powerful retention tool for legal processes, using it across most or all Gmail is not a best practice. Google admins should confirm broad Gmail retention with their organization’s legal advisers before using Vault for backup, to ensure they don’t add legal risk. Learn more about why using Vault is not a best practice for Gmail data protection.

HOW CAN GMAIL BE LOST? 

Gmail can be lost due to human error, sync errors, accidental deletions, malicious acts, and malware. Gmail can also be lost when an account is accidentally or maliciously deleted.

  • Human error and accidental deletions. 
    “Tidying up” by emptying the Gmail Trash, incorrectly configuring a Gmail migration from one account to another, deleting an email by accident and finding it’s gone forever due to storage limitations…losing Gmail through human error is not uncommon. While Google “soft delete” (Trash) then “hard delete” (Trash emptied or 30 days + 25 days) reduces the impact of human error on Gmail loss, it doesn’t eliminate human error. Even admins are human, and could delete a Gmail account in error.
  • Sync errors. 
    It’s possible that Gmail can be lost due to sync errors. For example, a
    failed sync with Outlook may lead to data loss. “Resynchronizing with Google overwrites local data with data stored on Google’s servers, rather than just performing a two-way sync. This means that, in rare cases, you might lose recent changes made in Outlook, such as a contact you just edited, if the change hasn’t had a chance to sync with the cloud.”
  • Malicious acts. 
    Insider attacks from a user, such as moving all Gmail to and then emptying Trash, can make it impossible to recover their Gmail. Insider attacks from a rogue admin can do even more wide-ranging damage if they delete Gmail and Drive accounts. Google can’t tell that the permitted act is malicious, and Gmail can be wiped out at compute speed.
  • Malware. 
    Malware can potentially delete Gmail,
    spoof a sender to make it seem as if the Gmail is trusted — or make Gmail inaccessible unless you pay the ransom. Even strains of malware, like Locky, that are thought to be successfully blocked by anti-virus updates evolve and pose new risks.

HOW CAN A GOOGLE ADMIN PROTECT GMAIL FROM LOSS AND RECOVER LOST GMAIL QUICKLY?

Admins can use a third-party backup tool, like Spanning Backup for G Suite. A third-party tool like Spanning is designed to be secure, easy to use, and simplifies Gmail protection and backup automatic and recovery. For details on how a tool like Spanning works, watch this video.

 

WHAT SHOULD A GMAIL BACKUP AND RECOVERY TOOL PROVIDE?

When evaluating solutions for Gmail data protection, look for those with:

  • Granular, point-in-time restore capabilities with end user restore capabilities — ideally, one that can protect not just Gmail but also G Suite, and one that can backup and restore Team Drives.
  • A proven ability to scale. Scalability is not just about the technology, but also for service and support.
  • Experience meeting enterprise needs. Ask for enterprise reference customers and stories.
  • A history of trust and transparency.

Ideally, a Gmail protection tool will also offer these capabilities:

  • 100% restore guarantee
  • Automated daily and on-demand backup
  • Daily notifications about the state of backups
  • Restore data to the original owner or any other user (Admin only)
  • Select and restore individual emails
  • Select and restore multiple emails
  • View and restore emails by label
  • Familiar Gmail look-and-feel
  • Search for specific emails to restore
  • Customize label name for email restores
  • Restore emails with or without original labels
  • Preview email prior to restoring

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO FULLY PROTECT YOUR GMAIL AGAINST DATA LOSS?

Start by evaluating high-rated G Suite and Gmail backup and recovery tools on the G Suite Marketplace, like Spanning Backup for G Suite (5 stars, 215 reviews).

You can also visit our main Spanning Backup for G Suite page to learn more about:

  • All protected G Suite components (Gmail, Drive, Team Drives, Calendars, Contacts, and Sites)
  • Backup & Restore capabilities within the product
  • Security measures & Compliance certifications
  • The full list of included features
  • Reviews from satisfied customers
  • Additional G Suite backup & recovery resources

READY TO START THE CONVERSATION?

There’s three ways to get the ball rolling today and be one step closer to complete Gmail (and G Suite) protection.

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