Google Drive and Team Drive Backup and Recovery

Spanning Backup for G Suite

GOOGLE DRIVE AND TEAM DRIVE BACKUP AND RECOVERY

Google Drive and Team Drives are powerful collaboration tools — and the data and files in Drive need to be protected from loss. In this deep dive into Google Drive backup and recovery, you’ll learn why there are good reasons to use third-party Drive backup and restore tools like Spanning Backup for G Suite. While Google is safe, secure and trusted, it can’t protect you from some surprising and common Drive data loss scenarios. In this article, you’ll learn about the risks to Drive data and a better way to protect Google Drive and Team Drives.

The Q & A below will help you understand:

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

WHY SHOULD I PROTECT OUR DOMAIN’S DRIVE AND TEAM DRIVES? I THOUGHT GOOGLE WAS SECURE!

Google, and G Suite Drive and Team Drives, are secure and trusted. So much so, more than four million organizations use G Suite, and G Suite adoption is growing — faster than even Office 365. As noted by Okta’s “Businesses at Work” report for 2019, “G Suite’s user base is growing more quickly [than Office 365]. Active unique users have grown 116% year over year, compared to Office 365’s growth of 55%.”

This rate of adoption wouldn’t happen if G Suite and Google Drive were not secure, reliable and trusted. However, although G Suite and Gmail have been proven over time, Google can’t protect you from you. If an admin or a user “tells” Google Drive 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 data loss.

As Google states, “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 Google Drive and Team Drives include:

  • Accidental or malicious data deletion.
    If a user permanently deleted Drive files and data — by emptying the Trash, for example — there’s no easy way to get that data back.
  • Sync errors.
    Syncing Drive or Team Drives with your PC / laptop can result in sync errors that destroy or overwrite your data. One such case is
    described here: “An HR folder was moved within Google Drive, and it did not sync correctly. As a result, all files disappeared – including some that weren’t even owned by the user moving the folder. The employee checked the trash bin, recycle bin, and desktop for a copy – but the data was gone.” For more details on why you should protect G Suite Drive and Team Drives, see this article.

WHAT DOES GOOGLE OFFER FOR NATIVE DRIVE AND TEAM DRIVES PROTECTION?

Google offers a variety of tools for native Drive data protection, including:

  • A “soft” delete to Trash for 30 days followed a “hard” delete after 25 days.
    In the event a file is mistakenly deleted, end users can self-restore by finding it in their Trash within 30 days from deletion. If the file was deleted more than 30 days ago, the admin can use their tools and retrieve it for up to 25 days after the “soft” delete. 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 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 Drive file may now be “hard deleted” and it may not be possible for the admin to restore it.
  • Data Loss Prevention (DLP).
    “As a G Suite administrator, you can prevent users from sharing sensitive content in Google Drive or Team Drives with people outside of your organization. You use Data Loss Prevention (DLP) rules to scan files for sensitive content.”
  • Google Vault.
    Vault is not a backup and restore tool, but some sysadmins use it for that purpose. While it will allow you to export from searches, it’s purpose-built for legal holds and business use, not for backup and restore. Learn more about the differences between a legal hold tool like Google Vault and a backup tool like Spanning.

HOW CAN DRIVE AND TEAM DRIVE FILES BE LOST?

Google Drive and Team Drive files can be due to human error, sync errors, accidental deletions, malicious acts, and malware, or due to accidental or malicious account deletion.

  • Human error and accidental deletions.
    Emptying the Drive Trash to “clean things up,” incorrectly configuring a Drive folder or file migration from one account to another, accidentally deleting a file or folder and finding it’s gone forever due to storage limitations…losing a Drive file through human error is not uncommon. These can be compounded by the collaborative nature of Drive. A file creator or collaborator may think a file’s no longer needed and delete it. And while Team Drives reduces the chance for an owner deletion, since the Team owns the file, it is still possible for a file to be deleted in error. While Google “soft delete” (Trash) then “hard delete” (Trash emptied or 30 days + 25 days) helps undo human error on Drive loss, it doesn’t eliminate human error. Admins can have a bad day, and delete accounts and files in error as well.
  • Sync errors.
    A Drive folder or file can be lost due to sync errors. For example, a failed sync can result in orphaned files, and other files that may not be accessible. See this Support forum discussion. “…the orphaned files are not from a user deleting their shared folder. According to the google tech on the phone it can be caused by connectivity issues between google drive cloud and the local machine, where google drive cloud errors out and orphans the files. …the files that are not orphaned in the same folder location in the Drive and locally…remain in the cloud but won’t download locally.”
  • Malicious acts.
    Insider attacks from a user, such as moving all the Drive folders they own to the Trash, then emptying the Trash, can make it impossible to recover files and folders. Insider attacks from a rogue admin can do even more damage. If they delete Team Drive folders and accounts, Google can’t tell that the permitted act is malicious, and business-critical files can be wiped out at compute speed.
  • Malware.
    Malware can potentially make Drive and Team Drive files inaccessible unless you pay the ransom. Just because your anti-virus applications look like they’ve successfully blocked a virus, viruses evolve and pose new risks. “Just like it happens in many other companies, someone clicked on a malicious link in an email. Normally you would think it would not affect your cloud files, but our legal team’s repository was syncing up to Google Drive. The Drive sync tool did its job and right away started uploading the malware-encrypted files,” said Spanning customer Jesse Nowlin, IT Director at Westland Real Estate Group. These sorts of issues may not only affect your domain, but can quickly spread to customer and vendor domains.

HOW CAN YOU PROTECT DRIVE AND TEAM DRIVES FROM LOSS AND RECOVER LOST FILES QUICKLY?

You can save time doing manual restores by using a third-party tool like Spanning Backup for G Suite. Watch this brief demo video to review how a third-party tool should make backing up and restoring lost data easy, from start to finish. For a deeper dive into Team Drives data protection, see this video.

 

WHAT SHOULD A GOOGLE DRIVE OR TEAM DRIVES BACKUP AND RECOVERY TOOL PROVIDE?

When evaluating solutions for Drive and Team Drives data protection, look for those with:

  • Granular, point-in-time restore capabilities with end user restore capabilities — ideally, one that can also protect Gmail and other G Suite apps.
  • Scalability that meets the needs of organizations of all sizes. This means scalability not just for the tool, but also for the vendor’s service and support.
  • Experience meeting enterprise needs. Even if you’re at a small organization, ask for enterprise reference customers and stories. Larger domains are more complex, and a backup and restore tool that can meet their needs should be able to meet the needs of a small to medium sized business.
  • A history of trust and transparency.

Ideally, a Google Drive and Team Drives 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 files
  • Select and restore multiple files
  • Familiar Google Drive look-and-feel
  • Search for specific files to restore
  • View, search and restore files from any point-in-time backup

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO FULLY PROTECT YOUR GOOGLE DRIVE AND TEAM DRIVE FILES FROM ACCIDENTAL OR MALICIOUS LOSS?

Start by evaluating high-rated G Suite and Google Drive 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 Google Drive and Team Drive (and G Suite) protection.

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