In this article
  • What is Google Drive backup?
  • Why should you back up Google Drive?
  • Google Drive backup tools for business users
  • Google Drive backup for individual users
  • Frequently asked questions

Backup Google Drive: Top 6 ways to backup your Business Google Drive

1 Nov 2020
22 min read
Anju George
Blog Articles

This article will be your one-stop destination for the different ways in which you can backup Google Drive for your business, along with the pros and cons associated with each method. Choose the one that’s most convenient for you!

Note:  Starting on October 13, 2020, Google Drive will automatically start deleting files after they have spent 30 consecutive days in the trash. 

What is Google Drive backup?

Google Drive backup makes a copy of your Google Drive files and stores them securely in another safe location locally or on the cloud. This can be used to retrieve your Google Drive data in case of any data loss.

Can you back up Google Drive?

Yes!  Of course, you can back up your Google Drive. Here are six ways in which you can back up your Google Drive data:

flowchart - backup Google Drive

Why should you back up Google Drive?

First of all, Google is  not responsible for backing up your data. Don’t take our word for it; here is an extract from their Google Workspace terms of service.  


Therefore, it is your sole responsibility to back up your Google Drive data.

Don’t have time to read the whole article?

How is Google Drive data lost?

  • Accidental deletions: An employee in your organisation might accidentally delete important data while trying to free up storage space or end up removing the original version of a file while trying to get rid of duplicates. According to a survey conducted by Shred-it, 47% of data breach incidents in the US are caused due to employee negligence (CNBC). 

  • Data Corruption from Internal Threats: According to the Information Security Forum, the new working arrangements (as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic) may cause employees to become disgruntled or resentful due to lowered remuneration, reduced promotional opportunities and uncertainties about the future. These circumstances result in higher occurrences of fraud, information leakage, and theft of intellectual property. 

  •  Ransomware Attacks:  Bitdefender’s Mid-Year Threat Landscape Report 2020 announced a seven-fold spike in the number of ransomware attacks in 2020 when compared to 2019.The Google Backup & Sync feature syncs the cloud data across devices. If an on-premise device that is in sync with your Google Drive is corrupted by a ransomware, it will corrupt the online Google application too.

  • Unexpected Outages: According to New York Post, Google suffered a major outage in August 2020, which affected over a dozen Google Workspace services. Both personal as well as business users of Google Workspace across the world were affected by this.

  • Malicious Third Party Apps: If an end user installs an unverified third party app using their Google account, the app can trick the user into granting access to their account data and overwrite existing data.

  • Phishing Attacks: A phishing attack revolves around scammers tricking users into giving up data or access to systems in the mistaken belief that they are dealing with someone they know or trust. Cybercriminals often use high-profile events as a lure, for example, 2020 has seen a rise in COVID-themed phishing attacks. Cybercriminals have also attempted to use the 2020 US Presidential election as a means of attack. Click here to find out how to protect your business from phishing attacks.

Watch our YouTube video on the four compelling reasons to take a Google Drive backup.

I. Google Drive backup tools for business users

1) How to back up Google Drive data using Google Vault

What is Google Vault?

Google Vault is an archiving tool that retains user data stored in G Suite regardless of end-user actions, including permanent deletions.

Note: Google Vault is only available to those subscribed to G Suite Business or Enterprise plan.

Though Google Vault was not intended to be a backup solution, it can be used to retain your Drive files for an unlimited period. This will act as a backup in situations where  you permanently lose data from the Drive.
Retention holds organizational data – stored in Gmail, Hangouts, Drive, and Groups – for as long as necessary, even after a user permanently deletes it from their Google Workspace account. Therefore, this archived data serves the purpose of a backup.

To know more about the differences between Backup and Archive solutions, read this article.

How to set a retention rule for your Google Drive files using Google Vault

  • Step 1: Log in to your G Suite account using the Admin credentials. Click here to log in to Google Vault. Once logged in, you will be taken to the homepage of Google Vault.

  • Step 2: Navigate to the “Retention” module on the left pane and click on the “Drive” option to edit its retention policy.

 backup Google Drive with Vault - step 2
  • Step 3: Tick the box, “Set a default retention rule for Drive.” Select the radio button “Indefinitely” as the duration of retention and click  “Save”.

backup google drive with vault - step 3

Google Vault will now retain all your data indefinitely and you can export the Google Drive files whenever you need it.


  • Requires no installation

  • Keeps data for a long time in an unlimited storage.


  • Google Vault is designed to be an archiving tool, not a backup solution. You cannot use it to quickly restore your data in the event of a data loss.

  • If a Google account is deleted, then the data associated  with that account will also be permanently deleted.

  • You can’t use Vault if you aren’t a subscriber of the G Suite Business, Enterprise or Education package.

2) How to back up Google Drive files using third – party tools

Since Google’s native features and Google Vault are not designed for the purpose of backup and restore, they have serious limitations as a backup tool. Whereas, third-party cloud applications which are tailor-made for the purpose of backup and restore, are reliable options when it comes to backing up your Google Drive data.

Why you should back up Google Drive using cloud backup tools

The following are the reasons why third- party cloud backup tools are a reliable backup solution, compared to manual backups, Google’s native features and Google Vault.

  • Easy backup: Users can take customized backup to effortlessly backup whatever that’s necessary.

  • Instant backup: Take a backup in no time, even for large teams.

  • Automatic backup: Take regular backups at a set frequency, so that you don’t miss out any important files.

  • Incremental backup: Avoid duplication of data by taking a backup of only the changes made to a document since the last backup.

  • Better storage space management: Set retention periods and extensions to avoid backing up unnecessary files.

  • Regular activity reports: Get granular reports of all the activities in the backup account.

Cloud applications like SysCloud are reliable options to back up and restore your Google Drive effortlessly. SysCloud uses Amazon Web Services (AWS) to provide a fully automated cloud to cloud backup and restore.


  • Effortless cloud backup: Automated backup for new users in the domain, back up multiple domains in the same account, run automated backup upto 3 times a day, initiate on-demand backup instantly

  • Easy recovery: Restore with folder-structure and sharing permissions intact, cross-user restore, export emails in .pst or MBox formats

  • Proactive security: Ransomware detection for data being backed up, secure cloud backup on AWS with 99.99% uptime guarantee, 256 bit AES encryption to guarantee data privacy and confidentiality, FERPA, HIPAA, and PCI compliant

  • Comprehensive admin controls: Real-time dashboard with insights into backup and restore health status, ransomware threats, and activity logs; configure backup settings at domain-level, user-level, and organizational unit level; end-user self service; automatically exclude suspended and deleted user from billing

Learn more about SysCloud Google Drive backup.

How to back up Google Drive using SysCloud

  • Step 1: Login to SysCloud application using your G Suite credentials. Navigate to the Backup module on the menu bar and select “Start Backup” option in the drop-down menu.

backup google drive using syscloud - step 1
  • Step 2: Choose if  you want to back up the entire domain or specific users and teams.

 back up google drive using syscloud - step 2
  • Step 3: Click on “Add Users & Teams.”

 backup google drive using syscloud - step 3
  • Step 4: Select the users whose data you want to backup and click “CONFIRM.”

backup google drive using syscloud - step 4
  • Step 5: In the Apps section, select “Drive” and click “Start Backup.” This will start the backup process. You can view the backup progress in the “Archives & Restore” page.

 backup google drive using syscloud - step 5

II. Google Drive backup for individual users

Here are four ways in which individual users can back up their Google Drive data.

1. Back up Google Drive to an external hard drive
2. Back up Google Drive to another Google Drive
3. Backup and Sync Client by Google
4. Backup using Google Takeout

3) How to back up Google Drive to an external hard drive

This is a completely manual approach to backup. Just download your Google Drive files and copy it to an external hard drive.

  • Step 1: Login to your G Suite account and open Drive.

  • Step 2: Hold Ctrl+A to select all the files, or select the ones you want to backup.

  • Step 3: Right click and select the “Download” option.

 backup google drive to external hard drive - step 3

The downloaded files will be in .zip format. Preserve this copy in a safe location and extract files whenever you need it.


  • Requires no software

  • Quick and easy


  • Manual work.

  • Since it’s completely manual, there is a high possibility that you might forget to download new or updated files.

  • In case of a data loss incident, restoring files to the Drive is going to be a tedious process, since you have to manually upload all the files to the Drive.

  • Sharing permissions are not retained. 

4) How to back up Google Drive to another Google Drive

If you want to copy files from one Google Drive to another without downloading and re-uploading them, here’s what you have to do:

Step 1: Open the Google Drive account from which you want to copy files. Select all the files you want to back up. Right click and select the “Share” option.

 backup google drive to another google drive - step 1

Step 2: Add the second Google account to which you want to back up the files. Click the “Send” button.

 backup google drive to another google drive - step 2

Step 3:  Select the same files once again and click the “Share” option. Now, click on the drop-down arrow next to your second Google account and select “Make owner.”  A pop-up box will appear asking for permission. Click “Yes.”

backup google drive to another google drive - step 3

Step 4: Open the second Google Drive account and go to Gmail. You will find a new email with all the shared files attached. Click on the “Add all to Drive” option. You can view the newly added files in your second Google Drive account.

backup google drive to another google drive - step 4


  • Requires no software

  • Quick and easy


  • Since it’s completely manual, one might forget to add new or updated files.

  • This method transfers the ownership of the files to the second Google account. You can still access the files unless the owner of the second account decides to remove you. 

Note:  You can also use Google Takeout to transfer files from one Google Drive to another.

5) How to backup Google Drive data using Google Backup and Sync client

What is Google Drive Backup and Sync client?

Backup and Sync is a Google application that lets users sync their desktop with their Google Drive. This way, all the data stored in the Drive will be available on the local desktop and vice versa.
Using Backup and Sync Client, users can easily download Google Drive data to their desktop, rather than manually downloading each file. The Google Backup and Sync Client downloads the Drive files and shared folders to your desktop without affecting the sharing permissions.

  • Step 1: Download the Backup and Sync application. Click here to download the app.

  • Step 2: Launch the application and sign in using your Google account.

Once you sign in, you will be taken to the section “My Computer”. This section gives options to upload the files in your desktop to Google Drive.

Note: Since we are using the Backup and Sync app as a tool to easily download the Drive files, skip this section.

  • Step 3: Uncheck all the options in the “My Computer” page to prevent your desktop files from being uploaded to Google Drive, and click “NEXT”.

backup and sync client - step 3

You will land on the section “Google Drive”. This is where you choose the Google Drive folders that need to be synced.

backup and sync client - step 3
  • Step 4: Select the option “Sync My Drive to this computer. Give the local folder to which you want to download your Drive files. Select the radio button “Sync everything in My Drive” if you want to sync the entire Drive or the option “Sync only these folders” if you want to back up only the selected folders.

backup and sync client step 4
  • Step 5: Click on the “START” button.

Now all the selected Google Drive files will be available in the selected folder on your desktop. But, this is not enough. The files are in sync with the Drive, therefore, any deletion in the Drive will reflect in the desktop too.

  • Step 6: Copy all the files that were downloaded and save in another folder or another device.

This is an easy way to back up Google Drive locally.


  • Fully automated: Any new file added to the Drive will be automatically saved in your desktop as well. Similarly, any edits made in the Drive files will be reflected in the files in your desktop.

  • Double-sided backup: You can not only save your cloud data on your desktop but also customize it to automatically save your desktop data on the cloud, making it available from any device.


  • It takes up a lot of your hard drive space, so you need to be selective with the files you save.

  • Downloaded files can still be deleted or changed, since your desktop and Google Drive are synced. Therefore, you still need to save important files somewhere else.

  • If the system crashes or if there is a malware attack,  the backup is lost forever.

6) How to back up Google Drive using Google Takeout

You can take Google Drive backup by exporting your data using Google’s web application – Google Takeout, and store it in your computer or any other external device.

What is Google Takeout? Click here to read more about Google Takeout.

Follow these steps to backup Google Drive to an external hard drive using Google Takeout.

  • Step 1: Log in to Google Takeout using your Google credentials.

  • Step 2: Choose Drive from the list of all Google products, and click “Next step.”

back up Google drive using Google takeout -  step 2
  • Step 3:  Choose the file type you would like the data to be sent as, the frequency you would like this action to happen (for example, if you would like your Google Drive data to be exported every two months), and the destination you would like your data to be sent to. 

backup google drive using google takeout step 3


  • When choosing a delivery method for your data, you can choose from having the files emailed to you or sent to a sync service (if you use one) like Dropbox or OneDrive.
  • Depending on the size of your data, Google may send you multiple emails with different sizes of files. You can choose to have these files sent as a .zip file or a .tgz (tar) file. The main difference between the two options is that a .zip file compresses every file independently in the archive, but a .tgz file compresses the archive as a whole.
    • Step 4: Click on “Create export.” You can see the export in progress.

    backup google drive using google takeout - step 4

    Note: The time taken will depend on the amount of data stored in the Drive.

    You will receive an email in a few minutes, hours, or a couple of days ( depending on the size of the files you are downloading) informing you that your Google Drive data is ready to be downloaded. You have to download the data within one week after receiving the email.
    • Step 5:  Click the “Download your files” button in the email, and you will now have a .zip file or .tgz file (depending on what you chose) on your computer, with all your Google Drive data.

    backup google drive using google takeout step 5

    Note: You can also use this method to transfer files to another Google Drive account.  For this, extract the data from the .zip or .tgz file. Open the Google Drive account to which you want to upload the data. Click +New-> File/Folder upload. Browse to the location of the downloaded files and upload them to the Drive.


    • Supports all Google Services 

    • Ability to send copied data directly to other clouds or download them to your computer.


    • You cannot download documents created by someone else. It won’t download the Shared folder for backup, even if there are files inside the folder created by you.

    • Recovery is going to be a tedious process: In case a situation comes where you have to recover all your Google Drive data, chances are that you’ll find different file types distributed across multiple .zip files. You will have to manually sort these and put them in order.

    Note:  Google Takeout is known to have technical issues. There has been a recent incident where some videos in Google Photos were mistakenly exported to unrelated users’ archives. 

    Here is a video on how to back up your Google Drive in just two minutes.

    So far, we have discussed the different ways to back up your Google Drive data. But, backing up your Google Drive is just one step in securing your business data. At the end of the day, the reason you backup your data is to quickly recover it in case of a permanent data loss.

    To know the different ways in which you can do this, read our in-depth article “How to Recover Permanently Deleted Files from Google Drive?

    Frequently asked questions

     1) Is Google Drive safe for business?

    Google takes the security of Google Drive very seriously. Google actively works to keep your online information safe by offering the following security measures:

    • Two-factor authentication

    • SSL encryption

    • Strong TLS standard encryption

    • Encrypted keys

    While these security features make Google Drive a safe and reliable service, there are always more ways to strengthen security when using a cloud-based system.

    2) Does Google Vault backup  Google Drive? 

     No, Google Vault doesn’t back up Google Drive; however, it can retain Google Drive files of active and suspended users. Click here to know more about the differences between Google Vault and a permanent backup solution.

    3) Can I back up my phone to Google Drive?

    Yes, you can. Google’s backup service is built-in to every Android phone. Go to * app on your Android device. Tap System > Backup. In the Google Backup and Reset Settings, make sure the backup option is turned on. (If these steps don’t match your phone’s settings, try searching for “backup” using the search toolbar of the Settings app )

    4) How do I back up Google Drive to a USB Drive?

    To back up your Google Drive data to a USB Drive, download the required files to your PC, following the same steps as in  How to Back up Google Drive to an External Hard Drive Once the files are downloaded to your PC, you can transfer it to a USB Drive following these steps:

    • Select the files you want to transfer. Click the Home tab which is on the upper-left corner of the file explorer window. A toolbar will appear at the top of the window.

    • Click the Move to option. (You can click the Copy to option if you want to keep  a copy of the files on your computer.)

    • In the drop-down menu that appears, click Choose location. This prompts a pop-up window. Select your USB Drive and click on Move. This will transfer the selected files from your computer to the USB drive.

    In this article
    • What is Google Drive backup?
    • Why should you back up Google Drive?
    • Google Drive backup tools for business users
    • Google Drive backup for individual users
    • Frequently asked questions