Do businesses need Google Drive Backup?
Yes! Did you know that Google Drive is vulnerable to data loss incidents?
For instance, a single malware attack can rob all your organization’s data leading to drastic consequences. This could even be the end of your business.
Isn’t it quite scary?
With more data comes more responsibility!
Here, we present all the possible ways to have Google Drive backup to protect your data from unforeseen situations.
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Introduction to Google Drive
Google Drive was introduced to both personal and business users in the year 2012 to help them store data on the Cloud. The number of Google Drive users have steadily grown from 120 million in 2013 to 1 billion in 2017.
By 2014, 58% of fortune 500 companies were already using Google Drive.
The data stored in Google Drive could include sales pitches, product designs, intellectual property, financial statement, purchase orders, and so on.
Can you trust Google to store such priceless data?
With 1 billion users storing more than 10 exabytes of data – an exabyte is 1 million terabyte – on Google Drive, it’s remarkable that they provide 99.9% data availability to their users with no scheduled downtime.
Google replicates and distributes all your data across its various data centers. These data centers are located in various parts of the world. Hence, even during a natural calamity, your data will be accessible.
Google Drive Is Not 100% Foolproof
Google’s trusted security measures may trick you into believing that your organization’s data is absolutely safe.
But, there are serious pitfalls that an organization might overlook, resulting in unforeseen data loss that might not even be due to Google’s fault.
Let’s look at a few scenarios where Google Drive’s data could be compromised.
Google Drive Is Vulnerable to Human Error and Malicious Activity
Carelessness or malicious intentions of employees can lead to the loss of valuable data on your Google Drive.
Here are a few scenarios to consider:
- An employee accidentally emptied the Drive trash that has an important file. There is no way the employee can recover the file without an administrator’s assistance.
- The IT administrator accidentally deleted a Google account. All the data associated with that account is lost forever.
- An employee carelessly deleted an important file from his computer which is in sync with Google Drive. The file will be automatically deleted from the Drive as well.
- Someone has gained access to your Google Drive and deleted a folder that is in sync with your local computer. You will never be able to recover the folder.
Google Drive Is Vulnerable to Malware Attacks
You thought only on-premise devices get attacked by malware?
No, Google Drive is also not spared.
Google has an amazing feature called Sync which syncs cloud data across devices. This sync feature exposes online Google Applications to malware attacks like ransomware.
Imagine, a ransomware encrypted the files in a Google Sync-enabled device. Google dutifully syncs the infected files to Google Drive and to all other devices which are in sync with it.
This can be a bigger disaster if any of the infected files are in your Team Drive.
To add fuel to the fire,
Google does not take responsibility for any of your data loss!
This is what Google says in its terms of service:
When permitted by law, Google, and Google’s suppliers and distributors, will not be responsible for lost profits, revenues, or data, financial losses or indirect, special, consequential, exemplary, or punitive damages.”
Having a backup of Google Drive will ensure that your organization’s data is still accessible to you in the event of accidental data loss or malware attacks.
How to Have Google Drive Backup
Let’s explore the possible options to have a Google Drive backup to protect your files.
Manually downloading the Drive files is the easiest way of having a Google Drive backup.
- Login to your Google Drive.
- Select all of your files using the shortcut “Ctrl + A” – Hold the control key on your keyboard and press the alphabet ‘A’ key.
Note: You can also download selected files for your Backup.
- Right-click and choose “Download.”
The time taken to download the files will depend on the amount of data in your Drive.
The downloaded files will be in a ZIP format which can be extracted and viewed.
The “Shared with me folder” can also be downloaded manually in the same way.
Note: This option is applicable to both your personal and organizational needs.
- You will have to download the Drive files at regular intervals to keep the backup up-to-date.
- You will have to delete older backups regularly to save your computer’s or backup device’s storage space.
Google Drive Backup Using Google Takeout
You can also have Google Drive Backup by exporting the data using Google’s web application, Google Takeout.
What is Google Takeout? Read here.
How to use Google Takeout?
- Login to Google Takeout using your Google credentials.
- Choose Drive from the list of all Google products.
- Click on “NEXT > CREATE ARCHIVE.”
Note: The time taken will depend on the amount of data stored in the Drive.
- Once it’s completed, click on the “DOWNLOAD” option to download your data as a ZIP file.
Store the copy in a safe location for future access.
- Google Takeout will not let you download the files created by someone else.
- The folders located in ‘Shared with me’ part of the Drive cannot be exported using Google Takeout, even if the folder has files created by you.
Google Drive Backup Using Google Vault
What is Google Vault?
Google Vault is an archiving tool that retains user data stored in Mail and Drive regardless of end users’ actions, including permanent deletions.
Note: Google Vault is only available for users who have subscribed to G Suite Business or Enterprise plan.
Though Google Vault is not a backup solution, it can be used to export your Drive files in a limited way for backup needs.
To know more about the differences between Backup and Archive solutions, read this.
How to use Google Vault?
To export your files, set a retention rule for your Google Drive in Google Vault. To know how, click here.
Once the retention rule is set, you can search and download the lost files even if it is permanently deleted from your Drive.
Note: Only administrators can manage this process of data recovery in Google Vault.
Searching for a file in Google Vault:
- Login to Google Vault using your admin credentials.
- Create a new matter or click on an existing matter.
- Click on the search module on the left pane, choose “Drive” as the type of application and provide the email address of the user who has lost the file.
Note: You can also filter the files based on date range and advanced terms.
- Click on “Search” button to list all the files with the specified search conditions.
Downloading the files:
- To export all the files, click on “Export results.”
- To download a specific file: open the file, click on the ellipsis icon on the top right corner and click on “Download.”
- You will need the administrator’s assistance to restore a file from Google Vault.
- The exported files can only be manually imported back to Drive. There is no direct restore option available.
- Sharing settings and folder structure cannot be restored easily.
- Google Vault cannot be used to restore files that are lost due to account deletions.
Google Drive Backup Using SysCloud
SysCloud offers a complete Google Drive backup solution that does not have any of the drawbacks associated with using inbuilt features and native tools.
Some of the features exclusive to third-party applications like SysCloud are:
- Restore Drive files even if the user account is permanently deleted,
- Directly restore a single file, a complete folder or your entire Drive back to its actual destination,
- Restore file(s) with all its sharing settings and folder structure intact,
- Provide self-service restore for end users, resulting in faster data recovery and reduced load on IT administrators,
- Restore files to another user’s account, and
- Audit all activities performed within the application and generate reports.
How to use SysCloud’s backup application?
- Once logged in as an administrator, you will see the homepage of SysCloud Suite of applications.
- Navigate to the Backup module and choose “Archive & Restore.”
- All the users – including the deleted users – and their backup statuses will be listed here.
- Click on the user whose data has to be recovered. All the backed up data associated with this particular user will be shown.
- Navigate to the section “Drive.”
Note: This list includes files which are owned and shared with the user.
How to restore Google Drive Backup?
- Use the search bar to find a lost file.
- Restore it back to its destination with all its sharing settings and folder structure by clicking on “Restore → Selected Items.”
You can also restore an entire Drive or specific folders.
Can You Get Away without Having a Google Drive Backup?
Google has limited options to recover lost files without having a Drive backup. Let’s explore the native data recovery options available in Google.
What if an employee deletes a file by mistake?
If an employee accidentally deletes a file from Drive, it can be restored from the trash as long as the trash is not emptied.
Caution: If you delete a file which was shared with you, it will not be available in your trash to restore. You will have to ask the owner to reshare the file.
What if the employee empties the trash?
If it is a personal Google account, there is no way you can restore the deleted file.
If the Google account is for business use – email@example.com – the IT administrator can restore the data.
If you are an IT administrator, you can restore permanently deleted data of a user from the admin console.
- Login to G Suite admin console and click on “Users.”
- Navigate to the user whose data needs to be restored.
- Click on the ellipsis icon and choose “RESTORE DATA.”
- Choose a probable date range during which the file was lost.
- Choose the application as “Drive.”
- Click on “RESTORE.”
- Files that were permanently deleted before 25 days cannot be restored.
- This feature does not let you select the files that need to be restored. It automatically restores everything that got deleted during the specified date range leading to a clutter of unnecessary files in your Drive, consuming storage space.
- This does not restore the file or folder share settings.
What if a file is deleted from Team Drive?
In a Team Drive, any member with full access can create, edit, and delete files.
New to Team Drive? Click here.
Let’s assume a dissatisfied team member deletes a file permanently. In this scenario, the IT administrator can restore the data.
- Login to G Suite admin console and Navigate to “Apps → G Suite → Drive and Docs.”
- Click on “Manage Team Drives.”
- Navigate to the Team Drive where the file got deleted and click on the “Restore” icon.
- Choose a probable date range during which the file was deleted and click on “RESTORE DATA.”
- The deleted file will be restored to the selected Team Drive.
- Files that were deleted before 25 days cannot be restored by the administrator.
- Team Drive is available only for G Suite users who have subscribed to Business/Enterprise/Education plans.
- Unlike Drive – where the deleted files stay in the trash forever – the deleted files in Team Drive stay in the trash only for 30 days.
- This feature does not let you select the file that needs to be restored. It restores everything that got deleted during the selected date range. This will lead to a clutter of unnecessary files in the Drive and consumption of storage space.
What if the lost file is inside a folder created by someone else?
If a shared folder gets deleted, the files that you created inside this shared folder will no longer be listed in the Drive folders.
To find such files, you can use an advanced search option as explained here.
Limitation: This advanced search option does not let you view the missing file if you didn’t create it.
Note: The folder structure and sharing permissions will not be restored.
Using Drive as a Backup Solution
Data stored on electronic devices like smartphones, hard drives, and laptops are vulnerable because these devices are subject to malfunctions, accidents, and thefts.
You can protect your data by copying it to Google Drive which is safer than the physical storage devices.
How to protect your files on your computer?
You can protect your files on your desktop by creating a copy of them in Google Drive. This saves your data in the event of hardware failure and device thefts.
Take Backup manually:
- Sign in to your Google account and navigate to Google Drive.
- Create a folder for backup: Right click → New folder.
- Create subfolders as needed and move your important files into them.
Remember: Update this folder regularly for up-to-date backup.
Do not wait for tomorrow; tomorrow never comes!
Does Google Drive backup automatically?
Yes, by using Google Backup and Sync application.
How to use Google Backup and Sync?
All you have to do is download Google Backup and Sync application on your desktop. Choose any folder and all its files will automatically be copied to your Google Drive.
Supposedly, you can backup your entire computer or device to Google Drive.
Note: Google Backup and Sync can also copy the Drive files to your Computer.
- Download and install Google Backup and Sync.
- Launch Google Backup and Sync on your desktop.
- Enter your Google credentials.
- Choose the folders on your desktop that needs to be backed up to the Drive. Google Backup and Sync would show 3 default folders: Desktop, Documents, and Pictures.
- Choose other relevant folders from your computer by clicking on “CHOOSE FOLDER” option.
Pro-tip: Upload your photos directly to Google Photos to make use of the free unlimited storage. Photos uploaded to Drive will consume storage space.
- Google Backup and Sync can also copy your Drive files to your desktop, thus providing a two-way backup process.
- You can either choose to copy all the files from the Drive to your desktop or choose a specific folder to be copied.
- Clicking on “START” will take you to a folder created to store Drive files.
- Google Backup and Sync will also create a shortcut on your desktop to access the Drive files.
- Once the application is installed, it will start copying files from the chosen folders to your Drive and vice versa.
- To check the status of the copying and syncing process, click on Google Backup and Sync icon on the right corner of the taskbar.
- Wait for the copying process to be completed.
- Once it is set up, all the files you create and modify on the selected folders will also be available on your Google Drive.
- To view those files, navigate to your “Google Drive → Computers → My Computer.”
- Similarly, you can access your Drive files on your computer.
- Deleting a file on your computer will automatically remove the file from your Google Drive and vice versa. This can be changed in Google Backup and Sync settings. Click on “Google Backup and Sync icon on the taskbar → Ellipsis icon → Preferences → My Computer.”
- Under the section “Removing items,” choose among the 3 options: Remove items everywhere, Don’t remove items everywhere, and Ask me before removing items everywhere.
- Google Backup and Sync can back up only the Drive files that are owned by you, excluding the Drive files shared with you. If you want to copy the shared files, you will have to manually download them to your computer.
Google Backup and Sync is highly beneficial to small businesses, as this is a simple tool to copy their important files to the Cloud.
How to protect files on smartphones?
With more and more companies modifying their workplace policy to include BYOD – Bring Your Own Device – a lot of business-critical information gets stored in employees’ mobile devices.
Hence, it is crucial to back up your data stored on your smartphone.
Every one of us signs in with our Google account when we set up a new Android smartphone. This account can automatically backup your data.
- Launch “Settings” and navigate to “Additional settings → Backup & Reset.”
Note: This is tested using the smartphone Redmi 4. The Navigation will vary based on the Android version and the smartphone.
- By default, the feature “Back up my data” is ON.
- This backs up only the following data:
1. Call history,
2. Device settings – wifi passwords, wallpaper, default apps, and
3. App data – Mostly Google Apps data.
- To view your smartphone’s backup in your Google Drive, click on “Backups.”
As you can see, this is not a complete backup solution because data like contacts, photos, and third-party applications are not backed up.
How to secure your Contacts?
You can back up contacts to Google by saving it to your Google account.
Sign in with your Google account in your new mobile. Save your contacts with Google account by choosing “Save to Google.”
Keep in mind: Ensure that the sync feature is enabled to ensure data is consistent across the devices you use. You can enable this by launching Settings and navigating to “Sync → Google → Your google account → Turn on the service Contacts.”
How to secure your Photos?
With Google Photos backup, you can copy all your photos on your smartphone to Google Photos application.
You will have to manually enable this feature by launching the application Google Photos and navigating to “Settings → Backup & Sync → Turn on Backup & Sync.”
Once this setting is turned on, all your photos will be available on your Google account and can be accessed here.
Things to keep in mind:
- Photos on your smartphone will be in sync with Google Photos. If you delete a photo on your smartphone, it will also be deleted from Google Photos.
- These photos do not consume your Drive storage as long as they are stored in high quality (16 MP). Storing photos in their original quality will eat up your drive storage. You can change this setting by navigating to “Google Photos → Settings → Backup & sync → Upload size.”
- Only your camera folder is backed up. If you want to backup photos used in other apps like WhatsApp, Instagram, etc. enable backup for these apps by navigating to “Google Photos → Settings → Backup & sync → Backup device folders.”
How to backup third-party applications?
Some applications have their own backup options. For example, WhatsApp backup can be done by navigating to “Settings → Chats → Chat backup → BACK UP.”
Note: The time taken to back up your WhatsApp data will depend on the amount of data.
Where to find WhatsApp backup in Google Drive?
To view your WhatsApp backup in your Drive, click on “Backups.”