Backup Google Apps

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Backup Google AppsWHY BACKUP GOOGLE APPS?

Here is part one of a two-part post on Why and How you should Backup Google Apps data.

In the old system of on-site IT, backup was a usual occurrence. I am sure many of us can remember the days of swapping tapes etc. However, I often get asked why should I backup my data in the cloud. Is that not why I put it into the cloud in the first place? In some ways yes, however like any data you should not be vulnerable to a single point of failure. The benefits of adopting a cloud hosting structure is it makes it easier to back up, but does not negate the process of backing up your data.

Simply put, backup is a best practice, regardless of whether the data is stored locally or in the cloud.

If your work-flow would slow or stop altogether by the inability to access data in Google Apps, you should have a backup of your Google Apps domain.

The leading cause of data loss is hardware failure – good, old-fashioned hard drive crashes – which accounts for roughly 44% of all data losses. This is the problem Google Apps solves, and they should be commended for it. Google’s hardware redundancy is extraordinary and, for paying Google Apps customers, it extends beyond any single data center. [pquote_right]The leading cause of data loss is hardware failure – good, old-fashioned hard drive crashes – which accounts for roughly 44% of all data losses.[/pquote_right]Even in the event of a catastrophic outage at one of Google’s primary data centers, Google Apps could recover your entire data set within 24 hours. This, incidentally, also addresses the fifth leading cause of data loss – natural disasters, which account for 3% of all data losses.

So, with a little math, we see that Google has solved 47% of all data losses – 44% for hardware failure and 3% for natural disasters – which is a marked improvement over locally hosted data. That’s impressive. But it’s also less than half the problem. This brings us to the second leading cause of data loss, user error, which accounts for a whopping 32% of all data losses.

User Error

Nearly one-third of all data loss is due to a human mistake – accidentally disclosing a password or inadvertently deleting a critical file – which no amount of hardware or software redundancy can correct or prevent. In fact, the impact of user error is magnified within a Google Apps domain for two reasons.

[pquote_left]Moreover, if I delete a critical file – say, the Google Docs spreadsheet used to coordinate an entire department’s sales figures – I’ve deleted that file for everyone who uses it.[/pquote_left]First, the collaborative nature of Google Apps – which is one of the solution’s strengths – also means that any single user’s mistakes could impact several or all other users on your Google Apps domain. If I disclose my Google Apps password, I’m not just giving an intruder access to all my messages, documents and appointments, but to all the messages, documents and appointments I’ve shared with my fellow domain users. Moreover, if I delete a critical file – say, the Google Docs spreadsheet used to coordinate an entire department’s sales figures – I’ve deleted that file for everyone who uses it.

If I’m a domain administrator and I accidentally or prematurely delete one of my Google Apps domain users, I wipe out every item that user owns and shares with anyone on my domain. Worse yet, according to the Google Apps Security and Privacy Support FAQ, a deleted user account is completely unrecoverable.

Now you have some of the reason’s why you should backup Google Apps Data. Stay tuned for our next post and we will talk about some of the ways in which you can backup Google Apps data.

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