Many organizations today are heavily relying on cloud Software-as-a-Service offerings for business productivity, communication, and collaboration. One of the leading solutions on the market is Google Workspace.
As more business-critical data is placed in SaaS environments like Google Workspace, does it alleviate the need to worry about data protection? Are backups still needed with SaaS? A recent incident involving Google Workspace highlights the importance of SaaS data backups and the vital role of SaaS backups in modern disaster recovery.
Months of Google data lost
Recently, Google users reported that months’ worth of files mysteriously vanished without a trace or evidence of any apparent issue. From many users’ descriptions, it was like their accounts were rolled back in time, with some stating they had lost as much as six months’ worth of data.
Google had no explanation for the apparent data loss and was investigating the cause. Google support advised customers not to make any major changes to their accounts while they attempted to determine the root cause.
You can read the official Google forum thread here: Google Drive files suddenly disappeared. For those organizations using cloud services and storage, it is a stark reminder that just because your data is housed in the cloud doesn’t mean it can’t be lost.
Also, even more sobering, if you read in the stated “shared responsibility models” of most hyperscale cloud service providers, including Google, the burden of ensuring data is protected falls on the customer.
Cloud backups are needed
Even though Google Workspace and other cloud SaaS solutions like Microsoft 365 have revolutionized how businesses operate, incidents like the unexpected deletion of Google Drive files demonstrate the potential risks associated with storing all your data in the cloud and the need for good data management practices and data protection.
Ultimately, your data in the cloud can be lost due to many of the same types of data loss events on-premises, such as:
- Accidental deletion by users (human error)
- Malicious attack (ransomware, intentional file deletions, etc)
- Power outages and failed power backups (In 2019, Amazon lost over 1 TB of customer data over Memorial Day weekend due to a power failure)
- Hardware and software failure – Hardware and software failures do happen in the cloud as they do on-premises. While cloud environments are much better prepared for such events, data can still be lost.
- Natural disasters – If redundant systems, power backups, and other fail safes don’t operate as expected in the event of a natural disaster, it can lead to failed systems and data loss.
Considering the possible sources of data loss and the responsibilities of the customers in the shared responsibility model, data protection is a must.
Effective Google Workspace data backups
Daily backups of Google Workspace data are needed for business continuity and data protection. Despite the nth degree of resiliency offered by cloud hyperscalers like Google, as the recent incident shows, data can still be lost.
Regular data backup and automated backup processes by a third-party backup solution are the only way to be sure your data is safeguarded against data loss incidents. It is the only guarantee you have to recover critical data from the data stored in your backups.
Evaluating Backup Solutions for Google Workspace
One of the first steps in an effective Google Workspace backup is selecting the right third-party backup solutions for Google Workspace data backup, which involves understanding your organization’s needs.
Many organizations assume using native Google services like Google Vault is enough to protect their data. However, Google Vault is not intended to be a true backup solution. It is meant for information governance and eDiscovery, and It does not contain the features and capabilities needed for a true enterprise backup solution.
However, the following factors, among others, should be considered when choosing a backup solution:
- Ease of use, reliability, and comprehensiveness of the backup
- Automated backups
- Backup data security, such as data encryption, in flight and at rest
- Ability to choose where backup storage is located
- Flexible retention policies
- Ability to protect multiple Google Workspace domains
Google backup strategy
After selecting a backup solution for Google Workspace backups, develop a backup strategy for your critical Google Workspace data. Having the right strategy in conjunction with the proper backup tools is vital for your overall disaster recovery plan.
Note the following points and questions to consider with your Google Workspace backup strategy:
- Think about your RPO and RTO – What are your restore point objectives and restore time objectives you need to meet for your business-critical SLAs? Backups and recovery allow businesses to meet their RPO and RTO goals.
- Does your strategy allow you to recover data from all Google Workspace services? Some backup solutions only protect certain Google services and not others.
- Are your backups automated? You want a fully automated solution for consistency and the best coverage for protecting your data.
- Can you access your data outside of the protected environment? Data must be accessible, even if the environment it protects is not.
- Monitor your organization’s data to understand what data you have and if it is protected.
- Leverage cybersecurity along with data backup – Cybersecurity and backups go hand-in-hand. They both help to protect your data and ensure it is always accessible.
- Does your organization perform regular backup process testing – Testing that backup data is restorable is crucial.
- Do you have data protection protocols in place? Are there appropriate administrative, technical or physical means to guard against unauthorized access to the information contained in data backups?
Meeting your RPO and RTO with backup and recovery
Data backup and data recovery are a critical aspect of any backup strategy, allowing organizations to meet their RPO and RTO goals. In the event of data loss, how quickly can data be restored? Even if you have a cloud backup solution that can effectively back up your data, what does the process look like to restore the data? It directly affects your restore time objective. The quicker data can be restored, the more quickly users can gain access to critical data.
This largely depends on the capabilities of your backup solution. Keep in mind large cloud service providers can also impose limitations on the number of API calls that can be made and the speed at which cloud data can be restored, which can affect RTO.
Also, the amount of data to recover directly affects RTO. It underscores the relationship between data protection and cybersecurity solutions to minimize the amount of data loss at the hands of malicious code or users and give quick visibility and automated responses to potential data loss events to minimize the amount of data recovery needed.
Spinbackup: A modern Google Workspace backup solution
Effective Google Workspace backup and recovery largely hinges on having the right backup solution. Spinbackup, as part of the Spin.ai solution to protect Google Workspace, has modern features and capabilities to ensure you can avoid the security and compliance gaps that lead to data loss.
Note the following capabilities:
- Automated backups 1-3x daily
- Ability to store your backups in multiple public cloud environments, including AWS, Google, and Azure, or you can bring your own storage location
- Store data in 32 locations around the world
- Provides a flexible retention policy from 6 months to indefinitely for historical data recovery and access purposes
- Enables users to self-service restore data as needed
- Admins can download or export data as needed
- 100% data recoverability
- Spinbackup data protection is at the core of other Spin solutions like Ransomware Recovery, allowing you to automatically restore any files affected by ransomware data loss.
With the Google Workspace data loss event mentioned at the outset, backups and recovery are the core strategy to recover access to lost data resources. Spinbackup provides the data protection tools needed and the integration with Spin.ai to bolster your compliance, data security, and peace of mind.
Public cloud software-as-a-service environments are incredibly powerful. They have allowed organizations to stay on the cutting edge of communication, collaboration, and productivity in the modern era of the hybrid workforce.
However, organizations must take their data seriously and have a comprehensive backup and recovery solution to protect against all forms of loss and corruption in cloud SaaS environments and meet RPO and RTO requirements. Spinbackup is a modern solution that allows businesses to do just that, effectively preventing governance, compliance, and data protection gaps.
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