Let’s assume that the worst has occurred and your security measures have not prevented unauthorized access to your G Suite domain. Data has been corrupted or destroyed by outside attackers – or, more likely, the mistakes or misdeed of your own users – and you need to get it back. That’s where disaster recovery techniques and technologies come in. Google has some basic disaster recovery systems in place but for true business-grade protection, a third-party solution will likely be necessary.
Each of the core G Suite Apps – Gmail, Contacts, Drive, Calendar and Sites – has some basic methods for recovering data that was deleted and/or corrupted.
Gmail allows users to restore any items moved to the trash folder within the last 30 days. Items more than a month old are permanently deleted and unrecoverable.
Google Drive supports both individual file versioning, which lets you roll back a corrupted Google document to a previous state, and restoration from the Drive trash folder, which lets you recover any file that hasn’t been permanently deleted. File versioning only applies to “native” Google word processing documents, spreadsheets and presentations; non-native files stored in Google Drive are not versioned. Drive items permanently deleted by their owners are also unrecoverable.
Google Calendar keeps deleted events in the Trash for 30 days. There, users can permanently delete or restore events. Only users who created the event or have editing permissions will see it in their Trash. It’s important to note that anyone with calendar access or event editing permissions can permanently delete an event or restore it.
Google Sites offers both page versioning, which allows you to revert a Sites page back to a previous state, as well as the ability to restore a Sites page from the Sites Trash folder within 30 days of its original deletion. Sites pages that have been deleted for more than a month are unrecoverable.
Google’s built-in data recovery options are intended largely to address user error, which accounts for the majority of data loss in cloud applications. That said, the owner of any G Suite item can permanently delete it from its respective Trash folder at any time, making the data unrecoverable. If a rogue user or attacker is determined to permanently remove data from Google Apps, Google’s native disaster recovery tools will likely be of little help.
The G Suite Marketplace offers a number of backup and recovery apps Backupify that keep independent, third-party copies of your Google Apps domain data. These apps ensure that even if original data is purged from G Suite, a second copy of your irreplaceable documents, messages, contacts and calendars events is preserved and at the ready for quick restoration.
For more on how to set up domain administrator recovery options, how to prevent unauthorized domain access and more, download our eBook: How to Secure a Google Apps Domain.