One of the many benefits of SaaS applications, is the ease at which various apps can be integrated with one another. Google Apps users can install third-party applications on to a company’s Google Apps domain. Pretty much anything in the Google Apps Marketplace is fair game. For example, the project management application that connects directly to the Google Calendar or the accounting system that builds and populates spreadsheets and reports in Google Drive. These are all good examples of third-party applications.
Unfortunately sometimes these applications are configured incorrectly or aren’t employed according to the developer’s directions. Google can’t guarantee that the third-party apps in its Marketplace are foolproof. Like any software, third-party Google Apps products occasionally have bugs, and even the ones that don’t are quite often easy to misuse. The danger lies in the amount of access these applications have to your Google Apps data. When you install third-party apps on your Google domain, you grant those applications a specific - and usually quite broad - set of permissions.
Why Google Can’t Stop Third-Party App Errors
Just like Google can’t tell good commands from bad ones when they come from individual users, Google can’t distinguish correct vs. incorrect instructions from third-party apps. For all Google knows, you wanted your CRM app to delete all your existing contacts and start fresh.
What Third-Party App Error Can Cost You
Pretty much everything. Third-party app error is amongst the most dangerous threats to Google Apps data because third-party apps might touch an entire service or domain. While most applications don’t touch all your Google Apps data, some do, and all of them can affect enough of your critical business info to do serious damage - not just to your Google Apps but to your entire business.
How to Defend Against Third-Party App Error
The best defense is to have a copy of your data where a third-party application can’t reach it. A secure, independent backup of your Google Apps domain data means that even if a malfunctioning third-party app does overwrite, corrupt or delete your Google Apps domain data, you’ve still got a fallback copy you can rely upon. Check out cloud-to-cloud backup solutions that have the ability to perform “non-destructive restores” which basically means restoring data without overwriting existing data. Having a Google Apps backup is critical, especially when your company starts integrating third-party applications into their Google Apps domain.
For more information on how to protect your Google Apps data, check out “A Complete Guide: Google Apps and Your Data: Five Potential Threats That Google Can’t Defend Against, But You Can.”