This is the third post in our three-part series on securing a Google Apps domain. You can read part one here and part two here. The complete guide to enhancing the security of your data can be downloaded here.
In our first two blog posts, we gave you the basics to protecting your data within Google Apps, including mobile device management capabilities. Today, we will go through the disaster recovery features you should be aware of in case you fall victim to the statistics.
Disaster Recovery Features
Let us assume that the worst has occurred and your security measures have not prevented unauthorized access to your Google Apps 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.
Native Google Apps data recovery
Each of the core Google 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 Contacts has built in version control, which allows you to “roll back” your Contacts to a previous state. While you can’t restore any single contact entry to a previous version, it is generally possible to get some or all of your lost Contacts data back by rolling back.
Google Drive supports both individual file versioning, which lets you roll back a corrupted Google doc 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 offers a very limited ability to recover deleted events by clicking the Undo link that appears on the page immediately after an event is purged. If you do not immediately select the Undo option, a calendar event is permanently deleted.
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 Google Apps 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.
Third-party Google Apps backup and restore
The Google Apps Marketplace offers a number of backup and recovery apps like Backupify that keep independent, third-party copies of your Google Apps domain data. These apps ensure that even if original data is purged from Google Apps, a second copy of your irreplaceable documents, messages, contacts and calendars events is preserved and at the ready for quick restoration.
We hope you found our three part series on securing a Google Apps domain helpful. If you would like to read the complete ebook, please download it below.