The Sales team here at Backupify does a great job of answering a wide variety of questions about Google Apps cloud backup day in and day out. I caught up with Mark Eaton who is a member of the Backupify sales team to find out what the most commonly asked questions are that organizations are asking before backing up their data in the cloud.  Without further ado, here are the ten most common questions and the answer’s Mark provides to help organizations choose the best Google Apps backup for their needs.

Doesn’t Google back my data up already? Why would I need more Backup?

Actually they don’t.  Google is responsible for backing up the infrastructure that your data exists on and they do a great job in this area. However, they are not responsible for your data itself. When Google refers to backup they mean the redundancy of their own infrastructure. This means that if one server goes down there are others that can still access your information. On the other hand, if one of your users deletes important files, you are on your own to try and recover that data - this is why a third party Google Apps backup is a valuable investment.

But don’t take Mark’s word for it. Here is an excerpt from Google’s license agreement highlighting what they do and do not protect:

7.1 Intellectual Property Rights. Except as expressly set forth herein, this Agreement does not grant either party any rights, implied or otherwise, to the other’s content or any of the other’s intellectual property. As between the parties, Customer owns all Intellectual Property Rights in Customer Data, and Google owns all Intellectual Property Rights in the Services.

How does the Backup process work?

Your system may vary, but in most cases it all starts with an authenticated sync between your domain and your cloud backup providers services through the use of Google’s APIs. This is a very fancy way of saying the two systems talk to one another, allowing Backupify or any other cloud backup provider to read data inside your Google account. Once that secure connection is made via the API connection, the cloud data provider creates an encrypted connection between your Google Apps information and Amazon Web Services, which is where your data is stored in the cloud.

What happens when I remove a user in Google apps?  What happens when someone leaves my company?

This is a key differentiator and a question to ask your sale rep, whether it’s Mark or someone else. The users information should remain in the backup system. This is one of the main value propositions to having a third party Google Apps backup system in place.  Does your organization have retention requirements for your data in place? Or is there a need to maintain information for auditing purposes? These are the questions you should be asking your sales rep. Your cloud backup provider should give you a completely independent and accessible source of your cloud data. If they don’t, you should find a provider who does. Additionally, you will want the ability to export any data that has been copied to your cloud-to-cloud backup providers archives.

How do I restore Google Apps data?

One of the most common questions we hear, it’s an important process to understand the capabilities for both Gmail and Google Apps Backup. For Gmail, when researching your provider of choice, you will want to make sure they can route the information back to the original location it was backed up from. Your restore should include any labels or attachments associated with the message. If you can’t do this, your Google Apps backup is far less useful to you when the time comes to restore.

For Google Drive, your restore should be kept in a separate restore folder. This best practice gives the end user an easier way to find the file they are looking for. And when you restore Google Drive it should maintain its existing sharing settings for other users, a convenient feature that will save your team time in the long run.

Other features you should inquire about with your sales rep include the ability to restore multi-items, different user restores and the choice to either restore an item back to it’s original folder or to a separate restore folder, setup by your Google Apps backup provider.

How easy is it for a user to delete information from the backup?

The user should not be able to delete information from the backup system. Your users should be able to access, search, and restore the information that has been backed up from their account. However, they should not have the ability to remove data or themselves from the system.  This means you can save time by letting them perform their own restores without having to worry about data loss. If the provider you are considering cannot offer this level of protection, you should move on to another provider who can.

How does cloud backup compare to Google Vault?

The main difference is that Google Vault is an archiving device versus a backup provider that is making a full backup of your data in a third party system. The differences between the two are focused on the speed to recovery and the needs around eDiscovery.  Vault is currently creating a copy of every email sent or received in real time.  It gives you the ability to build custom searches across the entire domain for specific information needed.

Your job as the consumer is to do your research. A robust cloud data backup provider will cover all services running automated backups every 8 hrs. You should have the ability to search, restore, download, or browse the information by service for any of the users added to the backup system. This is far and away an improvement over the basic archiving features Vault offers.

Do I have to backup my entire domain?

No, you should have the option to select the users you feel are storing the most critical information for your organization. This is also important when it comes to determining your monthly cost. Why pay to backup every user if you only care about 20% of your most critical users? Be sure to ask this question when talking to any cloud backup provider sales rep about their capabilities.

How do you keep data in the system?  What is my retention limit?

“Indefinitely” is the only answer that matters to this question. As long as you remain a customer of your cloud backup provider, that data should be backed up for you. Additionally, some organizations have requirements for maintaining data. If that is the case for your business, ask your sales rep about customizable retention limits. If the provider is flexible and has your organizations best intentions in mind, they will offer this service to you.

How do I access my data and who has access to it?

Most providers will grant you access to your data based on what’s called your Google OAuth token. This token is the primary authentication process and is common for accessing data in third party platforms across the web. As an admin, you should have 100% control to grant other users access to your Admin settings and data. You should be in control of your data at all times, if not, it’s time to find a provider who will give you this level of control.

How does licensing typically work?

Most providers will give you multiple options. Typical choices include the ability to purchase backup services directly inside the application or opt for annual invoicing by (Check, Wire Transfer, or Credit card).

What other questions do you have about Google Apps Backup? Please leave them in the comments section below and we will do our best to answer them!