Google Apps Backup and Restore

Backup services for G Suite: A quick guide for application managers

Guide – Google Apps Backup and Restore

If you’re responsible for management of your company’s G Suite application, (previously/otherwise known as Google Apps for Business), you’ll appreciate its ease of use, reliability and mobile friendly features. Yet even though G Suite is a comprehensive, intuitive set of productivity apps, there may be times where a file is deleted or moved off to a device and lost due to accidental or malicious activity. CloudAlly’s Google Apps backup and restore service is your best defense against data loss, whether you have a large G Suite deployment or even a single user.

Beware the security threat from within!

According to many sources including CSO Online, the biggest threat to company data isn’t from external hackers – it is from internal employees. Strong data ownership policies are vital, and mitigating your risk with an automated file backup and recovery service is equally as important.

If you are G Suite Enterprise, Business or Education client, you may say, “Hold on, I subscribed to Google Vault, it’s a backup service, right?”. As we explained in recent blog post, Vault is an archive system for G Suite that enables legal holds, archiving and audit compliance, and there are limitations you should consider.

CloudAlly’s backup service complements Google Vault, and mitigates data loss by providing point-in-time recovery for an entire mailbox, folders, or individual items, unlike Vault’s item level functionality. You can discover more about strengths and weaknesses of Google Vault (and the opportunities of running both services) by clicking the link above. Our AWS storage sites in the US, Australia and the EU ensure business and personal users around the world can quickly backup and recover their G Suite data with minimal business interruption.

Have concerns about security or compliance?

Data in our AWS storage infrastructure is protected with AES-256-bit encryption, which meets compliance requirements like ISO 27001 and HIPAA. Our website and application have been reviewed and authorized by GoDaddy, Google, Amazon Web Services (AWS). CloudAlly participates in the Cloud Security Alliance. Data in motion is secured using SSL (HTTPS) encrypted servers.

For businesses that aren’t prepared to make the financial and time investment required to set up Google Vault, or don’t foresee needing to set up retention schedules on electronic files, or needing to submit user activity reports to an auditor, CloudAlly is a powerful stand-alone backup service for file and content preservation.

Backups for more than file storage and sharing

Working with a Google service like G Suite, it’s easy to be complacent with the idea that you can simply set up a set of folders and permissions in Drive, and the files will be stored there as long as your employees need access to them.

As users become accustomed to how Docs, Slides and Sheets automatically save their files – they may also take it for granted that files can be easily moved between folders, and it’s easy to get to them from their computer or mobile device. Until they are deleted on a laptop by accident, and the desktop sync app runs, and files are put into the Trash bin and stored there for a limited time (typically 30 days).

Backup services are important for other G Suite Apps as well. Think about when your employees change their Android phone, or if they delete someone from their Contacts by accident then need it again. Gmail and Calendar backup services can be extremely helpful should an employee leave the business, and you need to access their messages for the new hire that takes their place. Other Google Apps backup and restore functions we provide include Tasks, Chats and Classic Sites.

Easy activation, setup and configuration

It only takes a few minutes to setup a CloudAlly account and activate backups for your entire organization. No technical programming expertise required.

Step 1 – Click on the “Sign Up” link to start your Free Trial for 15 days. Confirm your trial account by clicking the URL we send you via email.

Step 2 –Sign into your CloudAlly account and click on activate a new backup. In a separate tab, sign into your G Suite account with administrative privileges and then from the CloudAlly backup screen click on “Integrate with Google”

Step 3 – The system will auto-discover all of your G Suite users and you can either activate all or selective backups as needed. You can also specify your backup time in the preferences section.

When you are logged into G Suite, you can always get to your CloudAlly dashboard quickly by clicking the “9-dot” apps icon at the top right hand corner of your screen. The left-hand administrative menu offers controls and settings for:

  • Backup scheduling management (Daily, every three days or weekly)
  • Data restore and download
  • Two-factor authentication for heightened security
  • OAuth Authentication (using social media credentials for convenience and security)
  • User management
  • Convenient in-app support documentation and ticketing
  • Guides and tutorials

No Fine Print “Gotchyas”

With some backup services, the basic subscription cost is low, but you are limited to a small amount of storage space before prices increase drastically.  Others charge higher fees for performance Service Level Agreements. CloudAlly doesn’t have pricing tiers based on consumption or bandwidth, our affordable Google Apps backup service plan is priced at $30 US per user per year, with volume discounts available for more than 100 users.

Our partnership with Amazon enables us to offer a 99.9% uptime SLA, and offers you peace of mind that your backup data will be available when needed, so you can retrieve all your files from a specific backup execution, or even a single file at a time.

Cloudally’s Cloud to Cloud backup software is an affordable way to safeguard G Suite data and content. It’s easy to set up, your data can be restored to your accounts with ease, and your data is stored on AWS S3 Secure storage. Once you set up and schedule your backups, we monitor and protect your critical data so you don’t have to purchase or manage onsite storage drives or appliance

According to the 2017 Ponemon Cost of Data Breach study, each corporate record which is lost or stolen costs businesses $141. Though this is down from $158 in 2016, how many records do you store in G Suite? Consider the cost and business interruption which could result from user error or malicious data theft, compared to the cost of Google Apps backup and recovery from CloudAlly, which is negligible and a sound insurance policy to assist you in your day of need.

As a G Suite for Business administrator, you are often called upon to solve problems like accidentally deleted files, e-mail and contacts. In other cases, a website refresh may go in the wrong direction, and a r restore to a previous iteration is often the best pivot. Don’t let complex data backups and recovery processes cause business interruption. CloudAlly is the affordable way to make scheduled and on-demand backups easy, and data recovery painless.

Ready to sign up and safeguard your data? Get started now with a FREE TRIAL

Does CloudAlly Replace Google Vault?

Google Vault

You use Google Vault alongside your G Suite email, hangout chats, groups, and Drive. So, your data is protected from accidental or malicious loss, right? No.

Google Vault is not a backup solution; it’s an eDiscovery and archiving solution with hold, search, and export features in case of litigation. And it isn’t fool proof.

Just recently, Google Vault was caught up in a security leak by where a large trove of private documents was released to the public. Plus, there are significant limitations to what Google Vault can do in terms of archiving data, protecting against data loss, and recovering information.

So, what can Google Vault do?

What Is Google Vault?

Google Vault is a web-based application that can be added to G Suite Enterprise, Business, and Education editions for $5/user per month. You can use Vault to:

  • Archive: Determine how long you want to retain data before it is removed from a user account and deleted from the Google system.
  • Hold: Place holds on users to reserve their data indefinitely for legal or other obligatory reasons.
  • Search: Search data by user account, organizational unit, date, or keyword.
  • Export: Export data for additional review.
  • Audit: Create audit reports to see the actions of your Vault users.

Google Vault offers email retention, search, and export when requested by a Google Apps administrator. To use its features, you have to be an administrator.

The issue is that Google Vault requires a lot of work on the part of your IT Google administrator. They have to specify exactly which emails they want to preserve and for how long. Google Vault will only preserve items that match the indicated criteria and only for the time required. This means that your IT department will need to know, at the very beginning, what should be kept for legal or compliance purposes.

Once items are saved, you can easily perform a Google Vault search or export to find the data you need. Just take a look at this short three-minute video about how to search and export in the Vault.

Google Vault isn’t a backup and recovery solution. It’s an eDiscovery and archiving system that should only be used when specific information is required for litigation, not as a data protection service.

SaaS Cloud Backup

An SaaS cloud backup and restore solution such as CloudAlly is a natural progression from Google Vault. It fully and automatically creates backups of your Gmail, Drive, Classic Sites, Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, and Chats every day without your IT administrator being required to do anything. Unlike Vault, CloudAlly saves everything for as long as you need it. You have unlimited storage retention, so that at any point in time you can search and export the data you need. In addition, you can also restore data to a person’s account, which is something Google Vault cannot do.

But do you really need CloudAlly when the G Suite already saves your data?  Yes.

One of Google’s best features is its ability to auto-save Google Docs and other data without requiring you to click “File>Save.” The problem is that this auto-save feature doesn’t protect against user-deletion. Once a user empties a trashcan, the data is deleted from the Google Site. And while some data is recoverable, there’s a time limit of 25 to 30 days.

As for email, as discussed earlier, Google Vault only saves emails that match the retention rule that your IT administrator sets up. If an email doesn’t fit the specified criteria, it’s lost.

Using Both Google Vault and CloudAlly

Using CloudAlly alongside Google Vault means that you have a simple way to recover your data without any extra effort on your part as well as a way to archive and discover information required for litigation.

CloudAlly preserves all your data from email to contacts for recovery and search. No matter if a person deletes or even overwrites data, CloudAlly offers you a simple way to recover data and protect against loss.

Google Vault’s export and search preserves your email and Drive for legal compliance purposes. It helps you discover data that you may need, but it doesn’t protect you from data loss.

In short, you need both CloudAlly and Google Vault to be completely protected.  Check out our G Suite backup solution.

HIPAA IT compliance – G Suite

HIPAA IT Compliance - G SuiteFor many companies, moving to the cloud is supposed to solve many of the headaches they have with compliance and regulatory agencies. Cloud hosting offers redundancy and protection, an area where some businesses lack. However, when it comes to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, best known as HIPAA, many cloud services are lacking, and are not ready for HIPAA IT compliance. Google G Suite however, has worked extremely hard to be one of the few that is not one of those providers.

What this article is about:

Making G Suite HIPAA Compliant Is Easy

Google published a guide to making their G Suite service HIPAA compliant. The lengthy explanation includes share settings for Drive and calendars. They also recommend users have strong passwords with a combination of upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and special symbols. Google suggests in addition to strong passwords; all users turn on two-step sign in authentication.

To make securing G Suite accounts less confusing, here are five primary ways to ensure G Suite is HIPAA compliant.

1/ Sign an Agreement with Google

Google strives to make their service as secure as possible. However, they cannot guarantee HIPAA compliance if there is no agreement in place dictating the account need these protections.

Google’s Business Associate Agreement only covers some of the apps G Suite employs. Apps permitted by the Personal Health Information (PHI) agreements include:

  • Gmail
  • Calendar
  • Google Hangouts (chat messaging feature only)
  • Hangouts Meet
  • Drive (including Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Forms)
  • Keep
  • Google Cloud Search
  • Sites
  • Vault

At this time, all business associate agreements concerning PHI’s do not cover Google Groups, Contacts, or Google+.

2/ Monitor Access

HIPAA compliance is not something you can turn on and forget about it. The administrator console contains reports and logs allowing you to tell at a glance where potential security risks may be. Reports show you how frequently employees access and share data. These reports also measure user collaboration on a given file, who signs in, and even analyze administrative activity.

To help lower the risk of lost information due to unauthorized activity, Google allows for alert notifications. Whenever Google detects activity such as a suspended user, new user, or suspicious login, administrators can view the attempt. You can also set notifications for making a suspended user active and adding a new user.

Installing third-party software designed to scan for shared files with sensitive information is another way to ensure all data remains secure.

3/ Set Restricted Settings

With a signed business associate agreement, Google helps you protect HIPAA confidential information in their core applications. You can do more by setting restrictive settings when creating user accounts. In Google Drive, turn off automatic link sharing by choosing the option Specific People, which only allows invited individuals to view the document. You can then give control of link exchange to the Drive user or can retain this control with administrators only.

Gmail allows individuals to restrict shared Drive files further. The sender can choose to limit the recipient’s ability to view only rather than edit or comment on the document. Senders can also restrict access to those with Gmail accounts.

4/ Consider Separating Users within the Domain

Many companies using G Suite segregate their employees who work with HIPAA sensitive documents from those who do not. Creating different groups allows administrators to manage which groups have access to specific Google services.

Smaller companies may be able to get away with creating two groups, one which handles HIPAA sensitive documents and one that does not. Administration can limit those with sensitive documents, blocking them from services such as Google+ and YouTube. The other group has permissions for all G Suite services.

Companies can choose to create as many groups as they want, segregating their employees’ accounts further if they choose. While an entire HR department may have access to HIPAA sensitive files, only a small few works with those documents. You may have the HR department as one group. You can create another group with just those employees handling sensitive information. You can choose to do the same with each department.

5/ Backup Sensitive Information

Data loss is no laughing matter. When it comes to confidential information, it is even more important. You should have an HIPAA compliant backup service assisting in the protection of all your PHI files.

CloudAlly is an HIPAA compliant backup service. After becoming ISO 27001 certified, it allowed us to begin offering backup for patient sensitive documents and information. We comply with all federal guidelines concerning how to handle this information including every aspect of data handling when backing up, accessing authorization, and encryption. Companies that require a business associate agreement, we can provide one upon request.

At CloudAlly, we backup all your files automatically, giving you peace of mind that important HIPAA controlled documents are never lost or corrupted. Try it free for 15 days, no credit card required for signup.

Now that you know more about HIPAA IT Compliance for G Suite, you might want to have a look at what we created for you…


Q & A Series: How to Sync G suite with Outlook

Outlook, one of the most popular mail and calendar services for commercial use, has some growing competition. While many companies are beginning to turn to G Suite, powered by Google, they may not be ready to let go of their trusty standby. In fact, Outlook is so popular many administrators need a G Suite sync for Outlook solution.

What this article is about:

Google and Outlook are not the same kinds of creature. Sure, they seem to do many of the same things, both process mail for example, but they are not completely compatible. True, Gmail, both free and paid accounts, can populate messages in Outlook thanks to IMAP settings. However, other G Suite do not work as well. G Suite Sync for Microsoft Outlook (GSSMO, formerly GASMO) allows businesses using G Suite to Integrate their apps with Outlook.

What Does GSSMO Sync and What Does It Not Sync

Before you start using GSSMO to migrate your Gmail to Outlook, you have to know what to expect. The service synchronizes the following items:

  • Email
  • Calendar
  • Personal and global contacts
  • Tasks
  • Notes
  • Journal entries

With email, GSSMO pulls over all messages and sub-folders. However, as Gmail does not place user created folders as sub-folders of the inbox, they probably won’t appear nested like Outlook users are accustomed to seeing. Additionally, signatures, settings, and category assignments do not input into Outlook from Gmail.

Outlook does not mimic Gmail’s delivery notification. However, as long as your recipient has not turned off the read receipt feature, you can still add this function to your messages.

Calendar events that the user created and own populate well into Outlooks calendar function. However, if there events in your calendar that someone shared with you, they do not appear. You will have to re-input them after setup.

For the most part, contacts, both personal and global, sync seamlessly between Outlook and G Suite. The only difference you see is the category and category definitions. You also must recreate mailing lists as they will not import.

As with contacts, notes, journal entries, and tasks also integrate well. Tasks in Outlook have a few extra features such as task status, due and start dates, and reminders that Google does not have. However once imported you can add these details to your tasks. Journal entries migrate, but the journal feature will not sync with Google Docs.

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How to Use Google Sync Apps for Outlook

Google has made it incredibly simple to sync G Suite with Outlook. All you have to do is download and install the GSSMO program from Google. Sign into your account and accept the terms and conditions.

After installing GSSMO on the computer where you use Outlook, run the program to set up your Google Profile. The program walks you through setting up your profile and automatically imports data into Outlook.

Once completed, you can use Outlook for all your email and calendar needs.

When installing GSSMO, Google also installs the Migration Tool for Outlook. This tool allows you to import your Outlook profile into Gmail if you are tired of using Outlook for everything.

G Suite sync for outlook Video

No matter if you choose to use Outlook as your primary email system or want to migrate to Gmail, it is important to have a backup of all your important messages and calendar events… Start to backup your G Suite with a Free 14 day trial.

Now that you know how to sync G Suite with Outlook, you might want to have a look at this datasheet we created for you…

Why Google Vault is not a Backup Option

Google Vault Backup Solution

Google vault backup solutionGoogle seems to have an application for everything. Users subscribing to their G Suite Business, Enterprise, and Education services have access to the Vault. Other G Suite users can purchase this service for $5 per month per user. But, IT managers know that Google Vault Backup Solution is not a backup solution. More about: Google vault backup solution …

What this article is about:

Google Vault archiving tool may seem like a built-in backup utility by the internet giant. However, it’s is not designed as a backup to save data from loss or corruption. Instead, it is intended to be an archive location to support eDiscovery. For that purpose, Google’s Vault does an excellent job.

What Google Vault Does – Google Vault Retention

In short, Google Vault allows users to retain, hold, search, and export sensitive data. All types of files are storable within this archive tool. Companies use their Vault to store:

  • Email
  • Hangout Chats
  • Recorded Google Talk Chats
  • Files within Google Drive and Team Drives
  • Google Group Files

The Google Vault design is to support company archiving needs as set forth by corporate policy and legal requirements. Additionally, Google Vault supports eDiscovery for litigation purposes.

Google Vault allows authorized users to search content for a particular document. These searches scan the entire content of each document looking for relevant content.

When looking for data within the corporate vault, there can be limits on searches including user name, keyword, date, or organizational unit. Also, Google allows for Boolean and wild card searches to help you find the documents needed.

Essentially, Google Vault intended use is for the following purposes:

  • Audits: Used to determine what users have accessed and what they have done within the vault.
  • Legal Holds: Holding data for an indefinite period to meet all legal, and any other, obligations.
  • Archiving: Items remain in the vault in accordance with retention rules established by the administration.

Documents within the Vault are exportable to different users when necessary. However, the actual intent of the Vault’s export capabilities is not restoration. Instead, it is for review purposes, usually for use in legal disputes or auditing matters.

Administrators can choose to turn off chat histories for their employees. However, turning off Hangout Chat records result in the data not being saved within the Vault. Additionally, users can turn off Google Chat recordings to keep information from vault storage. Administrators, however, cannot force users to record all Google Chats.

Google Vault stores all Google Drive and Team Drive files. In addition to storing these files, the Vault allows users to preview files created with Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drawings. Administrators accessing the Drive Vault can also preview .docx, .pdf, and .xlsx files.

Youtube video on how Google Vault works

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What Google Vault Backup Solution Does Not Do

While Google Vault is an adequate archiving system, allowing companies to retain information for legal purposes, it is not intended to be a backup solution. Files within the Vault are exportable only to an extent and with the expressed purpose of review by the receiving party.

Google Vault is not designed to store files that are always changing. In fact, according to Google’s help file about Google Vault, once enacted a hold on files or emails can take up to three hours before it takes effect. Once held, the Vault does only retain the newest version of the document, other versions do not remain in the Vault. Additionally, once the hold expires, it can take up to 15 days before removal of the records occurs.

Genuine backup is about saving data that is ever changing. It is about having copies retained in real time. If revised, new copies of that data are available in a backup situation. If needed, users can access older versions. The restoration process happens just as quickly and can occur daily, if necessary.

While simple long-term retention may sound like backup, it is not. Unlike a point-in-time backup service, like CloudAlly, Google Vault does not make a copy of the retained document. Without additional copies, you have a single point of loss. Should the file within the Vault become corrupted or deleted, there is no way to retrieve the file for later use.

CloudAlly’s G Suite backup service allows you to find the files lost and quickly download or restore them to your account. The process is fast and seamlessly reintegrates lost files, calendar events, and emails. You can even restore older version of a file by searching by date or title of the document you need.

You could export this information from the Google Vault. However, it is a complicated process and requires an administrator to complete, as it is not is intended purpose. For example, exporting an email requires pulling the file from the Vault to a computer and then reintegrating the email into the email program using a third-party tool.

With Google Vault, once an employee leaves the company and administration delete their account the information saved within their Vault also is deleted. For Google, it does not matter if there is a hold still in place, if the account is gone so is the information. Administrators must first transfer any important files out of the Vault before deleting it. CloudAlly retains this information even after the account is gone, giving administrators extra time to restore these files to a new employee if necessary.

Just because you have data archived in the cloud does not mean they are protected. Even data stored in cloud services can be damaged or lost. Archiving tools like Google Vault are great at helping to maintain legal and regulatory obligations, that is the sole purpose of Google Vault.

However, even files located within the Vault need a backup and should not be relied on to be a location for backup of active documents. CloudAlly offers a broad range of backup utility services that allows you to save all your corporation’s valuable information. Start to backup your G Suite with a Free 14 day trial.

Now that you know about Google Vault backup solutions, you might want to have a look at this datasheet we created for you…