Why Securing SaaS Data for Google Workspace is a Must
While Google Workspace is an exceptionally secure SaaS application platform, it cannot protect you from data loss or corruption. There is no guaranteed method to recover data lost resulting from human error, malware, sync errors, and/or insiders with malicious intent. This issue is prominent enough that Google recommends third-party Google Workspace backup as a necessary way for point-in-time recovery.
What is the Native Google Workspace Backup Solution?
Google provides limited data protection for Google Workspace data. Per Google documentation, data region policies cover data-at-rest (including backups) for core services including:
- Google Calendar
- Google Contacts
- Google Drive
- Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides
However, these backups aren’t available to restore data upon customer request and expire, or are overwritten,on defined timelines.
Google’s options like Trash and Vault are time-consuming and mundane. Moreover, only limited Workspace license plans include Google Vault. Why pay almost double for a tool meant for cloud archival? A plan which does not offer easy and/or unlimited point-in-time recovery is essential for easy cloud disaster recovery and seamless business continuity. This is critical for any organization that has its business-critical data on Google Workspace. When was the last time you backed this data up?
Filling Native Google Workspace Data Protection Gaps with the Cloud
Common myths exist when discussing online Google Workspace backup solutions. While this platform is secure, it’s a mistake to think it doesn’t need backup — it does, just like any other data storage solution.
If you’re using Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) to run your business, you should know Google is not responsible for backing up your created data. While Google stores multiple copies of your data and the chances of losing it are slim, the company does not take responsibility for data loss. Here is the disclaimer on the terms of service you agreed to:
- “We don’t make any commitments about the content within the Services. When permitted by law, Google, and Google’s suppliers and distributors, will not be responsible for lost profits, revenues, or data, financial losses or indirect, special, consequential, exemplary, or punitive damages.”
If you still choose to trust that your data is safely stored by Google, you should address the need for protection against user errors, hacker attacks like ransomware or phishing, malicious actions, and unauthorized access from lost or stolen devices.
Still unconvinced? Here are twelve key reasons for third-party backup.
1. Accidental or Intentional Deletion of Critical Data
Users on your organization’s domain might delete a file due to various reasons.
Creating Space on the Drive
Whenever users on Workspace get a notification they’re running out of space, they often try to create space by deleting files that seem less important. However, this practice is risky. What if you need those files later? They will be gone forever.
Removing Duplication of Data
Workspace has the collaborative feature of allowing many users to work on the same file. Although this feature is quite useful, sometimes people create different versions and copies of the same file, eventually losing track of the original version! In such cases, users might accidentally delete copies and end up erasing the original too.
Safeguarding Sensitive Information
Sometimes you need to share documents with sensitive information with team members in your organization. Once the task is over, users tend to delete documents to prevent business-critical data from falling into the wrong hands. But what happens when confidential information is deleted without having a backup? You won’t be able to access it if needed for compliance or audits.
2. Malicious Actions by Third-Party Apps on Your Domain
While adding third-party apps, you might click on the ‘allow’ button and give access without going through the list of permissions required for installing the application. This is more common than we think and creates invisible threats that can become a gateway for hackers to access your data.
3. Lost or Stolen Devices Create Critical Security Risks
With Google Workspace’s ‘Anytime, Anywhere’ data and device policies, it is common to keep accounts signed in to multiple devices at the same time. While this can save time and allow for easy access – the flip side is that if a device gets stolen, it exposes important data and allows for ransomware or other cyber threats. Critical business data is now accessible and free to be deleted.
4. Ransomware is a Constant Threat — Even for SaaS Apps
Every organization knows about the threat of ransomware, and many are scrambling to incorporate cloud-first ransomware protection into their IT environment. Ransomware is a type of malicious software used by attackers to encrypt and lock your data and demand a ransom payment in exchange for the decryption keys. How does this happen? All that is needed is a cloned email with a virus attachment. If an employee engages with this email, hackers can gain access to encrypt and a ransom deadline may be set to erase your data — catastrophic to any organization.
5. Vulnerabilities in Google Drive Sync and Desktop Client
Are you aware of the vulnerabilities associated with using the sync client? If your desktop gets affected by ransomware, the sync client – if configured to sync immediately – could immediately infect your Google Drive files, spreading rapidly and ultimately locking them. In this situation, only a backup could save you from spending time and money to retrieve data.
6. Employees May Accidentally Overwrite or Delete Data
The collaboration feature of Workspace allows files and folders to be shared easily among team members. Although this improves efficiency with multiple people working simultaneously on the same file, the downside is the probability that someone might overwrite important data. Despite the version-control system on Workspace that tracks changes, it is quite difficult to revoke a specific user’s changes. Another possibility is the deletion of a file by one of the collaborators. This may lead to a recovery issue by the time the file is discovered missing.
7. SaaS Outages and Shutdowns Can Lead to Data Loss
To run your business efficiently you might have subscribed to a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application. What happens if there is an outage? A secure backup solution is critical to circumvent any issue with your data should this occur. If you have a backup of your Google Workspace data, you won’t need to worry about outages or fret over saving your data before the service provider shuts down for good.
8. Applications Overwrite Key Data Behind the Scenes
Does your business use multiple applications? Did you know that application integrations could potentially result in the loss of critical data? Whether data is replaced completely or randomly, unless you have a backup it will be a difficult task to restore the original versions.
9. Neither Google Takeout nor Google Vault is Enough
Google Takeout is a simple tool in Workspace used for downloading data from all Google Applications associated with a Workspace account. However, you cannot download data in shared folders or in a single attempt if it is more than 50 GB in size. Google Vault is a web-based archiving tool available for Workspace users. IT administrators can use Google Vault to retain, hold, search, and export data. However, Google Vault does not create a separate copy of the data; it only archives the files. This means that if you delete data from Drive, it will be deleted from the archive too.
10. Mergers and Acquisitions Further Complicate Security
Whether it is a merger of two companies or the acquisition of a small company by a bigger one, data migration is a vital aspect that could directly affect the success rate. Using a backup solution for your Google Workspace makes the process easier to successfully execute and implement.
11. Legal, Compliance, and Litigation Requirements
No matter the size of an organization, it is expected to hold records of current and historical data for litigation purposes and legal compliance. Though you can use Google Vault for creating a litigation hold and retrieve past data from archives, the data would be available only as long as it is not deleted. In these cases, a backup solution would serve as a better option since you would have a copy of all data, even if it is deleted from Google Workspace.
12. Employees Take Key Data with Them When Leaving
When employees leave an organization the standard procedure is to back up their data and reuse the account license. Even though you can take a manual backup – with an application like Google Takeout – you cannot restore data from Google Workspace with the original sharing permissions. A better option is using a backup solution to facilitate cross-user restore into a user’s account, preferably the manager’s account for easy retrieval.
Druva’s Air-Gapped Data Protection for Google Workspace
Whether due to accidental deletion, malware, or any of the above-mentioned reasons, recreating and manually restoring lost data is a waste of time and resources. Such efforts are not only tedious, but the replicated data is not 100% accurate. Would you want to take risks with your data, especially if it could affect critical metrics like those for finance and sales? Of the many reasons listed above, it takes only ONE Google Drive and Gmail disaster to wish that you had backed up. Don’t wait for that to happen. Back up now.
Secure by design, Druva provides cloud hardening with air-gapped storage, encryption, access control, and data immutability to deliver always-on data protection as well as ransomware recovery and protection. Druva is a flexible, comprehensive platform to centrally protect and govern business-critical data across SaaS applications including Google Workspace — as well as including Microsoft 365 backup, and Salesforce backup and recovery. Built in the cloud, Druva delivers a cloud compliance monitoring platform for sensitive data and makes it easy to discover, protect, and govern your SaaS data, even if it is complex, distributed, and fluid.
Read our white paper, Google Workspace: The critical gaps, to learn more about how Druva’s leading SaaS-based data resiliency platform addresses these backup and data protection challenges.