How and Why You Should Backup Your Google Apps

When Google, although it has several failures in its own portfolio, gets things right, they’re so useful that we can’t imagine how things worked before. One of those services is Gmail, Google’s free webmail service which is one of the biggest webmail services today. Based on that success, Google released a pack of services called Google Apps.

Google Apps is a great idea; it’s a suite of tools for companies worldwide, covering everything like email, calendars, documents. Lot of companies use them, and why shouldn’t they; if you’re a small or medium-sized company, Google Apps will be good enough for you. Still, Google isn’t immune to failures. What if something goes wrong and all of your emails suddenly became unavailable? Here’s what you can do to backup your Google Apps.

Why Should You Backup?

This is the question you should already know the answer to. If you’re working on anything that doesn’t have a backup copy, stop reading this text and create a backup of your work. We’ll be waiting for you here.

Did you know that 44% of all data losses are caused by a hard drive failure? This is just to put things in perspective, of course, Google has extraordinary hardware redundancy and data are stored even in different data centers. Software errors are also a possibility, such as malware or software corruption.

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What about user errors? Are you sure that no one else knows your account login information? Are you sure there are no keyloggers installed on your machine? Not just that, you can do something unintentionally and cause a disaster with your data. Although it’s not that trivial, it is possible to cancel your Google Apps account and lose everything. Natural disasters are also something you need to take care off. Earthquakes, fires, floods; these are the things that can easily crash some of Google’s systems. Anything can happen, that’s the point and the reason for you to do your backups!

How To Backup?

The first and probably the most used backup solution is having a local copy of the data you need. You can easily create a local copy of your inbox with IMAP protocol. Internet Message Access Protocol is a standardized protocol by which your local email client stays in sync with the email server. You can try that out easily: install Outlook or Thunderbird on your computer and set up the IMAP access in your Gmail settings.

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Once done, depending on how big your inbox is, your email client will download all of your emails from Gmail and the two will be in sync. Delete a message in Outlook, it gets deleted in Gmail. However, if something breaks in Gmail, it will break in Outlook too. So, when the client finishes with the download, remove the connection with the server. Repeat this every week or so and there you have it: your local email backup.

What About Documents?

Sure, IMAP works fine with emails, but what about your Google Docs? First off, make sure you have all of your documents available offline, preferably in a Dropbox folder (which will create extra copy on a server and your hard drive locally). If you get invited to a shared document, download it with File > Download As… and save it.

Backing up Google Docs

You can even use tools like Gladinet that will allow you to map your Google Docs as a network drive and access it from your file explorer. Create an automated task on your computer and you’ll have a regular backup without anything you need to do.

Use the Cloud, Luke!

Moving from one “cloud” to another might be a questionable idea, but it’s a start for a backup. Two clouds are better than one, right? Backupify is one such solution. The good thing about Backupify is that it can back up and restore your data after the crash. Once installed, it will watch all of your users and back them up. If you want to back up only a portion of Apps services, you can choose which ones you need backed up. You should try it out for free.

Have you ever experienced some significant data loss? Is your Google Apps account backed up and why not? 😉


Nikola Krajacic

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