Backing Up Business Data to Google Drive: What to Keep in Mind
Google Drive can be easily called the most popular cloud storage in the world, having more than a billion customers. Partially it has to do with the fact that Google Drive storage is provided automatically when you create a Google Account. That’s why both end-to-end users and people who use business accounts can take advantage of the Google Drive storage and back up their files there.
But while backing up personal data like photos to Google Drive may be a less risky idea for end-to-end users, it is a little bit different for business users, and there are few reasons for that. In most cases, all the end-to-end users have to lose in case of a disaster is photographs, although sometimes it can be something more important like essays and even graduate works. But in general, even if a user loses something, it will affect only them and no one else.
With business, it’s different. The files you may store on Google Drive can be critical for your business, like an annual performance presentation, contracts with your suppliers, clients, or partners, or contacts of your key clients. Some people may even store sensitive information on their corporate Drive, which, in most cases, goes against the law because it puts this information at high risk.
The reason people do this is simple: they treat Google Drive as a free (or cheap) backup tool. But Google Drive is not a backup service – it is a cloud storage and data management service.
Moreover, Google Drive needs to be backed up itself, and you can find more information about that in our article How to Backup Google Drive.
It wasn’t created with hard drive backups in mind, so if you want to use it as one, you need to have some things in mind beforehand. Here is what you need to know before you back up your business files to Google Drive.
Google Drive doesn’t guarantee the safety of your files
Security comes in a lot of forms, as well as security threats. There are quite a few of them: human mistake, account hijacking, software and hardware failure, cyberattacks, unethical employees, etc. Obviously, your backup must be protected from all of that. And this is not the case with Google Drive.
It is not that Google is not secure at all; it is. But the Google apps’ main purpose is to provide you with a well-established cloud infrastructure, not top-notch security. When Google Drive was created, your data’s safety was something in the back of the creators’ heads.
Of course, you’ll be provided with baseline security, such as:
- 128-BIT AES encryption when data is at rest (when it’s intact and not moving anywhere)
- Transport Layer Security (TLS) for data in transit (meaning while it is shared or downloaded) to protect is from man-in-the-middle attacks
- Physical security of the servers
Security issues of Google Drive
Google has access to your files
While encrypting your files, Google Drive also keeps all the encryption keys. Of course, given how meticulous Google is with the security protocols, it is hardly the case that a Google employee will decrypt your data. But they can do that, and you should be aware of that.
Risks associated with SaaS applications connected to Google Drive
Another possible security problem is SaaS applications connected to your Google account. Employees and end-users utilize all kinds of applications to boost their productivity every day. But those applications operate by requesting the user to grant OAth access to their Google Drives, Gmail, and other services. If the applications turn out to be malicious and containing ransomware, it can encrypt or delete all the Google Drive files. Given how often we grant permissions without thinking twice, this can lead to deleting, stealing, or encrypting all your backup on Google Drive.
Ransomware is a malicious code that infects your data on a computer or cloud and encrypts them, denying your access to them. Ransomware can hit your Google Drive via compromised or ill-disposed SaaS applications connected to it or via clicking on a link in a phishing email. Google can’t provide you with enough protection from the most notorious and evasive ransomware strains like Ryuk.
You won’t get your data restored quickly
As we pointed out at the beginning, Google Drive is essentially cloud storage, not a backup service. A professional backup service is characterized not only by its ability to securely store files but also by its ability to quickly restore them when you need them. Cloud drives such as Google Drive, OneDrive, and Dropbox all have a general-purpose – to share small-ish files between devices or with coworkers and friends, but it is not good fir for backup purposes.
To be called “backup”, the service must be able to:
- Quickly restore all the needed files (usually within a few minutes, maximum hours if the volume of data is very high and it is very heavy)
- Restore data in the same order it was backed up
- Contain multiple versions of your data
Cloud backup should be used in conjunction with cloud storage. Your data, even in the cloud, is at risk of being deleted, corrupted, or infected with ransomware. Cloud backup is the only way to ensure your data is protected from end-user mistakes and security threats like ransomware. It is necessary to prevent data loss. Even with cloud storage, there is a chance of losing your data due to end-user mistakes or ransomware attacks.