Adding Google Drive To Your Backup Plan

By | October 1st, 2015

Backup Plan
Backing up your Google documents seems rather redundant doesn’t it? Google does that stuff for you, right? However, forgetting to backup your Google items is something you could deeply regret.

There are a few common reasons for this error and some easy ways to prevent it.

Risk of Accidental Deletion or Removal

Although Google keeps track of changes, they don’t keep deleted items forever. Most business and consumer accounts have 25 days to restore a deleted file. After that point, you’re out of luck. If someone is sharing a document with you, you may not be able to recover it after the other person deletes it. They ultimately maintain control of the file unless you transfer ownership.

Risk of Hackers or Lockouts

Like any online account, Google accounts run the risk of being anonymously hacked. Google will help you regain control, but you’ll temporarily be locked out. An equally likely threat is someone you know like a vindictive ex or a savvy child completely locks you out of your account. Again, Google might be able to help you get your stuff back, but that takes time.

Risk of Denied Access

If your account is owned by someone else like your employer or school, the administrator can close your account after you separate. Depending on your agreement they may not give you an opportunity to take your data with you. If it’s a personal account, when you die, your family may need access to your stuff. In that case, Google lets you transfer ownership after going through some hoops.

Manual Backup: Google Takeout
Google’s “Takeout” service gives you the ability to download everything Google is keeping for you. Part of that is your documents and pictures. Takeout is available to all personal Gmail accounts. Your school or business might disable that feature, so ask your administrator. When you order takeout Google puts all your items in a .zip file and lets you download that archive for about a week. These files can then be part of your regular computer backup strategy. Like any manual backup you need to remember to do it. The big advantage of takeout is it’s free. This isn’t the same as Google’s Drive software. That software downloads links to your Google files, but they aren’t usable without your Google account.

Google Drive and Online Backup Services

Services like Backblaze backup your computer, not your cloud. To automate your Google backups to another cloud services, you’ll need a different type of backup company. Companies like Spanning, Spinbackup, Backupify and Syscloud will backup your Google drive for around $40 per year for personal users. You can backup your Google Drive to another free cloud service like Box or Dropbox with Zapier. Zapier pricing depends on how often you’d like to backup and how many services. If all you need is an occasional Google Drive backup, the service is free.

Windows and Mac Backup Options

I recommend this option to most people. It’s part of a tiered backup strategy. Copying your Google data to your local computer means you always have an offline copy if your Google account is inaccessible. It also lets you integrate into other backup strategies. My Google Drive is backed up to my Mac. My Mac then backups up to Backblaze and Time Machine. Yes this means I have four different backups of my Google Drive. That’s not a bad thing.

For Mac users, I recommend Cloud Pull ($24.99) and on Windows I’ve worked both with SyncBackPro ($54.99) and GoodSync ($29.99). All these programs will backup multiple Google accounts. SyncBackPro and GoodSync backup not just your Google Drive, but other cloud services like Box and Dropbox. Again once it’s on your hard drive you can then back that data up once again to a cloud service like Backblaze. It may seem like overkill, but a good backup strategy has many layers.

Its unlikely Google is going to suffer a hard drive crash that causes you data loss. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be backing up. The risks are out there, but so are easy solutions. For additional information you can see a comparison of online backup and cloud storage services here.

Dave Greenbaum
[Guest Blogger] Dave Greenbaum aka DoctorDave has a computer repair business in Lawrence, KS. When he’s not fixing computers or writing about them, he’s drinking either coffee or beer, and sometimes both.
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Category:  Backing Up
  • What if google account is deleted by someone else, will my files still be available?

  • bettypratt

    I have google backup. How do I access my files on another computer?

    • Dmitry D.

      Install the Google Drive Sync tool on another computer to get access to your google files from there.

  • What is happens with files on google disk if some ransomware lock my PC files? Will ransomware lock my google drive files?

  • kostyll

    Excuse me, guys, but to make the situation clear I must notice that it will cost only $2 per month (or $24 early) to backup your Google Drive in https://spinbackup.com/. But not $40 )
    Surely this is the price for individuals, not for the business.

  • rahul pandit

    Instead of backup, I think sync is better as you can save the files in source and destination and also one can schedule a time for backing up your files and folders. I recently used organyze 3.1 sync which is good for backup and sync.

  • Bill

    Services like Backblaze backup your computer, not your cloud.

    But the Google Drive app syncs those files to my computer, so aren’t they backed up as part of that?

    • They are mostly offline versions of your Google Docs. Once your google account goes away, your access is revoked.

      • Bill

        oh right, the docs are just links to the online version, but other files you put on there are actually copied. That’s why I was using https://code.google.com/p/gdocbackup/issues/detail?id=41 to convert them to openoffice formats on my local computer, but it looks like that’s not actually working anymore.

  • Paul Hughes

    One of the best products I have used is InSync (insynchq.com) and have been using this both for personal and our business. Works on Linux, Mac and Windows. GoodSync has also saved my bacon on many occasions as a way to ensure my local backup matches exactly what is on Google Drive. The biggest problem I found with backing up Google is making sure you have ‘offline’ copies of your Google docs (Docs, sheets, slides, draw, etc) otherwise, when you do a restore, it is only going to restore non-Google stuff.

  • gavingreenwalt

    With Windows 10 integration of OneDrive going well, itwould be great to have something direct on Backblaze’s side using the API. Then you could pull over your fat pipes and we wouldn’t have to dedicate hard drive space to holding our entire OneDrive on our hard drive to have backblaze see it.

  • Alex Kadis

    I’ve actually been looking to solve this exact problem for myself. Any idea of good Open Source clients to back up Google Drive to local? Especially for Mac/Unix.

  • Mar Osbourn

    Hi There is one other reason to use something like BackBlaze and not rely on Google Drive. The CryptoLocker virus will target your documents, files, music and HDD Folders like Google Drive rendering the online version encrypted as well which is a real pain. Having BackBlaze and/or a NAS with a backup on that makes it quick and easy to recover usable files

  • Horologium

    Sorry if this is a dumb question, but that’s never stopped me before. :-)

    If I am understanding this post correctly, I can download my files from Google Drive onto my laptop via Google Takeout.

    Once they’re on my laptop, will they be automatically “swept” into Backblaze during it’s next upload?

    • Exactly! That’s what makes it awesome.

      • Horologium

        Thanks. Appreciate your response. It is awesome and, even though I don’t have a ton of files on Google Drive, I would hate to lose them.

  • Nataly

    Thanks for a well written post. I agree, having the right backup strategy is a must thing to have for my SaaS data. I’m using Spinbackup for automated daily backup of my Google Drive files. Their yearly subscription price is just $24/yr. which is a very affordable price on the market.

  • David Kozinn

    I’m trying the Google Takeout as recommended, and it’s broken things down into a sizable number of 2GB chunks. I understand why they wouldn’t just do it all in one chunk, but it looks like you have to manually click through them one at a time. (I guess I could click on all of them). Any ideas if there’s a way to say “keep sending these one at a time”? I’ve got a fairly decent pipe, but remembering to go back and check periodically is a bit annoying.

    Thanks for posting this, i’d never though much about the stuff that’s in my Google Cloud space.

    • Sorry David, not sure if there’s a way keep the the batches flowing :(

      • David Kozinn

        I basically just broke down and grabbed the pieces one at a time. It does seem like I could get fewer chunks by using .tgz, which I can handle, though I guess that’s not common for most folks.

    • I did some research. If you change the format, you can download 50 gig chunks. https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/3024190 Scroll down to “Why was my archive broken into multiple zip files?”

      • David Kozinn

        Thanks for that. I saw that during the initial export but forgot that it was there. I’ll use .tgz next time.

  • karl

    “Although Google keeps track of changes, they don’t keep deleted items forever. Most business and consumer accounts have 25 days to restore a deleted file”

    Similar to Backblaze in that files are deleted after 30 days if file no longer resides on customer’s HDD.

    If you enjoy backing up (like myself) hence being a fan of this blog, nothing beats your own NAS with some kind of incremental backup, and the use of a HDD off-site (at work) encrypted. To further this, all data on the NAS must be cloned to another HDD and updated regularly. Amazon Glacier $0.055 per GB to upload and $0.011 per GB to keep most precious files such as photographs. Google Cloud is also an option.

    • Yup. Have all the things!