Home > Backup and Recovery Blog > Google Workspace Backup Guide: Advantages, Solutions & Types

Google Workspace Backup Guide: Advantages, Solutions & Types

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
(13 votes, average: 4.86 out of 5)
Updated 16th March 2023, Rob Morrison

Introduction to Google Workspace

Google Workspace is the latest iteration of Google’s collection of products, previously known as G Suite and Google Apps. Google Workspace includes products such as:

  • Chat
  • Meet
  • Gmail
  • Contacts
  • Currents
  • Calendar
  • Drive
  • Google Docs Editors
  • Classroom (in the education edition)

It is true that the majority of these services and products are already available for free for all Google accounts, but there are also features that are exclusive to Google Workspace – such as custom domains, unlimited Google Drive storage capacity, advanced customer support, and a host of different administrative settings.

Additionally, Google Workspace accounts do not have advertisements and are not used for advertising purposes whatsoever, and there is also the ability to fine-tune a number of privacy and security settings for these accounts. However, there is quite a large problem that Google Workspace has – data backups. The platform itself is secure, but it has no way of restoring your data after it was lost or corrupted – be it after a malware attack, a human error, an insider threat, or even a sync error.

Reasons to backup Google Workspace

This particular problem is so noticeable that Google itself recommends resorting to third-party backup solutions for data control purposes, and has a separate paragraph in its Terms of Service that claims they are not responsible for any and all data losses, profit losses, or any kind of damage to the business in general.

Here are ten different reasons why creating backups of Google Workspace data is necessary:

  1. The potential disaster with sync clients is always a threat, since ransomware can affect your desktop device, and the synchronization client would immediately transfer infected files to the cloud service, infecting your cloud storage accordingly. Restoring a backup would be more or less the only possible way to replace this data.
  2. Google itself allows for multiple devices to be signed in at the same time, and Workspace is no exception. The obvious caveat here is that a single stolen device means a massive security risk for the entire system, from ransomware to full-on critical data deletion. A complete backup restoration process is the only way for a business to recover its data – and in some cases, even survive  something like that.
  3. Both acquisitions and mergers are a challenge from a security standpoint because it is a lot easier to just use backed-up data for migration instead of extracting and migrating it directly from your Google Workspace system.
  4. Ransomware is hardly a new issue in this sphere, and yet it is still a significant problem for almost any organization – a type of malicious software that is capable of encrypting your data with the purpose of demanding a monetary sum (ransom) for a decryption key. There are plenty of different ways to be vulnerable to ransomware, with one of the most common being an infected email. Every ransomware attack can have alarming consequences for an organization in the form of critical data being deleted, and backup solutions are the last resort and most reliable method of counteracting that.
  5. Practically every third-party app added to your Google Workplace system has the possibility of creating gateways into your system for potentially disastrous  criminal activities. This is a problem that is far more common than it may appear, and there are many applications that can be abused to gain access to critical company data.
  6. Not every data deletion incident has to be malicious – there are many examples of accidental data overwrite events that lead to important data being replaced or deleted with no malicious intent whatsoever. This problem is especially relevant for Google Workspace as a shared space that allows its users to gain access to files all at the same time.
  7. Google has two separate tools for data protection – Google Takeout and Google Vault. Google Takeout is a rather limited tool that can download data from Google Applications with a limit of 50 Gb per single download and cannot cover shared folders. Google Vault is an archival tool that allows IT administrators to retain data, hold it or export it, but it also does not create a separate copy of data for all of these purposes – meaning that once the data is deleted from Google Drive, it’ll also be deleted from Google Vault. Both of these data security measures are extremely far from a proper data security solution and have a lot of limitations.
  8. Legal and compliance matters are also quite relevant in this context, and using Google Vault for these purposes might not be enough for proper data storage or protection since Google Vault data gets deleted after a certain time period. As such, having a separate backup system is far more effective for this purpose.
  9. Relying on one or several SaaS applications is a relatively normal occurrence for businesses these days, but all of these services work under the assumption that these servers stay online forever. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and a single outage can corrupt or delete a lot of data if a proper backup system was not established beforehand.
  10. Some apps can even overwrite various data ‘behind the scenes’, and you may well not even notice this before accessing said data – making the restoration process that much harder without a proper third-party backup solution in place.

Examples of Google Workspace backup solutions

There are quite a lot of different backup solutions that work with Google Workspace (G Suite) data. All of these solutions can be separated into two distinct categories – the ones that are self-hosted and the ones that operate as cloud services themselves. It is worth mentioning that the list below is going to include both solutions that are built exclusively for the sake of Google Workspace backup creation, as well as big multifunctional backup solutions that also have support for Google Workspace data.

Cloud backups

As such, we are going to start with cloud backup services:

backupify landing page

Backupify is a backup service for both Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace created by Datto – an American cybersecurity company. Backupify offers automated backups several times a day, support for data from Google Drive, Calendar, Contacts, and Gmail, and a quick setup process. Backupify has intelligent API throttling that allows it to offer the best performance when it comes to exporting Google’s data, and there are also several variations of restore – both full and granular. Backupfy provides its users with full control of their data without any unnecessary licensing costs and extensive scalability.

Backupify’s distribution model is fairly simple – the price is calculated per single user and can be billed either on a monthly or on annual basis. However, the exact pricing is not published up front, meaning that every potential user would have to go to a specific page and fill in a relatively short form in order to request pricing information in the first place.

spanning landing page

Spanning Cloud Apps is a well-known software provider for SaaS organizations in the field of backup and recovery operations. Its main focus of operations is Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace data, and its Google Backup solution is one of the highest-rated backup solutions on the Google Workspace Marketplace – offering a versatile and user-friendly backup and recovery solution that would be useful for both end users and IT administrators. Spanning offers daily backups for a good number  of Google applications, including Gmail, Drive, Contacts, and so on. There are also plenty of additional useful features; such as granular recovery, point-in-time restore, immutable audit logs, email retention policies, etc.

Spanning’s pricing model is fairly typical of this space, calculating the final price according to the number of future users with the capability to pay on either a monthly or an annual basis – and there is also a limited free trial available for potential users. However, Spanning’s website does not have a dedicated “Pricing” page that is easy to access, and getting to the “Request quote” page is not as straightforward as with some of its competitors – even if the page itself is relatively standard and requires filling in a short form before being able to request pricing for your specific case.

afi.ai landing page

Afi.ai is a data protection service that was created for working with cloud data sources first and foremost and is also considered one of the fastest solutions on the market for Microsoft 365/Google Workspace backup software. Afi.ai has a number of different features, many of which are exclusive to this one solution, such as Afi full-text Gmail search, recovery point auto-labeling, and intelligent handling of G Suite API (to prevent bottlenecks and API call limits). It apparently has early ransomware attack detection and is also a solution that is easy to automate, easy to manage, and easy to control access – with instant administrator alerts, custom backup operator roles, and backup schedule management according to their SLAs, as well as many other features.

Afi.ai has a very clear “Pricing” page available on its website, with different plans clearly outlined and separated from one another. Since we are talking about Google Workspace backups, Afi.ai SaaS Backup is what is relevant here – it (at the time of writing) has a baseline of $3 per month per user with a lower limit of five users per order, although it is possible that the pricing might change after requesting a personal quote for your business. That same plan can also be paid for on an annual basis, with $36 per year per user being the baseline price for this case.

cloudally landing page

Cloudally was founded in 2011 and is considered one of the oldest cloud-to-cloud backup offerings on the market, focusing its efforts mainly on Google Apps and Salesforce, and also managed to debut the first commercial Microsoft 365 backup in 2014 (referred to as Microsoft Office 365 at that time). The company has continued to expand since then, and now it also provides a Google Workspace backup service, with granular recovery, reinforced recoverability, and practically all of Workspace’s data sources covered – Gmail, Contacts, Calendars, Shared Drives, Tasks, and even metadata. The solution also makes it easier to control your data with centralized management and other features that make it easier to ensure compliance and perform audits.

Cloudally’s approach to pricing is interesting since it is the only solution on this list that offers both per-user pricing and per-storage pricing. While it is true that per-storage pricing is only available specifically for the content of Shared Drives, it is still fairly unusual for a cloud backup in this sphere to have pricing based on traffic. This particular pricing plan is $3 per 10 GB of data per month or $30 per year. The other pricing plan is calculated based on the overall user count, starting from $3 per user per month (or $30 per year), although the price itself is subject to change, especially if the company in question is an enterprise requesting a personal quote.

syscloud landing page

SysCloud is another solution focused primarily on SaaS services and apps, providing backup and recovery coverage for Google Workspace and Microsoft 365. It started off as a data migration solution for Google Workspace in 2013 and evolved multiple times since then to provide a feature-rich solution for Google Workspace backups, with ransomware protection, coverage of all necessary Google apps (including Google Classroom), backup automatization, and more. SysCloud provides complete visibility of your Google Workspace backups while also offering point-in-time recovery capabilities, extensive data search, several exporting functions for Gmail, Calendar, Contacts, and Google Drive data, as well as many other features.

SysCloud is fairly simple when it comes to pricing – there is a free trial, and there is also a rather clear separation of each category of applications supported – Google Workspace, M365, Slack, etc. There are also multiple columns for specific types of organizations, be it non-profit organizations, educational institutes, and others. A Google Workspace backup is priced at $4 per user per month or $38 per user per year, and each user is free to add other potential applications to be backed up, as well as a number of additional features (if those are available for the chosen application type).

Self-hosted backups

Now that we have showcased a number of different cloud backup services for Google Workspace, it would be appropriate to also talk about self-hosted platforms and software solutions:

cubebackup landing page

CubeBackup is a self-hosted backup platform that focuses its efforts on Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace as its two main targets. It can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud, and it can save data to many different storage locations such as Google Cloud Storage, S3 Storage, NAS, local disk, Azure Blob, and so on. It covers data from Calendar, Gmail, Contacts, Google Drive, and Shared drives with the ability to automate backups to be performed on an hourly basis. It has a granular retention policy, data encryption for backups and data transfers, no limits on version history, several backup types, and so on.

vembu bdr landing page

Vembu BDR is the first backup on this list that is not solely focused on handling Google Workspace/Microsoft 365 data. Vembu has been around since 2002, and it managed to quickly become one of the most renowned backup solutions on the market, offering backup and recovery capabilities to a multitude of different locations and applications – from Windows and Linux systems to Hyper-V VMs, AWS cloud workloads, and even SaaS applications such as Google Workspace/Microsoft 365.

Technically speaking, Vembu can be considered both a cloud backup service and a self-hosted backup solution, since it has two main products – BDR Suite and BDR Cloud. BDR Suite is your standard multifunctional self-hosted backup solution with a mountain of use cases, and BDR Cloud is Vembu’s take on a cloud backup solution for applications, servers, databases and SaaS offerings. Both of these applications offer Google Workspace backup capabilities, covering a variety of Google apps and their data – and BDR Cloud also has several bonus features for this specific use case, including granular restore, backup automatization/scheduling, as well as impressive scalability and reliable reporting.

druva landing page

Druva is a SaaS-based data protection solution that offers a wealth of features for securing data across various Google Workspace applications. It has data encryption, air-gapped storage, data immutability, ransomware protection, and more. Druva can also act as a compliance monitoring platform, with the ability to discover, govern and protect it no matter where it is located. Druva is also not limited to Google Workspace applications, either, offering M365 coverage, Salesforce coverage, and many other target data locations to work with.

commvault landing page

Commvault is a well-known software developer company that specializes in two fields – data management and data protection. Commvault itself can be applied to a wide range of different use cases, ranging from classic backup and recovery operations to ransomware protection, virtualization, and VM backups, as well as compatibility with containers. Commvault is also compatible with the Google Cloud Platform, making it easier to protect data within GCP workloads and making it possible for it to cover some of the Google Workspace applications, such as Google Drive and Gmail. It has a number of features that work for this data, too, such as granular recovery, even though the solution itself prioritizes GCP workload coverage first and foremost.

msp360 landing page

MSP360 as a company was established back in 2011 and has been providing a number of cutting-edge solutions for IT management and backup departments. MSP360 can be used for data protection, as well as for remote access to help customers, and there is also a rather useful RMM (Remote Monitoring and Management) to work with IT infrastructures of different sizes. One of MSP360’s many capabilities is its capacity to create backups of various Google Workspace applications. It covers Contacts, Calendar, Gmail, Google Drive, and even data from shared drives. It also allows for backups to be stored in one of several cloud storage locations, offers file exporting capabilities, and has a centralized console for all the MSP360-related operations to work in at once.

arcserve landing page

Arcserve, a data protection software company for middle-sized and large companies, was established in 1983 as Cheyenne Software. It has become a versatile data protection solution with a number of features and capabilities – including extensive scalability, disaster recovery, multiple backup target locations, data deduplication, and more. One of many capabilities of Arcserve SaaS Backup is its compatibility with Google Workspace, offering backup support for a variety of Google apps – Gmail, Drive, Calendar, Sheets, Tasks, Docs, Slides, and more. Arcserve can perform a fast search for all of the backed-up data, it has several different versions of the restore operation, as well as RBAC, scalability, data sovereignty (via four different copies of data in at least two different data centers), full audit capabilities, and more.

dropsuite landing page

Dropsuite is another notable solution in the field of SaaS application backups, offering a wealth of data security options from one of the fastest-growing cloud backup solutions on the market. Dropsuite provides a host of cloud backup technologies in a highly scalable and secure form, covering websites, emails, Microsoft 365, and Google Workspace data. Dropsuite has three main solutions to offer – Email Backup, Email Archiving, and Website Backup. Both Email Backup and Email Archiving can work with Google Workspace data to cover applications such as Gmail, Google Drive, Tasks, Calendars, Contacts, and so on. Dropsuite’s feature set is not just about backups, either – there are also automation capabilities, data encryption, a centralized dashboard, granular restore, incremental backup capability, and many others.

veritas landing page

A company that is now known as Veritas Technologies was founded way back in 1983 as Tolerant Systems, and was always a storage management software company, first and foremost. It is a well-known company in and of itself, and it has several different backup solutions to offer. Two of its biggest offerings are Backup Exec and NetBackup – the former being the most suitable for smaller companies or individual systems, while the latter is a full-fledged enterprise-level backup software with a wealth of features and systems in place. Both of these solutions are developing all the time, with NetBackup receiving Google Workspace support at the beginning of the year 2022. Now NetBackup can cover both Gmail and Google Drive data, with the capability to restore emails, labels, attachments, metadata, and special handling to all of Google’s proprietary file formats such as Slides, Drawings, Sheets, Docs, and App Scripts.

Bacula Enterprise as a Google Workspace backup solution

There is also another backup solution that offers comprehensive protection of Google Workspace, and that is Bacula Enterprise. Bacula Enterprise is a highly secure, but extremely versatile backup solution that can handle an especially broad range of different systems, applications, file-types and storage locations via its own system of modules. This solution has a plethora of different features and functions, including bare metal recovery, data control centralization, many different backup levels, an impressive level of configuration, and a high level of compatibility with tape and other storage technologies.

One of many capabilities that Bacula Enterprise has is its integration with Google Workspace to create backups of a wide variety of different applications and data types by interacting with a number of Google Workspace APIs. The solution itself is easy to deploy and can be used to create highly secure, resilient backups of applications such as Google Drive and Google Mail (or Gmail). We can also showcase what data is getting backed up from each of these applications.

Google Drive

Generally speaking, Bacula Enterprise is capable of protecting My Drive data, as well as Shared Drive data, with the ability to decide what exactly needs to be backed up. Here is a more detailed list of what kinds of data Bacula Enterprise can backup from Google Drive:

  • My Drive
    • File versions
    • Trash bin
    • Folders
    • Google service files
    • The rest of the data (without API, regular download process)
  • Shared Drives
    • File versions
    • Google service files
    • Trash bin
    • Folders
    • The rest of the data (without API)
  • File comments
  • Shared permissions
  • SharedWithMe User files

Every file backed up from Google Drive also has its hash value stored using the MD5 algorithm, and this value is used for both backup and restore processes to ensure the consistency of both operations. There is also the fact that Bacula Enterprise can combine different folders with the same name into one single folder (even though Google Drive allows for several folders with the same name to exist in the same directory).

Bacula can also follow a useful transparent process of exporting when it comes to Google’s proprietary files, transforming them into open-format variants. As such, Google Docs files are transformed into .ODT format, Google Draw is turned into .JPEG, as well as Google Photo, Google Sheets becomes .ODS, Google Slides transforms into .ODP, and Google Scripts are now .JSON.

Speaking of Google Photos, it is worth noting that Google Photos is not supported by Bacula’s Workspace module, even though this kind of support is planned for the very near future. The main reason for that is that Google Drive and Google Photos work on separate APIs, which makes it difficult for the module to perform this kind of operation on Google Photos specifically. Additionally, Google Sites cannot be exported whatsoever, since they do not have any export functions in the first place.

Bacula Enterprise and its Google Workspace module also supports a variety of different restore scenarios, with a full list only available per request. Bacula’s module can restore files to the local file system, skip restoring versions, restore permissions specifically, and many other options.


Bacula’s same Google Workspace module can also cover Google Mailboxes, with the ability to decide what exactly to create backups of, as well as the ability to control the restore process. Bacula’s module can protect labels, emails themselves, attachments, filters, settings, delegates and forwarding addresses. Mails can be backed up in the RFC 822 format, it is possible to both restore mails with attachments as well as only attachments, and more.

As part of Bacula’s higher levels of security than a typical backup vendor, its Workspace module is also capable of excluding messages from a single backup or doing the exact opposite – excluding every single mail except from a specific group of emails. The number of different parameters that can be used to regulate that is impressive, ranging from the sender, the receiver, the tags, the subject, the folder name, and many others.

Another important matter worth mentioning in this context is the language of a label that is restored to a specific user. Traditionally, there is no support for multiple languages for most labels that are created by the user – even if you try to choose the same word in a different language. However, there is an important exception called “system labels” – the ones that are not created by the user in the first place, such as “sent”, “inbox”, etc. For these specific labels, it can be possible to locate them in a backup by typing the English word for a label, despite the original not being saved in English in the first place.

A part of what makes Bacula’s Workspace module so special is it ease in performing incremental and differential backups for Workspace data to speed up and make much more efficient the backup process as a whole. These kinds of features for large enterprises help set Bacula apart from other backup vendors in demanding environments. The process itself is relatively easy, with the module storing specific information about the current state of the backup so that the system knows to only request new data from Google API, thus creating an incremental backup. This overall mechanism is referred to as “Delta Backup”.

Google Drive API has a separate function called “Changes” that can be used to do exactly what we have discussed earlier, speeding up incremental and differential backups. Google Mail API, on the other hand, has a “History” function that uses sequential numbers to track each individual email, allowing for the “Delta Backup” feature to speed up the overall backup process by learning what data is already backed up and can be skipped.

It should be noted that Delta Backup is not a mandatory feature, which means that it is also possible for incremental and differential backups to be performed without it. Additionally, there are some specific circumstances that are needed for Delta Backup to work, such as:

  • Only full entities can be backed up that way when it comes to Google Drive data.
  • It is possible for some older delta tokens to expire for an unspecified reason, which resets the whole Delta cycle and the system would try to start a new one, resetting all of the speed benefits with that.
  • Google Mail can perform Delta backups for entire systems and for specific labels, with few restrictions.
  • A regular backup is triggered automatically whenever Delta backup cannot be triggered, resulting in a generally slower backup speed.
  • Every Full backup usually resets the Delta cycle and Delta tokens, unless specified otherwise.

While it is true that Google Workspace data may be extremely sensitive for end users, Bacula Enterprise’s Google Workspace module still has an option to create a detailed user restore report, mainly for the sake of controlling and reporting as a whole. This report contains a lot of details about what has been restored if there were any issues during the restoration process, as well as the restoration date. The report in question can be generated either as an email in a user’s mailbox or as an HTML file in the user’s drive unit.


Google Workspace as a collection of applications can be extremely useful in a variety of different circumstances. However, not being able to backup or restore it manually can make it a rather uncomfortable source of potentially sensitive and/or business-criticall data whose security is barely controlled by the end user. Luckily, there are plenty of third-party Google Workspace backup solutions that provide  different features designed to make all of that data far more accessible and secure than ever before.

Of course, the fact that we could separate all of the aforementioned solutions into categories with ease means that they have their own use cases to work with. Solutions such as Backupify or Spanning would be a great help for smaller companies since they do not have any local storage or network bandwidth requirement – cloud backup services are extremely convenient in this regard.

Solutions such as CubeBackup or MSP360, on the other hand, are self-hosted but still need to be maintained in terms of cloud storage for their backups. Solutions like these are usually cheaper than full-fledged cloud backup solutions, let alone comprehensive backup platforms, but the total ownership cost may scale up rather fast if the company in question grows at a rapid pace.

Last, but not least, we have comprehensive backup solutions such as Bacula Enterprise that has a wealth of different features and use cases, not just for protecting Google Workspace, but for a huge range of other technologies found in large enterprise environments. Solutions such as this are great for larger companies that need many different types of data to be backed up and protected with high security and often with scalability, even though their added functionality often means a little more time and skill is required to implement them compared to the backup solutions dedicated only to Google Cloud.

About the author
Rob Morrison
Rob Morrison is the marketing director at Bacula Systems. He started his IT marketing career with Silicon Graphics in Switzerland, performing strongly in various marketing management roles for almost 10 years. In the next 10 years Rob also held various marketing management positions in JBoss, Red Hat and Pentaho ensuring market share growth for these well-known companies. He is a graduate of Plymouth University and holds an Honours Digital Media and Communications degree, and completed an Overseas Studies Program.
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *