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Google outage is a data protection wake-up call for businesses

posted in Backup & Recovery ● 15 Dec 2020

The majority of Google services went down yesterday, leading to widespread disruption all around the world. Users were left waiting for almost an hour before hearing they could regain access. Businesses need to organise their data protection, to prevent loss during future outages.

Although links to existing Google Docs seemed to work – as well as Google’s famed search facility – it became apparent around 11.45am that there were major problems around accessing Gmail, Drive and image search.  

The status dashboard of Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) initially remained aglow with green lights, erroneously indicating that there was no issue. 

However, soon the truth was confirmed and red lights were displayed alongside Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Google Groups, Google Hangouts, Google Chat, Google Meet, Google Vault, Currents, Google Forms, Google Cliyd Search, Google Keep, Google Tasks and Google Voice. 

Google said it was a problem with its authentication system, used for logging in and for similar functions. 

Also affected were Google-connected smart devices such as home speakers with some users even complaining on social media of being unable to switch on lights in their homes.  

Previous problem with Google Kubernetes Engine 

Today’s outage is far from being Google’s first. Only four months ago a host of services in Google Workspace were down for around six hours. 

On that occasion multiple Google Cloud Products products including App Engine, Cloud Storage, Cloud Logging and BigQuery were affected. 

The main issue in August appeared to be with cloud infrastructure components, and the Google Kubernetes Engine 

Google temporarily disabled node auto-upgrades after GKE clusters using node auto-provisioning became stuck during node version upgrades. 

For organisations that regard business continuity as crucial, this latest service disruption is an unnerving reminder of just how dependent millions have become on services in the cloud – and the risks associated with being left at the mercy of a software provider where data access is concerned. 

For a while businesses were left frustrated when trying to open a Google Document or respond to an urgent Gmail message. 

The message users received was simply: “Please try reloading this page, or coming back to it in a few minutes. We’re sorry for the inconvenience.” 

SaaS companies such as Google are desperate to avoid the bad publicity arising from outages which portray their underlying infrastructure in a poor light. 

That’s no surprise as the success of their business depends on providing a service that is constantly available.  

Google will therefore do all it can to secure everyone’s data in their services, but while cloud vendors go a long way to assisting with security and compliance goals, there is no way they will take total responsibility. 

If you are a business, it is important to remember that SaaS companies such as Google are not focusing on your users, or your data or other activities that threaten your capability to recover business-critical information. 

Whether the issue is an outage, accidental deletionmisaligned retention policies, malicious insiders, malware or ransomware, the responsibility is yours to maintain data access. 

There are obvious dangers around leaving your compliance with data protection laws in the hands of others. 

Complying with GDPR 

In those instances a third-party backup provider is vital to avoid losing critical sales, marketing, customer or financial dataor if you cannot afford to be without IP content stored in email and documents. 

For organisations to comply with the General Data Protection Regulation, they need a separate backup strategy, particularly as the pandemic has meant vital data increasingly resides on laptops in people’s houses. 

Timely recovery is the big priority, but not the only issueHow hard is it going to be to fulfil subject access queries when data is spread so widely? 

The benefits of protecting Google Workspace as part of a unified data management strategy and putting all important data in one place are clear. 

If different data types need protecting, it does not follow that you will always need multiple different backup solutions. 

Ensuring business continuity with data protection

Discover more about a pioneering technology that provides visibility and on-demand access to data, wherever it is stored, delivering backup and recovery, archiving, DR and Search and Insight through a single, centralised system.  

Redstor enables organisations to view cloud and onsite data through a central management console, address e-discovery requirements and comply with GDPR by searching and actioning data wherever it is.  

Data is encrypted at source and there is no circumventing of Google Workspace security. 

Organisations can set up, trial and scale fast with no hardware, no professional services costs, no management overhead, no complex licensing models and no impact on local bandwidth. 

With rapid restores of Google Drive, Gmail and Classroom straight back into the cloud or onto a physical machine, companies can ensure business continuity. 

Options include working on whatever files you need, while Redstor restores the rest of the data in backgroundand choosing to access backups temporarily on a virtual drive – with no local disk space required 

Take a free trial and start your Google Workspace data protection today with Redstor. 

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