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The Mysterious Case of Google Drive’s Data Disappearance

Laura Slade posted in Business continuity | 29 Nov 2023

In an unsettling start to the work week, Google Drive files have mysteriously vanished almost overnight, triggering alarms across the business world.

Many users are now grappling with months of lost work with no clear solution in sight. Google has advised those affected to wait for a more concrete fix, as even cached files were no guarantee of a complete recovery. Their caution hints at an underlying technical glitch—and just one of the ways cloud storage, for all its perks, isn’t foolproof.

In a similarly devastating snafu, in 2021 European cloud host OVHcloud experienced a massive fire at one of its largest data centers, crippling its key services and causing significant disruption to many of its important customers. Even months after the event, many customers reported missing or lost data, resulting in a more than $12.71 million lawsuit against OVHcloud.

The takeaway from Google’s technical woes and OVHcloud’s physical loss of data is this: to establish more robust, ironclad data protection, businesses must delve deeper into their providers’ service terms and diversify their data repositories.

The Importance of Third-Party Backup Platforms

With glaring vulnerabilities of cloud data storage exposed, the need for businesses to embrace third-party backup solutions is more apparent than ever. These platforms are more than just alternative storage options; they serve as a critical safety net against data loss and cloud service disruptions.

Decoding Shared Responsibility Models

Understanding the shared responsibility models of cloud services like Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Microsoft Azure is vital for any business relying on their solutions.

Let’s dive in:

Google Cloud Platform (GCP)

  • Google’s Role: Managing infrastructure, including hardware, networks, and data centers.
  • The Customer’s Role: Responsible for covering data content, access, network security, operations, and web application security. The extent varies with the service model (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS).

Microsoft Azure

  • Azure’s Role: Varies by deployment type, but generally includes infrastructure.
  • The Customer’s Role: Responsible for data protection, endpoint security, account and access management.

As evidenced in both models, customer involvement, awareness, and participation are critical for successful data protection while working with these partners.

Google Workspace and Microsoft 365 further separate the responsibilities of the provider and customer:

Google Workspace

  • Google’s Role: Focuses on service integrity and technical aspects.
  • The Customer’s Role: Must manage and secure data against human error, misconfigurations, and external threats.

Microsoft 365

  • Microsoft’s Role: Handles backend infrastructure and data processing.
  • The Customer’s Role: Must ensure data availability and protection from risks like unauthorized access and cyber threats.

Businesses that rely on these solutions for their data backup can expect robust infrastructure security but must be prepared to manage their data-level protection processes on their own.

What Does This Mean for Businesses and MSPs?

  1. Be Proactive About Your Data Management: The responsibility of securing data and meeting compliance requirements rests with you. Don’t wait for disappearing files or a data center implosion to consider protecting or properly storing your important data.
  2. You Need a Robust Backup Solution: Whether the risk comes from a service disruption, user error, or physical data loss, these incidents further highlight the importance of having reliable backup and recovery strategies in place.
  3. Look Into Complementing Cloud Services: Google, Microsoft, and other leading data management services are ready to host your data—but are they truly prepared to protect it? Third-party backup solutions are essential to bolstering the already native protections offered by cloud providers.
  4. Ensure Business Continuity for Your Organization: No one, from the C-suite to staff to end users, like gaps in organizational continuity. Effective backup strategies are crucial for maintaining day-to-day operations and safeguarding data integrity.

For MSPs, guiding businesses through the complexities of cloud storage and backup solutions is more critical than ever. As trusted advisors, MSPs play a pivotal role in ensuring their clients’ data is not only secure, but recoverable in the face of cloud service disruptions. The recent Google Drive incident is a stark reminder of the fragility of digital data and further highlights the importance of creating comprehensive backup and recovery plans.

What Redstor Can Do For You

If you’re looking for a third-party backup vendor who can work with your business to enhance your backup and recovery processes, Redstor is here to help. As a leading solution in the backup and data recovery industry, we understand the importance of keeping your data secure and how our solutions work to fill the gaps left by big-name cloud data management services.

Our centralized app, RedApp, allows users to manage all of their chosen features from one hub. From Microsoft 365 to Google Workspace, our software is designed to make managing your data simple and safe.