Create a backup of Google Drive: here’s how

For many, Google Drive is now indispensable to organize and store data, contacts, and appointments in the cloud. But what if you accidentally delete data in Google Drive or your Google account is hacked? Do you have a backup of your Google Drive backup? We explain how to create a backup of Google Drive and all the data it contains.

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Quick overview: create backup of Google Drive

Method

Description

Advantages

Disadvantages

Manual backup to external hard disk

Manually created data copy on an external storage medium by downloading selected files (ZIP format)

- No additional software required

- Backup to multiple data carriers or online storage possible

- Backup must be performed manually on a regular basis

- Sufficient storage space required

Google Drive for desktop

Install Google Drive for desktop and log in with Google account, then select Drive content to sync

- Automated backups locally and in the cloud

- Selection of individual files and folders possible

- Deletion of files is synchronized

- Sufficient local storage space required

Google Takeout

In Google account, select “Download data”, select data if necessary, select download link or archive folder, select time and file format options.

- Regular, automated backups possible

- Compatible with various cloud services

- Backup only possibly every 2 months

- Data is delivered in the form of compressed folders (ZIP)

- Backup must be set up for each Google account individually

Backup tools by third-party providers

Free or paid backup software

- Suitable solutions for the respective requirements

- Automatic backup and protection processes also possible for complex data structures

- Finding and setting up the right solution takes time and effort

- Costs for acquisition and support

Google Drive: A safe space for all your data?

Google Drive makes life easier, that’s for sure. Like a PA and vault in one, the collaboration tool from Google Workspacesaves your data in the cloud and syncs files automatically across local devices. With Google Drive you can access, edit, and share your stored files regardless of location or device.

Because of its high convenience, Google’s cloud service has become central for many people operating a digital office to store important data. But how secure is Google Drive? Google’s data centers are undoubtedly highly secure, and communications are encrypted. Nevertheless, hacker attacks, system crashes, or accidental deletion of documents in Drive can lead to data loss. Even corporate or university accounts on Google can be deleted at some point. So a proper backup strategy is required. Avoid using Google Drive as your only storage location. Instead create Google Drive backups on external storage media and Google Drive alternatives such as Dropbox, OneDrive, or HiDrive from IONOS.

Tip

Follow the 3-2-1 backup strategy: Backup three copies of your data, two of them on local, external storage media and at least one copy in a cloud service. Store your data safely and securely with IONOS HiDrive cloud storage.

Backup of Google Drive: what are the options?

Below we’ll show how to create a full backup of Google Drive. The principle is simple enough: create a full copy of all of your files and store them outside of Google Drive, either on an external hard drive, USB stick, and/or a cloud service.

Option 1: Backup Google Drive to an external hard drive

The obvious and most popular backup method is a complete data copy to an external storage device. Storing your Google Drive backup on a local device is convenient, but its success depends on the storage space. Ideally, you should have a Google Drive backup on at least two different external hard drives or USB sticks with as much storage space as possible. This way you can update your backup effortlessly and avoid the risk of losing a local backup if the PC or laptop gets damaged.

Procedure

  1. To copy Google Drive data, log in to your Google account.
  2. Navigate to your Google Drive account and manually copy all the documents that you wish to save to an external drive.
  3. Right-click on the selected files, select “Download” and transfer the ZIP folder to the desired location.

Pros

Cons

Simple and uncomplicated

Backup size depends on storage space on external storage medium

No additional software required

Manual storage method (time-consuming depending on the number of files)

Multiple backups simultaneously on separate storage media

Regular, manual updates of the backup required

Option 2: Google Drive for desktop

Drive for desktop combines the sync clients Backup and Sync and Drive File Stream. The application is available for both Windows and Mac and enables automatic background synchronization of your files with the cloud. This keeps them up to date both internally and externally, and makes editing on different devices a much smoother process. For example, even if you use Google Docs offline, your files will automatically sync with Drive content in the cloud the next time you log in to Google. However, it’s important to note that this automatic syncing also means that files you accidentally delete will automatically disappear from the cloud or local device as well.

Procedure

  1. First, you need to download Drive for desktop and install it on your computer. For Windows users, the installation file is called GoogleDriveSetup.exe, and for Mac users, GoogleDrive.dmg.
  2. If you agreed to a desktop shortcut before installation, you can find the installed app at the bottom right of the taskbar on Windows and at the top right on Mac.
  3. You now have the option to select local files that you want to upload from your computer to the cloud. In the same way, you can download files from the cloud.
  4. After this synchronization process, the selected files now match on your computer and in the cloud. Any time you edit, move, or delete anything, it will take place in both places.
  5. Besides this method of data mirroring, you also have the option to stream your files. In this case, they are stored in the cloud and only consume disk space when opened and accessed offline.

Pros

Cons

Automated backups of all or selected files to local storage or the cloud

Extent of local backup depends on hard disk space

Backup in both directions (local and cloud) thanks to synchronization

Files are lost if deleted locally or in the cloud and the deletion process is synchronized with the backup

Changes to local backup files are automatically synchronized with Google Cloud storage

Google Drive for desktop required

Note

Google Drive is not only a convenient cloud storage for files and documents. Your complete WhatsApp data including sent and received images, communications, and contacts can be saved as a WhatsApp backup with Google Drive.

Option 3: Create backup of Google Drive with Google Takeout

As the name implies, Google Takeout is Google’s “delivery/takeout” service for files. With Google Takeout, you select Drive files that you want Google to send to you as archives to store as a backup locally or in another cloud service. You can export documents, images, and videos as archived files, and also back up bookmarks, emails, and any other saved interactions from Google services.

Procedure

  1. Sign into your Google account and go to the “Download Data” page.
  2. Your Google data saved via Drive will be preselected.
  3. If you want to export your data as a single archive to back up, go to “Next” or select the desired files (e.g. all files, contacts, bookmarks and history, emails and attachments) to back up.
  4. You can choose to receive a download link for your archived files via email or download the folder to store in alternative cloud services Dropbox, OneDrive, or Box.
  5. You can also specify how often you want Google to send file archives (once as a full ZIP archive file or every two months for a year). Select the file type (ZIP or TGZ), and your preferred file size.
  6. Google will send you the full data as requested.

Pros

Cons

Archived files include all data from your Google services

ZIP-archived files and data can become confusing

Compatible with other cloud services like Dropbox, OneDrive, and Box

Optional automatic backup takes place only every two months

Regular, automated backups possible (every two months)

Backup only for respective Google account and linked services, which is a big hassle if you have a lot of linked accounts

Tip

Storing data in the cloud is convenient, but data is only ever truly secure when backed up in highly secure, ISO-certified data centers. IONOS offers secure, automated security backups for all devices and files with MyBackup.

Option 4: Automated backup tools for enterprises

Most of the backup options mentioned are convenient, especially for users who want to store private data. However, businesses tend to back up sensitive data regularly and on a large scale. The following third-party backup software solutions will help you protect critical business data from loss. Backup software prevents data from being lost due to technical errors or malware by performing automatic backups according to schedules. Automatic backup tools are available both as free solutions and as paid licenses with a wide range of features.

Backup solutions provide centralized interfaces for complex data landscapes, enabling automatic and on-demand data protection and information management even with large capacities. Storage capacities are also suitable for large companies with growing data volumes thanks to professional, high-performance cloud environments and highly secure data centers.

The market research company Gartner regularly examines the performance of backup tools and ranks the following companies as market leaders in the area of paid backup and recovery solutions:

  • Veeam: “Availability Suite”
  • Commvault: “Complete Backup & Recovery”
  • Cohesity: “DataProtect”
  • Dell: “Data Protection Suite”
  • IBM: “Spectrum Protect Suite”
  • Veritas: “NetBackup”
  • Rubrik: “Rubrik Cloud Data Management”

Smaller companies are by no means forced to resort to costly backup tools. There are plenty of free, powerful backup solutions available. Recommended are, among others:

  • Paragon Backup & Recovery Community Edition
  • Veeam Agent for Windows
  • Aomei Backupper 6.0 Standard
  • EaseUS Toto Backup Free 12.5
  • Ashampoo Backup 14 Pro
  • O&O AutoBackup

Pros

Cons

Both free and paid enterprise backup tools provide automated, on-demand backup for complex data sets

Best functionality and memory only with paid versions

Automatic protection of comprehensive backup landscapes with schedulable backup refresh, restore options and automatic deletion

Cloud storage comparison and backup tools are required, as there are numerous providers with different cost plans and scope of services

Centralized interfaces and on-demand information management for very large enterprises

Reliant on third-party providers


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