G-Suite backup options: scripts, free tools and cloud solutions.

According to 2017 Garthner survey, more than 42% of businesses relying on G Suite use some third party G Suite backup tool to protect their cloud data, while remaining 37% use G Suite native data protection capabilities.

Third party backup solutions can be split into 3 groups, which include scripts and G Suite open-source automation tools, commercial cloud-to-cloud G Suite backup solutions, and on-premise backup software with cloud backup features.



Scripts and other open source tools

Open source scripts and offline tools automate G Suite data protection with no additional cost. Unlike PowerShell for Microsoft Office, G Suite doesn't have 'official' command line interface, and most tools are based on Python. Examples of the more popular solutions include GAM and Brive - see the summary below or refer to Reddit for more details.

  • GAM - powerful command line tool for G Suite, allowing to write command files to manage user groups and automate key admin workflows, including regular backups and reserve copies.
  • Brive - tool that allows to backup G Drive docs for all your Google Apps domain's users, creating a full snapshot of users' Drive accounts' contents. Reddit discussion here /
  • Ggbackup is a tool built for automated backups of Google Groups with their settings and members. While GAM can perform this function, ggbackup enables administrators to avoid granting GAM extensive API access that it requires to run.
  • Ojarva Google Backup tool - helps to backup Gmail/Drive/Calendarthat to local storage. Uses domain wide authentication, so no authorization from indivudual Google Apps users is necessary.
  • Tool for G Suite Password Sync (GSPS), it collects logs from Domain Controllers running GSPS in order to allow reviewing them all in a single place.
  • GYB is a command line tool for backing up your Gmail messages to your computer using Gmail's API over HTTPS. GYB works with Gmail.com and G Suite accounts.

The disadvantage of these tools is the hidden cost of the need to regularly test, maintain and troubleshoot them. Gartner recomments using scripting only if you require minimal data protection functionality and your infrastructure if small (less than 30 users). If you have larger and more complex infrastructure to protect the cost and complexity associated with the scripts will most likely outweight any cost advantages.

Cloud-to-cloud G Suite backup solutions

3rd party cloud-to-cloud backup solutions is the preferred way to protect G Suite data in most organizations. It is also the best practice recommended by Gartner and IDC researchers. See our review of the top 8 cloud backup solutions for G Suite here. In short, cloud backup vendors typically offer unlimited retention, configurable backup frequency and granular or full restore.

Average price per seat ranges from 3 to 5 US$ per month (see our Backupify and other competitors pricing reivew here). The advantage of these cloud tools is their simplicity - you don't need to take care of backup storage, or maintain scripts or on-premise software. And while the cost may be significant for smaller organizations, cloud-to-cloud backup solutions are often the only option for medium and large businesses with more complex infrastructures.

Google Vault (Enterprise tier)

In January 2017 Google introduced Google Vault - long term retention and e-discovery tool that comes as part of the most expensive G Suite Enterprise tier priced at 25 US$. The price difference versus the previous tier implies that Google prices Google Vault at 10 US$ per seat per month, or 2 times more expensively than 3rd party data protection tools.

While the tool allows to retain G Suite data, it's primary focus is not data protection, but e-discovery. Some key features, such as point in time restore, continius backup and meta data support are not supported by Google Vault.

Native G Suite tools

If users overwrite a file in the Drive, they may be able to restore from an earlier version of the file, as a revision history is automatically kept for documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and drawings. Revisions are grouped into short time periods and may be merged occasionally. Older versions of a file are kept by Google for 30 days or 100 revisions unless the user or admin choose to keep the files forever, which may increase the cost of storage if the user doesn't subscribe to unlimited storage.

Google Drive users could also manually download a copy of select files to their local PC, but the process is not scalable and can't be managed centrally by an organization. Another option would be to use the Google APIs to programmatically make copies of Google Doc files and store them locally.

Google Apps doesn't yet offer native backup capabilities for the other Google Apps components such as Google Groups or Sites data.


Google Apps for Work offers basic backup/recovery functions to recover from user deletions, but organizations desiring robust backup functions, such as longer retention and backup of all key components of G Suite, should consider a third-party backup tool.

Check out our analysis of the best cloud backup solutions for G-Suite, or start you free Afi G Suite Backup trial to see that it's all you ever needed in G-Suite backup tool and more.

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