Summary:

Google Apps is an easy solution for managing email, calendars and documents. It can be rolled out in a matter of minutes and requires little training. But one of the biggest dilemma that Google Apps users face is how to appropriately back up their data.

Spanning Backup - Back up Google Calendar, Contacts, and Docs to the cloud

Google Apps has gained a foothold in many organizations: it’s an easy solution for managing email, calendars and documents. It can be rolled out in a matter of minutes and requires little training. But one of the biggest dilemma that Google Apps users face is how to appropriately back up their data. Spanning Backup offers a solution: It’s a cloud-based application that backs up information regularly so that you always have an up-to-date copy of your files. You can also manually back up data as needed.

Integrated with Google

Google has made it relatively easy for third-party tools to integrate with its applications; Spanning Backup has taken full advantage of that opportunity. It can back up Google Calendar, Google Contacts and Google Docs easily (note that it doesn’t back up email, as Google already offers its own backup solution through Postini).

Spanning Backup’s integration allows you to easily manage data. It is set up so that you can pick and choose what you back up — if you have multiple calendars for your organization, for example, you can pick which of them to keep updated copies of, while skipping the back up of unimportant calendars like “U.S. Holidays.” The integration also simplifies the process of restoring data: from the web-based interface, you can restore anything that’s been deleted or corrupted. You can choose to restore individual items (like a document), files or even file trees.

In order to sign up with Spanning Backup, you sign in with your Google Account, avoiding any question of giving your password to someone who shouldn’t have it. Furthermore, the company has been in business since 2006 and has made its security policy a point of note. Spanning Backup is a sister tool to Spanning Sync (both apps were created by the same team), which allows users to sync iCal with Google Calendar and Address Book with Google Contacts.

Using Spanning Backup

You can try out the web-based backup solution for free, but the service costs $3.95 per month. That price tag is significantly less than many other backup solutions and, if you’ve moved most of your information to the web, it’s a relatively simple way to be sure that your information is secure. It’s an appropriate price point for individual users and downright inexpensive for organizations.

Furthermore, it’s simply a good idea to protect data stored in Google’s services. Imagine logging in one day only to find that important data is missing: perhaps a client accidentally deletes one of your files, or your calendar gets corrupted during a sync. If you and your organization rely on Google’s services, it is crucial that you take steps to be sure that your data is protected.

Do you back up your Google Apps data?

Related GigaOM Pro content (sub. req.): Who Owns Your Data in the Cloud?

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